Research warns of dangers outside the truck


The recent death of garbage truck driver in Western Australia has prompted the Institute for Safety, Compensation and Recovery Research (ISCRR) to raise the issue of dangers to pedestrians and truck drivers who leave their cabs. <br /><br /> While the risks are acknowledged and safety around trucks was a focus in last year’s Safety Drive Day in Melbourne, the statistics obtained in research over the past 18 months for the Institute are still sobering.

By Rob McKay | February 2, 2012

The recent death of garbage truck driver in Western Australia has prompted the Institute for Safety, Compensation and Recovery Research (ISCRR) to raise the issue of dangers to pedestrians and truck drivers who leave their cabs.

While the risks are acknowledged and safety around trucks was a focus in last year’s Safety Drive Day in Melbourne, the statistics obtained in research over the past 18 months for the Institute are still sobering.

The two reports show that in the years 2000-2011, a total of 135 people lost their lives while working with or near a vehicle.

"All of these deaths could have been prevented," Institute CEO Professor Niki Ellis, says.

Its research brief, Out of Vehicle truck driving fatalities, shows 47 truck drivers died while performing work related activities in the years 2000-2009.

The most frequent initiating event was when a truck is parked on an incline (21 of 47 cases, or 45 percent).

In these cases, the truck has rolled following inadequate securing of the brake and the most frequent final cause of death was a vehicle or trailer crushing the driver against another object.

Meanwhile, 88 pedestrians died in workplaces in vehicle-related accidents in the years 2000-2011, research brief Fatalities of Pedestrians in Workplaces, Australia 2000-2011 shows.

The two most common scenarios that caused these fatalities were
when drivers
leave their vehicles or machines without ensuring the braking system was used correctly, leading to the vehicle or machine rolling, and where the driver’s vision had been impeded and the pedestrian has not been seen.

"Pedestrians are a known vulnerable population on work sites and while many countermeasure and implementation strategies are known, pedestrian fatalities in workplaces continue to occur in Victoria, and Australia more broadly," Ellis says.

"Pedestrian fatalities in workplaces and out-of-vehicle truck driver accidents are preventable types of fatalities and prevention efforts directed to these issues could certainly prove fruitful.

"These evidence reviews were conducted by extracting and analysing out-of-vehicle fatalities and pedestrian fatalities in workplaces from the National Coroners Information Service (NCIS) and the Victorian Work Related Fatality (VWRF)."

The research for both studies recommended similar prevention activities:

  • apply in-vehicle warning systems if a vehicle is parked on an incline and if parking brakes have not been applied properly or at all
  • reinforce training of good practices when stopping a vehicle, loading/unloading or coupling/uncoupling
  • redesign workplaces and tasks (including roadworks) to eliminate pedestrian contact with heavy machinery
  • incorporate safety features into machine design, such as proximity/location sensors and device to monitor operator blind spots
  • investigate the effectiveness of reversing alarms
  • raise awareness of both issues of driving safely while operating a vehicle and ensuring pedestrian safety when a working vehicle is in close proximity.



 

You can also follow our updates by joining our LinkedIn group or liking us on Facebook