Safe rates might have helped Bradanovich: TWU

TWU says fallen truck driver Anthony Bradanovich might have received better treatment if safe rates tribunal had been in place

By Brad Gardner | February 2, 2012

Fallen truck driver Anthony Bradanovich might have been treated better by his employers if a safe rates tribunal had been in place, the Transport Workers Union says.

The 35-year-old driver died of dehydration in 2011 in 40 degree-plus heat when he left his truck to seek help after it became bogged in remote Western Australia.

An investigation cleared his employer, Cartwright Holdings, and Toll, which subcontracted the delivery work to the firm, of any wrongdoing. WorkSafe Western Australia says the driver received directions and had an adequate map and amount of water for the journey from Perth to Nemont Mining’s goldmine.

But in its submission to a federal parliamentary inquiry examining a bill to create a tribunal to rule on pay rates, the TWU says Bradanovich was despatched without a water tank or a map.

"If the major transport company, as the managers of the load Anthony was carrying – or the US company that owned the mine – were to be held responsible for his rate of pay, the training he received and the equipment he had on hand, a lot more care might have been taken," the TWU says.

"The [Road Safety Remuneration] Bill is as much about safety, and saving lives, as it is rates of pay. It is about making sure an owner-driver or, as in Anthony’s case an employee driver of a contractor, is paid enough to be properly equipped for the task."

According to the union, the tribunal will reduce heavy vehicle fatalities through the introduction of safe driving plans and schedules, paid waiting time, tough drug and alcohol policies and strong truck standards.

"If enacted, it will reduce crashes and save lives," the TWU says.

The Federal Government last year announced the tribunal in response to a 2008 report citing a link between low rates of pay and poor safety in the trucking industry.

It will operate within Fair Work Australia and rule on trucking remuneration and remuneration related conditions. The TWU says low rates of pay are responsible for unsafe road practices because they force truck drivers to cut corners on safety and vehicle maintenance.

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