Logistics industry fatality rate improves but still amongst highest


Industry helps general Safe Work Australia figures for last year fall 16 per cent to below 200

Logistics industry fatality rate improves but still amongst highest
Safe Work Australia is concerned about the self-employed

 

Australian workplaces have recorded the lowest number of fatalities in 11 years, according the latest Safe Work Australia (SWA) data.

Despite the good news in the SWA’s Work-related Traumatic Fatalities, Australia 2014 report – that the total numbers had fallen from 227 in 2012 to 191 last year − the agency was especially concerned about the self-employed.

SWA acting CEO Michelle Baxter says it is particularly alarming "to see the fatality rate for self-employed workers is so much higher than for employees.

"This report serves as a reminder that self-employed workers still have the same legal requirements as an employer to ensure their own health and safety is maintained while at work, as well as the safety of people entering their workplace. 

"Even if a worker is conducting a business in their own right, they should not ignore their own health and safety."

The issue was put down to so many self-employed working in the highest-risk industries.

Much of the decrease being due to a fall in the transport, postal and warehousing industry, however, it and agriculture, forestry and fishing together remain the heaviest contributor to the dismal statistics at 49 per cent of fatalities.

Transport, postal and warehousing accounted for 46 fatalities − two less than agriculture, forestry and fishing – and its rate of 7.76 fatalities per 100 000 workers was nearly five times the national rate.

Within this industry, the road freight transport sector accounted for 34 fatalities and recorded a fatality rate of 20.46 fatalities per 100 000 workers, 12 times the all industries rate.

The construction industry recorded 19 fatalities in 2013, the lowest number in the 11 years of the series and a substantial fall from the 46 recorded in 2007. The decrease was associated with fewer falls from height and fewer vehicle collisions than in previous years.

Truck drivers accounted for 20 per cent of worker fatalities by occupation over the past 11 years with 51 truck drivers killed on average each year.

 In 2013, 39 truck drivers were killed.

Against that promising trend, the 66 bystander fatalities were at their worse since 2007’s 75.

Two-thirds of these fatalities in 2013 were the result of a vehicle collision, with trucks involved in most of the incidents (32 of the 43 vehicle collisions). In 20 of these, the bystander was in a car while seven were on bicycles and 4 were on motorbikes when they had a collision with a truck. To be included as a bystander, the truck has to be considered at fault in the incident.

The age groups were remarkably similar with percentages in the 40s up to the 55-64 cohort.

Vehicle collisions figured prominently in worker fatalities at 34 per cent while non-road vehicle fatalities were at their highest rate in 11 years at 14.

Of the machinery type involved, two-thirds of the fatalities in 2013 were the result of a vehicle collision, with trucks involved in most of the incidents at 32 of the 43 vehicle collisions.

In 20 of these incidents, the bystander was in a car while seven were on bicycles and 4 were on motorbikes when they had a collision with a truck. To be included as a bystander, the truck has to be considered at fault in the incident.

The second biggest breakdown agency group was machinery and fixed plant, which accounted for 11 per cent of worker fatalities over the 11 years and 13 per cent of fatalities in 2013. This group includes forklift trucks and cranes with each accounting for 2 per cent of fatalities. In 2013, six workers died in incidents with forklift trucks which is the highest number in three years.

The full report can be found here.

 

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