Crawfords Freightlines says improvements in place

Company responds as union voices safety concerns following tragedies

Crawfords Freightlines says improvements in place
The Transport Workers Union urges WorkCover investigation but company says it's already involved.


Two onsite deaths in the past few months has put Newcastle business Crawfords Freightlines on the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) radar.  

But the company says it is working with the union and authorities to improve safety in its transport yard.

"Over the past fortnight, Crawfords Freightlines has been in contact with the TWU and we have agreed to their request for meet at our Sandgate head office to further discuss any concerns they may have," managing director Peter Crawford says.

"As a family-owned company, our number one priority continues to be the safety and well-being of all of our staff and contractors.

"We comply with the provisions of relevant workplace safety regulations to ensure our workers’ health and safety remains paramount."

Earlier this month, a minor collision between a truck and forklift sparked a physical confrontation between two workers, with one killed in the violence that followed.

In July, a maintenance worker died while at work for Crawfords, after a forklift tyre failed.

"Following the recent tragedy at our Sandgate head office, we have conducted a comprehensive review of our on-site safety procedures and policies, in conjunction with WorkCover NSW," Crawford says.

"As a result, we are in the process of improving road markings and signage on site.

"WorkCover NSW also investigated a fatality at our Sandgate site earlier in the year, but issued no improvement notices."

TWU Newcastle branch secretary Mick Forbes says workers tell the union the yard is dangerous and loading areas lack safety procedures.

The TWU describes the transport yard as ineffectively delineated between sections for truck, forklift and human traffic.

While that was not responsible for the violence that occurred onsite on August 4, the union does note the incident was "triggered" by a collision that should have been avoided.

The union has urged WorkCover NSW to investigate the company, with particular reference to safety standards and procedures in its transport yard.

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