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Sterle adds DC practices to virus scrutiny focus

Senator lists examples of disregard for staff health and wellbeing


With senator Glenn Sterle’s spotlight on driver wellbeing contributing to mandates on rest stop access, he is now taking on perceived poor practices at distribution centres that contribute to driver and staff risk.

In a new communique to federal transport minister Michael McCormack, he notes he continues to be contacted by truck drivers still concerned about what impacts lack of access to clean shower/toilet facilities and healthy food options could have on their health.

However, he says has also received comments from drivers and their families and lack of safety and wellbeing measures at warehouses, including the following:

  • no adequate sanitation facilities available
  • at some distribution centres, drivers are forced to use the same phone to enter the site as the driver before them without any cleaning materials being supplied
  • communal pens are being offered to sign paperwork
  • forklifts aren’t being cleaned in between different people using them
  • staff at distribution centres seem to adopt appropriate social distancing measures behind their locked office doors and have access to PPE equipment however that is not being offered to drivers when they arrive to load/unload
  • sign in areas are dirty and are not being cleaned on a regular basis
  • social distancing measures are not being practiced or enforced in waiting areas.

Sterle’s message to McCormack on truck driver treament, here

“The last thing we need is an outbreak at a distribution centre,” Sterle says.

“During this COVID-19 pandemic, adequate safety measures and sensible hygiene practices must be carried out at distribution centres in order to guarantee the health of our truck drivers.

“Australia’s supply chain depends on their health and their ability to be able to carry out their job safely.”

Sterle calls on McCormack to urgently form a consultative working group comprising state-based transport associations, the National Road Transport Association (NatRoad), Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (LRTA), National Road Freighters Association (NRFA), Transport Workers Union (TWU), Australian Road Transport Industrial Organisation (ARTIO) and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) to hear directly the issues that members are experiencing.

“This group understand the problems, and to assist you in your deliberations, they will provide you with solutions,” he says to McCormack.

“As the Prime Minister continues to say, we are all in this together.

“Furthermore, I would like to request that you appeal to the major food retailers to include truck drivers in their list of ‘essential workers’ so that they can access the dedicated shopping time allocated like other essential workers can.”

“At short notice, truck drivers have to leave for extended periods of time and many take their own food and supplies with them for the journey to their destination and back.

“Having a dedicated time to go to the shops would help facilitate that.

“As I said last week, my offer remains to work with you and industry to come up with solutions that will ensure that our truckies are safe and have the best possible working conditions available to them during this difficult time.”


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