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TWU NSW slams Holcim and Fairfield council on safety

Council officer fines driver said to be working on council project lacking trucks plan


Transport Workers Union (TWU) of New South Wales has accused Holcim Australia Readymix and, Fairfield City Council of imperilling the safety of a concrete agitator owner-driver.

The union’s ire is raised especially towards Fairfield as Holcim had the driver working on a council project when he copped a traffic infringement fine from a council ranger while being parked up waiting to unload.

“In the view of the TWU, Holcim Australia Readymix and Fairfield City Council have failed in their duty of care towards our member when it came to the safe delivery of concrete to a Fairfield City Council worksite,” state secretary Richard Olsen says.

“Our member, an owner-driver has been driving a concrete agitator as a contractor for Holcim for 32 years with a clean driving record.

“He attended a worksite operated by Fairfield City Council to deliver four cubic metres of liquid concrete for kerb and guttering works.”

TWU NSW says intervention it intervention meant the driver did not receive a conviction from the court through a court order known as a “section 10”.

It says magistrate Theo Tsavdaridis agreed that it was an unusual situation that the council was both the prosecutor and the client for the work completed.

It quotes him going on the record with words to the effect: “I cannot think of a more appropriate situation than this matter where s.10(3) would be invoked in relation to the trivial natureof an offence.”

Read about NHVR’s COR advice to the HVNL review, here

TWU NSW alleges that council failed to introduce traffic management measures for the needs of a heavy vehicle and a concrete pour and all but invokes Chain of Responsibility (COR) imperatives.

“Safety in the Transport Industry is a shared responsibility,” Olsen says.

“Clients like Fairfield City Council and contracting companies like Holcim Australia’s Readymix must explain to our members why they are not properly ensuring a safe, managed drop off zone for deliveries.

“Of course, drivers must check that they have the relevant paperwork and late last year, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator [NHVR] commented on the increase in compliance by truck drivers and their awareness of permits needed for various loads.

“I am asking the regulator to seek better compliance from clients and companies like Holcim, ensuring a safer workday for transport workers.

“Currently the shared responsibility for safety is not equal; transport workers are still copping the major part of the load. In our member’s case, a loss of income, an unnecessary day in court simply because a simple act of communication and the provision of a traffic management plan was missing.

“Holcim should not have sent our member to the site without ensuring the compliance and permits were in place.

“Legally enforceable changes are required to ensure driver safety and that is not just in the driver’s cab.

“Changes right across the supply chain will push clients like Fairfield City Council to take their shared safety responsibilities more seriously.”

Responses are awaited from Fairfield City Council, Holcim Australia and the NHVR.


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