The risk of death to people working in the road freight sector has almost doubled in one year, while truck driving remains the most dangerous job despite the introduction of a the new National Heavy Vehicle Regulator in October this year. “At a time when Chain of Responsibility Legislation should be having a major impact on safety in Australia we have seen a massive increase of deaths in the transport industry” says Andrew Watt, industry specialist.
Safe Work Australia’s report this week on work-related fatalities in 2012 shows the fatality rate in road freight transport jumped from 14.68 per 100,000 workers in 2011 to 29.09 per 100,000 last year.
The Work-Related Traumatic Injury Fatalities Australia 2012 says the rise equates to a fatality rate of 15 times the rate of all industries.
Truck driving recorded 47 fatalities in 2012 – 33 more deaths than livestock farming, which ranked second on worker fatalities by occupation.
“In 2012, 47 truck drivers were killed, up from 37 recorded in the previous year but considerably lower than the series high of 73 in 2007,” Safe Work Australia says.
Over the 10 years from 2003 to 2012, Safe Work Australia says 523 truck drivers have died on the job. The figure represents 20 per cent of all workplace fatalities.
“While single vehicle truck crash fatalities were relatively low in 2010 (20) and 2011 (21), the 30 fatalities recorded in 2012 is similar to other years in the series,” the report says.
“Trucks are also prominent in multi-vehicle incidents. In the 10 years 112 workers died when two trucks collided, 86 workers in cars died in incidents with trucks and a further 26 workers in trucks died in incidents with cars.”
Safe Work Australia says 223 workers died last year, which equals a fatality rate of 1.93 deaths per 100,000 workers. It marks the lowest rate in the 10 years the reports on worker fatalities have been compiled.
“Workers working in or around trucks accounted for 76 (34%) of the fatalities in 2012. Over the series trucks were involved in 30% of fatalities,” the report says.
Safe Work Australia CEO Rex Hoy says Safe Work Australia is working with work health and safety authorities to achieve a 20 per cent reduction in the number of work-related fatalities by 2022.