Safety is of paramount importance in the road freight industry and it covers a broad range of workplace activities.
(from Safe Work Australia)
Time pressures. Tight deadlines within the transport industry can make drivers feel pressured to speed and skip breaks.
Shift work, fatigue and physical fitness. Shift work is common in the road transport industry and working irregular hours can cause fatigue and have adverse effects on health and safety. Transport work, especially driving, offers workers only brief periods of physical activity, for example when they are loading and unloading. This means workers are at a higher risk of being overweight or obese, are less active and sit for long periods.
Poor vehicle design. Transport drivers’ workplace is their vehicle, and so the design of the seat and vehicle controls as well as the duration and frequency they drive will affect their risk of musculoskeletal discomfort. Poor vehicle design and driving over rough roads can increase exposure to vibration, which increases risks for disorders to the musculoskeletal system and organs.
Manual handling of heavy weights. Loading and unloading vehicles often involves lifting heavy weights.
Working at height. Drivers of trucks regularly climb onto and off their vehicle and falls are a cause of serious incidents. If the worker is required to access the load from the top of the vehicle appropriate fall protection needs to be in place.
Gases and fume exposure. Workers in the transport industry are more likely to report being exposed to airborne hazards such as gases and fumes than workers in other industries.
(information from Safe Work Australia)
The Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012–2022 has identified road freight transport as a priority due to the high number and rate of work-related fatalities and injuries and illnesses.
Road freight transport is a focus of national prevention efforts for the first five years of the Australian Strategy to help reduce the high number of fatalities and injuries in this industry.
Since the Strategy launched, Safe Work Australia and all jurisdictions have been working collaboratively with the industry, unions, relevant organisations and the community to reduce traumatic injury fatalities and injuries in the transport industry.