Just in time for the Christmas delivery rush, Stage 2 of SafeWork NSW’s Safety Around Your Vehicle Compliance Project is underway to promote safer working practices when loading, unloading and working around vehicles.
SafeWork Executive Director, Tony Williams, said performing tasks around vehicles is the leading cause of non-driving serious injuries and fatalities in road transport and logistics.
“During Stage 1 of the project, 1 March to 30 August 2021, inspectors visited 327 transport and construction businesses throughout NSW, issuing 71 notices. They focused on promoting safer working practices for transport operators when loading, unloading and working around vehicles,” Mr Williams said.
“Stage 2 is extended to carry out visits across the supply chain including retail, manufacturing, and wholesale sectors. They will focus on high-risk tasks in and around heavy vehicles such as loading/unloading, forklift safety and traffic management. It will run until the end of June 2022.
“The period heading into Christmas and the new year break is one where businesses need to be particularly vigilant, ensuring safety is the priority. With resources stretched, the temptation can be to cut safety corners placing workers at risk which can have tragic consequences.
“We have been carrying out widespread transport industry consultation to identify the highest priority risks. Almost every week we see workers getting injured while working around vehicles, whether that’s in a transport depot, unloading on a construction site, loading at a distribution centre or making retail or home deliveries.
“These visits are about addressing safe loading and unloading practices, forklift safety, and promoting the separation of people, product and plant at all workplaces,” he said.
A number of serious incidents around vehicles have recently occurred, including an incident in August where a 19-year-old worker was stuck by a forklift and killed while collecting chickens in a poultry shed near Tamworth.
In October there was another incident where a 59-year-old crane operator sustained serious crush injuries while unloading a 2.8-tonne air conditioning unit from a truck in Thornleigh. As the unit was lifted from the truck by the crane two slings failed, pinning him against a wall.