Only way is to work together on safety
"KEEP them honest” was what one truck driver said to me about industry clients and the people who enforced compliance on our roads.
"They need to know that every day on the road, transport workers are still facing the daily grind of being in the firing line for others who breach their obligations to the chain of responsibility,” the driver said.
The industry has a shared responsibility and must work together to show leadership in ensuring safer roads and creating safer workplaces for drivers.
Regulators like the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator and the state and federal road ministers know this. Lobby groups like the Australian Trucking Association and NatRoad know this.
The TWU definitely knows this, we speak to the transport workers every day on the ground and in the air.
We note the NHVR has been out on our roads ensuring compliance, pulling trucks in, asking for permits and doing vehicle checks.
They say that as part of their chain of responsibility obligations they "inspected 3533 heavy vehicles, which showed that 93.1 per cent were compliant with their permit or notice conditions”.
The NHVR operation "Kingsize” for 2019 also netted an increase in offences, which included "failure to carry a required permit or notice required under the Heavy Vehicle National Law ... breaches of mechanical safety ... mass ... dimension ... loading”.
We note too that industry lobby group the ATA is making a stand for a safer industry, calling for autonomous braking technology to be added to rigid trucks.
Funnily enough for the ATA and their media release digging at the TWU, we agree with them.
We think all attempts made by the industry for a safer workplace have merit, though we draw the line at electrocuting truck drivers, as suggested by previous NSW roads minister Melinda Pavey.
Drivers need the regulators to face up to this fact, they are still being forced to be responsible for dodgy practices, bad maintenance, bad loading, waiting times and the lies of management from companies all through the supply chain.
It's the transport industry as a whole and their clients that must ensure the drivers who operate the trucks are free from exploitative behaviour and are not bearing the brunt for compliance.
Incompetence wins when operators do not consider the needs of drivers who are sent out without the right permits, with badly loaded or overloaded trucks.
Drivers, their families and road safety lose when the decision to get another load on the books wins over a driver unable to get adequate rest breaks.
Drivers lose when someone has decided that profit wins over the need to maintain a rig or a trailer to ensure a safe mobile workplace is fit to be on our roads.
It's the industry as a whole and their clients that must ensure drivers stop dying at work.
Commitment to a safer and fairer transport industry is being sought by the TWU as we head into 2020.
We are standing together.