Why are they not workplace deaths?
WE ARE in mourning again, for the loss of truck drivers at work.
Your colleagues, your mates, those that have shared the road with you.
Crashes at Gunning and in South Australia and the Transport Workers Union worries that truck driver deaths at work will still be treated as road accident investigations, not a workplace death.
It's unfair on families who are left wondering about justice.
Road transport is Australia's deadliest industry.
A truck driver is 13 times more likely to die at work than any other worker.
Those in government want to avoid responsibility for proper investigations.
When a truck driver is killed on the road, the assumption is that a forensic crash investigation will determine the cause.
These investigations fail to explore all possible reasons beyond the mechanics of what happened at the time of the crash.
The TWU understands that police are investigating driver fatigue in the South Australian accident and this leads to questions all drivers should be asking.
Why is a truck driver's workplace death treated with less importance that those who die on building sites, in factories or in mines?
Safe Work Australia refers to a workplace as any place where work is carried out for a business or undertaking, including vehicles.
That should make it a simple argument for the need for workplace death investigations.
Many in government, who should know better, keep looking for that "silver bullet” in technology to keep a driver safe, for example electronic zapping that keeps a driver alert to their eyes moving away from the windscreen.
This shows that government has taken its foot off the pedal when it comes to the safety of drivers.
Bereft of policy, bereft of ideas, they turn to finding more ways to blame the driver when we and drivers know that the problem is more often than not outside the driver's cab.
We know many drivers are not paid for substantial components of their work, they are not paid for their time waiting for their truck to be loaded, or for refuelling and cleaning their vehicle.
We know that drivers feel they cannot refuse unsafe schedules or loads, we know many drivers are pushed beyond fatigue limits.
We know drivers are working more than other workers and we know that many drivers are poorly paid.
Every day, the heavy vehicle industry is growing.
The job of carrying Australia is getting bigger.
Yet the economically powerful industry clients continue to hold the reins when it comes to pricing.
This places drivers in the path of danger.
The TWU will never stop fighting for fair working conditions and safe roads for our truck drivers, their families and all families who use the road.
No amount of retina scanning, seat jolting or electric shocking of drivers is going to address the economic imbalance that underpins the heavy vehicle industry.
Until balance occurs, there will be no meaningful decrease in the road toll from heavy vehicle crashes.