Trucks driving fatalities

20 May 2014

Trucks driving fatalities Media Release (PDF 222kb)

Data released by Safe Work Australia today in the report Work-related fatalities involving trucks, Australia 2003 to 2012 show an alarming number of Australia’s truck drivers are being killed at work each year.

In releasing the report, Safe Work Australia Chair, Ann Sherry AO said more needs to be done to ensure the safety of these workers and reduce these worrying statistics.

"Around 80 workers are killed each year while working in or around a truck,” said Ms Sherry.
“Not only is this figure disturbing in itself, but 39 per cent of these people die in single vehicle truck crashes.
“While the data showed that driving too fast for the conditions caused some of the fatalities, for many the cause of the crash was unknown, however it is likely that fatigue and lack of concentration played some part in these deaths.”

The report outlines target areas to help reduce truck-related fatalities, including:

  • managing public road travel to reduce fatigue and using appropriate speed for the conditions
  • ensuring that vehicles are braked appropriately
  • increasing awareness of pedestrian workers and members of the public
  • ensuring that vehicles and equipment are maintained appropriately and used correctly
  • improving protection from falls for those working at heights, and
  • ensuring cargo is appropriately restrained particularly during unloading operations.
“By targeting these areas we can improve the working environment for truck drivers, people who work in the vicinity of trucks and the general public,” said Ms Sherry
“Improving a business’s work health and safety is critical, it increases productivity and more Australian’s get home safely every day because of it.”

Road transport is a priority industry under the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-2022. Efforts to prevent truck-related workplace incidents are undertaken by work health and safety regulators, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator and the National Transport Commission.

A list of initiatives being undertaken by organisations to help reduce road transport incidents is attached. For more information visit


Safe Work Australia media:
Phone: 0434 664 294

Attachmnet A

Activities undertaken in Australia to reduce truck driver fatalities

Organisation Activities
National Transport Commission The National Transport Commission (NTC) is currently undertaking the following projects to help improve road safety.
  • In partnership with business, including BHP Billiton, Coca-Cola Amatil, Rio Tinto, Telstra, Shell and Toll Group, the NTC led the development of a program that helps businesses share information on improving road safety in their workplace. The program was launched on 5 May 2014. For more information visit
  • In a joint program with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, the NTC is working to identify ways to improve heavy vehicle roadworthiness through an analysis of current roadworthiness accreditation and inspection regimes.
  • To improve safety outcomes a Heavy Vehicle Telematics Compliance Framework is being developed by the NTC to support the wider use of new technologies. The NTC is also finalising policy changes to support the use of Electronic Work Diaries for heavy vehicle drivers, in order to improve the management of fatigue.
  • The NTC is finalising a review into heavy vehicle compliance and enforcement, including investigating why non-compliance with the law occurs and how government bodies and others can better drive compliance.
  • Reviews are currently underway to ensure that the penalties and Chain of Responsibility obligations under the national heavy vehicle law are working to promote the best safety outcomes for the transport industry.
For more information on these activities visit
Comcare In 2013 Comcare commenced a safety campaign within the federal jurisdiction targeting work-related injuries, fatalities and health issues in the heavy vehicle road transport sector. Comcare’s work includes:
  • Developing health and safety guidance material and case studies with industry leaders to:
    • improve awareness and understanding of safety risks associated with falls from trucks, and
    • help prevent injuries from hazardous manual tasks.
  • Supporting Safe Work Australia in a truck driver health and wellness screening pilot program to help inform future health improvement program delivery.
  • Co-delivering safety compliance monitoring activities with other work health and safety regulators during AUSTRANS 2014.
  • An ongoing exchange of information and cooperation with:
    • the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) as it becomes more operationalised
    • state and territory road transport regulators, and
    • work health and safety networks focused on the road transport sector.
  • Hosting an annual National Conference from 9-11 September 2014 at the Melbourne Convention Centre which includes a full-day transport and logistics conference on 11 September 2014.
  • Encouraging best practice in the federal jurisdiction including across the road transport sector through Comcare’s Work Health and Safety Awards – the 2014 program is currently underway.

Comcare’s inspections and investigations into heavy vehicle accidents include corrective systems advice that assists employers to improve the health and safety of drivers and other workers. In 2013-14 Comcare completed 77 interventions involving major transport companies.

Comcare’s audit program supporting the self-insurance licencing of major transport companies in Australia also ensures that prevention systems are in place and are being improved. In 2013-14 Comcare has completed three prevention audits on major transport companies.

For more information on these activities email

SafeWork SA

SafeWork SA, in partnership with a number of federal government agencies as well as South Australia Police and the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure, is helping to reduce truck-related road trauma by sharing information and conducting roadside inspections to assess safety and legislative compliance.

SafeWork SA is also currently auditing transport operators to determine compliance with fall prevention requirements, particularly falls from truck-trailers and cabins, as well as the prevention of injuries from hazardous manual tasks.

For more information visit

WorkSafe WA

Trucking is a focus of WorkSafe WA’s current project targeting fatigue in isolated workers. As part of this project WorkSafe WA will attend a number of co-agency road blocks (encompassing the national AUSTRANS campaign) targeting fatigue, vehicle maintenance, and communication for isolated drivers.

WorkSafe WA runs free fortnightly information sessions on work health and safety and a number of these have focused on issues in the transport sector. Some of these sessions have also been delivered in geographically important locations for the transport sector.

WorkSafe WA’s ThinkSafe Small Business Assistance Program has also had transport as a priority area since its inception and has delivered many free occupational safety and health consultancies to small businesses.

For more information visit

WorkSafe Tasmania

As part of its forest industry compliance program, inspectors from WorkSafe Tasmania work with their counterparts in Transport to conduct random safety checks of log trucks. This regular program focusses on loading and unloading issues, as well as general roadworthiness. These inspections ensure legislative compliance and greater public safety.

For more information

Victorian WorkCover Authority

The Victorian WorkCover Authority (VWA), as a member of the Enforcement Liaison Committee, works closely with Victoria Police and VicRoads to achieve better safety outcomes in the transport Industry. The VWA conducts joint road side activities to deal with issues relating to vehicle maintenance, working at heights, manual handling, load binding and dangerous goods.

During May 2014, the VWA will be presenting alongside other agencies at briefing sessions organised by the Victorian Transport Association. The VWA will provide information about obligations to maintain a safe work place and the VWA's role as the regulator to enforce occupational health and safety legislation.

The VWA, in conjunction with Victoria Police and VicRoads, visits employers across Victoria who have received defect notices during road side activities to develop and implement a system to ensure that heavy vehicles are maintained in accordance with manufacturers' recommendations. During these visits the VWA will also deal with other work health and safety issues such as working from height, manual handing & dangerous goods.

For more information visit

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland

Work Health and Safety Queensland is currently minimising work health and safety incidents and fatalities in the road freight industry through their Queensland Road Freight Industry Action Plan 2014-17. The projects undertaken as part of this action plan include:

  • Falls Prevention:
    • 50 preventing falls from trucks inspections
    • 30 on-site workshops
    • an industry webinar
  • Load restraint
    • 50 safe handling when securing loads inspections
    • industry event to demonstrate innovative load restraint devices and promote the use of safer equipment
    • development and publishing of three case studies about transitioning to safer load restraint equipment and practices
  • Three Zero Harm at Work Leadership Program mini forums:
    • Traffic management - 18 June 2014
    • Load restraint - 24 September 2014
    • Falls prevention - TBC

In addition Queensland is continuing to work directly with industry to influence change through the eight regional Transport Safety Networks.

For more information visit

WorkCover NSW

WorkCover NSW is currently implementing a targeted project with the NSW road freight transport industry to make its workplaces more productive, healthy and safe.

The project targets businesses involved in bulk freight, long and short distance trucking companies, intrastate transfer of retail and wholesale goods as well as interstate movement of bulk goods and containers.

The project, which commenced in May 2013, involves consulting with business, industry and workers to develop relevant and effective health and safety improvements, sustainable injury management, return-to-work and workers’ compensation outcomes so that the industry can be among the State’s safest.

Four issues are being targeted by the project - onsite traffic management systems, loading of trucks and getting out of trucks, return to work and injury management, and driver wellness.

As part of the National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health, WorkCover NSW and NSW Health are implementing the Get Healthy at Work Service to address lifestyle-related risk factors for workers in the transport and storage industry.

For more information visit


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