Road freight employee killed by reversing trailer at a depot
WorkSafe is issuing a reminder about the risks associated with driving heavy vehicles and moving around road freight depots.
Published:19 November 2020
A road freight employee recently died when they were directing a co-worker to reverse a truck and trailer into a shed. The employee stumbled and fell into the path of the trailer.
This is the second death this year from an employee being struck by a truck and trailer at a depot.
In other incidents this year, six drivers in road freight transport have sustained fatal injuries following single vehicle accidents, vehicle rollovers, or losing control of the vehicle.
Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of fatalities within the transport industry. This may occur due to speeding, drugs and alcohol, fatigue, in-vehicle distractions, adverse conditions, poor vehicle condition, and technology use.
Recommended ways to control risks
Where an employee is using a vehicle to perform work, the vehicle is considered to be a workplace. As a result, employers must identify and control any risks to health or safety associated with the use of the vehicle.
Employers and self-employed persons should ensure:
traffic management systems are in place and are followed
people, vehicles, and mobile plant are separated
fatigue risks are controlled and employees are fit for work
vehicle maintenance schedules are in place and followed
systems are in place in depots to identify and remove slip, trip and fall hazards (for example oil leaks, pooled water, rubbish or debris)
Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004, employers must so far as is reasonably practicable:
provide and maintain a working environment that is safe and without risks to the health of employees and independent contractors
provide or maintain plant or systems of work that are safe and without risks to health
provide employees with the necessary information, instruction, training or supervision to enable them to do their work in a way that is safe and without risks to health
Employers may also have duties under the National Heavy Vehicle Laws, including in relation to fatigue management. These laws are in effect in Victoria as part of a nationally consistent approach.