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Guide to Safety Risk Compliance in the Transportation Sector

Best Practice Guide

The unsafe work of transportation

The transportation and logistics sector has traditionally been one of the country’s most dangerous, particularly road transport. Due to serially high rates of work-related fatalities and injuries and illnesses, the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-2022 singled the industry out as a priority sector for its national prevention efforts. Those initiatives sought to reduce the incidence of serious injury by at least 30 percent nationwide and the number of work-related fatalities (due to injury) by at least 20 percent by the year 2022.

How have things progressed since? Well, the sector retains the highest rates of fatality (15.6 fatalities per 100,000 workers) and frequency (11 per million hours worked). Road transport also clocks in the second highest (raw) number of fatalities, with no improvement in recent years. Serious claims remain high, as well, with 11 serious claims logged per million hours worked.

Within the broader industry, road freight represents the biggest offender. The subsector accounts for some 92 percent of worker fatalities and 82 percent of serious claims. Occupationally, truck drivers are at greatest safety risk. Both their fatality (84 percent) and serious claims (54 percent) numbers are highest.

If truckers are at greatest safety risk, the road is the greatest risk vector. For the entire sector, nearly 80 percent of worker fatalities involve vehicle incidents, with “being hit by moving objects” in a distant second with 6 percent of fatalities.

Serious claims statistics round out the risk picture. Muscular stress while handling objects accounts for 18 percent of claims, followed closely by muscular stress while lifting, carrying, or putting down an object (15 percent), and then falls (13 percent).

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