WorkSafe project to improve transport safety in response to ‘concerning’ crash data

In News, Health and Safety3 MinutesBy Tracey MurphyJuly 23, 2021

WorkSafe has launched a new project to help improve health and safety outcomes across the transport, postal and warehousing sectors, as data reveals concerning crash statistics.

According to the data, 2019 saw 57 fatal crashes, 170 serious injuries and 521 minor injuries involving trucks across the transport, postal, and warehousing sectors. Of those, 147 required those involved to spend more than one week away from work.

“These numbers are concerningly high, and it was clear there was some work needed to be done to try and create solutions to reduce vehicle-related risks,” said Ruth Cook, WorkSafe engagement and implementation lead.

WorkSafe has enlisted Mackie Research to help find solutions to prevent these high levels of harm. The company has made 13 recommendations to improve vehicle-related health and safety and actively manage supply chain pressures to minimise vehicle-related risks.

“A collaborative approach between WorkSafe and the industry was needed to gain insight into who was best placed in the transport and logistics chain to improve health and safety outcomes,” said Cook.

“There was also a lack of understanding of which interventions were most likely to improve the health and safety of transport workers.

“This meant there was a real benefit to the cross-sector approach so that together we can achieve better health and safety outcomes for workers in these sectors.”

The research involved reviews of existing research and initiatives, and intensive engagement with industry stakeholders. It was carried out over 11 months between April 2020 and March 2021 and was designed to build on existing and new programmes of work by industry and New Zealand government agencies.

The 13 recommendations to minimise vehicle-related harm across supply chains represent a mix of five broad, enabling initiatives, with eight targeting specific areas of focus.

Road Transport Forum chief executive Nick Leggett, added: “We’re hopeful this research contributes to a step change in greater shared responsibility for safety by all the parties influencing the supply chain.

“The research’s findings support our view that typically harm is not the result of individual behaviour but rather the symptom of a system that is not working well,” he said.

The 13 recommendations include the formation of a system-wide representative group, establishing an intervention logic for ‘good work’, a work programme to define what ‘good work’ is in a supply chain context, clarification of Government roles, PCBU and sector leadership, improved methods for monitoring and mapping risk and harm, responsibility across the supply chain, safety first in public procurement, vehicle safety technology management, standardised and digitalised driver inductions, data sharing and use, establishing ‘ways of working’ between government and data providers, a system view of fatigue, establishing a programme of work to map the system determinants of fatigue, overcoming operational barriers to low pay, and the review of the raw data.