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OPINION: Work-related road crashes are costing us dearly

COUNTING THE COST: Work-related road injuries are estimated to cost around $500 million per year.
COUNTING THE COST: Work-related road injuries are estimated to cost around $500 million per year. Allan Reinikka ROK040717acrash1

WORK-related road accidents account for one-in-three occupational fatalities in Australia and 15% of the national road toll.

Work-related road injuries are estimated to cost around $500 million per year, but it's the human cost that's the biggest concern.

Reversing accidents, which are the most common types of work-related crashes, can easily be avoided with proper OH&S policies and processes.

In Queensland, we are lucky to have an excellent CTP scheme to support injured motorists but it is also important for all road users to be aware of safety risks.

Issues like high mileage travel due to time pressures and poor maintenance of vehicles are of particular concern.

We want every worker to arrive home safely at the end of the day and employers have a legal obligation to ensure that they provide the safest possible workplace.

Businesses operating light and heavy vehicle fleets must have appropriate road safety policies and procedures in place as part of their obligations under the Workplace Health and Safety legislation.

Transport legislation also governs general road use, including driving hours for heavy vehicles, driver safety, qualification and regulatory frameworks.

Vehicles that are used for work purposes are considered as a workplace under Occupational Health and Safety legislation.

Safety in and around work vehicles is therefore everyone's legal responsibility.

Employers owe a duty of care to provide a safe place and a safe system of work and employees are obliged to perform their work safely and comply with the relevant policies and procedures.

There are some simple steps that work-related drivers can take to help ensure their safety and the safety of other road users.

Anyone who drives for work should allow adequate time available to avoid rushing on the roads, try to be aware of traffic and weather conditions and drive accordingly and undertake vehicle circle check or use a passenger as a spotter when reversing.

Andrew McKenzie is a principal of Maurice Blackburn lawyers.

Topics:  letters to the editor opinion road crashes


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