Roadblock reveals continuing concerns with fatigue laws
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WorkSafe's participation in recent roadblock exercises has revealed continuing concerns with the transport industry's compliance with fatigue management laws.
WorkSafe participated in four joint Austrans roadblock operations undertaken by WA Police and involving Main Roads WA, the Explosives and Dangerous Goods section of the Department of Mines and Petroleum and vehicle examiners from the Department of Transport.
The operations were conducted throughout May, and those that involved WorkSafe were at Neerabup, North Dandalup, Bedfordale and Upper Swan.
A total of 126 commercial vehicles were stopped by WorkSafe over the four locations, and 33 transport companies are currently undergoing follow-up inspections. To date, 18 notices have been issued in the course of these inspections.
WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch said today the operations found a reasonable level of compliance with the fatigue laws for commercial vehicles, but some lingering concerns in some areas.
"Fatigue is still a significant occupational safety and health issue in the commercial transport industry and it's pleasing to see that transport companies are largely in compliance with the major aspects of WA's fatigue regulations," Mr McCulloch said.
"However, the recent Austrans operations did show that there is still room for improvement because inspectors found some continuing problems with mandatory rest breaks, the maintenance of fatigue management plans, record keeping and mandatory medical checks for drivers.
"We've seen a steady increase in understanding of the fatigue laws since we began participating in roadblocks seven years ago, and it seems that the industry has generally come to grips with the fact that the laws are there to ensure commercial vehicle drivers are given sufficient rest.
"Although we're pleased that the industry appears to be consistently complying, it is worth reminding the industry that the human body has limitations and adequate sleep and rest is essential to safely undertake long-distance driving.
"Most of the drivers involved in this exercise were driving within the State, so it is also timely to remind the transport industry that drivers operating on shorter routes than interstate runs must also comply with the fatigue management laws.
"WorkSafe has been involved in roadblock exercises for seven years now, and we intend to continue monitoring the commercial transport industry with roadblocks for some time to come.
"A comprehensive code of practice for the management of fatigue has been in operation in WA since 1998, and it was updated in 2003 when the regulations came into effect.
"All transport companies that operate in WA need to ensure that this code of practice is readily available in all their workplaces."
Further information on fatigue management can be obtained by telephoning WorkSafe on 1300 307877. Hard copies of the code of practice can be purchased for $3.30 a copy, or it can be downloaded free of charge from the website at www.worksafe.wa.gov.au.
Caroline De Vaney
9327 8744 or 0408 927563 (media enquiries only)
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