More than three-quarters of road transport workers who die during the course of their employment are killed in vehicle collisions, according to new research.
Safe Work Australia (SWA) figures showed that 77 per cent per cent of road transport employee deaths over the 13 years to 2015 were due to crashes.
Transport, postal and warehousing are among the most hazardous sectors in Australia, with SWA data showing that 34 employees have died across the three industries this year. The figure is already on course to surpass the 64 people killed in 2016.
The threat of rural roads
Rural roads appear to be the biggest danger for road transport workers. Between 2013 and 2015, 40 employees died in single-vehicle crashes in the country, while just nine fatalities occurred in metropolitan areas.
The data was similar for multiple-vehicle collisions, with 29 and seven workers dying on rural and metro roads, respectively. However, not all deaths were due to crashes – 13 fatalities occurred when loading and unloading vehicles, seven were due to accidents when performing maintenance and three people were hit by a vehicle while on foot.
Road transport industry staff also face various health and safety risks while on the job. The main problem among workers was body stressing, which comprised 43 per cent of reported injuries.
Slips, trips and falls were the second-biggest risk and were responsible for 29 per cent of accidents. The third most common complaint was moving objects hitting people (16 per cent).
Workers’ compensation claims
According to the SWA, there was an annual average of 5,100 serious workers’ compensation claims made between 2001-02 and 2014-15 in the road transport industry.
NSW and Queensland are the states with the highest number of reported incidents. In 2014-15, 1,105 serious claims occurred in the former and 1,295 in the latter.
The median compensation paid out per claim totalled $12,800 and employees typically required roughly 7.4 weeks off work. The most common injuries and diseases were traumatic joint/ligament and muscle/tendon damage, which made up 45 per cent of incidents. Mental disorders comprised 6 per cent of claims.
People who are involved in car crashes in NSW may also be entitled to motor vehicle accident compensation to help them cover a range of economic and non-economic losses.
To discuss car accident compensation claims, our no-win, no-fee lawyers are on hand to provide you with the information you need.