Online shopping and more conventional deliveries to shops, other business and building sites are taking their toll on Victoria’s delivery drivers.
A WorkSafe Victoria project, underway until the end of June, is targeting the safety of delivery drivers, with safety inspectors visiting company offices, distribution centres and places where items are being delivered.
WorkSafe’s General Manager for Operations, Lisa Sturzenegger, said about 60% of the 1300 delivery drivers hurt each year were aged over 50 and nearly all (96%) were males.
“Slips trips and falls, repetitive lifting, particularly during loading and unloading, getting into and out of vehicles and restraining loads are among the main causes of these injuries, which are predominantly to the back, shoulders and knees," Sturzenegger said.
“These injuries can be difficult to treat and long-lasting, but simple measures can eliminate them and remove avoidable costs to employers as well as long-term pain and suffering for the driver.
“While Victoria has Australia’s lowest average workplace injury insurance premium, it will only be retained with all workplaces having the commitment to prevent injuries.
“With manual work, time pressures and having little control at delivery sites it’s easy to see how the risk factors rise for the worker along with the potential cost to the business, and not just the direct employer, but the site where the work is being done.
“Losing a driver to injury can have a serious impact on operations. By getting on top of issues early, the human and commercial impact can be eliminated or at least greatly minimised.
“When a WorkSafe inspector visits we want to find employers who have done a risk assessment and have the means to prevent injuries in place.”
Tips to make delivery drivers safer
- Do a pre-delivery assessment or get information from clients regarding access and the availability of equipment to help with loading or unloading;
- Can a driver refuse delivery if access is poor or delivery equipment is not available?
- When getting in and out of the cabin/on or off a vehicle, drivers should ensure they have three points of contact at all times;
- Are suitable mechanical aids available to help lift and move loads? These can include stair climbing trolleys, height adjustable trolleys, powered mobile equipment, pallet jacks or other manually operated lifting aids;
- Tail gate lifters, fitted to vehicles, can help remove cargo from vehicles to ground level while loading dock levellers can bridge the height difference between vehicles and storage facilities;
- Fall protection on vehicles and loading docks reduce injury or death;
- Ensure there is a traffic management system, marked pedestrian walkways and safe work practices and policies to prevent collisions between pedestrians and forklifts and other vehicles in loading/unloading areas;
- Ensure dangerous goods cylinders are stored and labelled correctly. Provide safety information for all chemicals and dangerous goods;
- Keep warehouse racking for storage of stock well maintained; and
- Forklifts, their attachments and other equipment must be well maintained and operators appropriately licensed and trained.