Video targets fatal falls from flatbed trucks

Tuesday, 24 March, 2015

NSW WorkCover has launched a new video safety alert addressing the workplace risk of loading and unloading a flatbed truck or trailer. Figures show 15 workers have died in Australia between 2003 and 2012 after falling from their trucks.

The video describes how an experienced truck driver fell 2 metres and sustained fatal injuries because fall protection was not in place.


The executive director of WorkCover’s Work Health and Safety Division, Peter Dunphy, said experience is no guarantee when it comes to safely loading and unloading vehicles and the new video message is aimed at reducing this hazardous workplace risk.

“Our ‘focus on industry’ program has identified road freight transport as one of our state’s highest-risk industries with an alarmingly high rate of injuries and illnesses,” Dunphy said.

The footage outlines a series of safety steps to prevent falls, emphasising the importance of remaining on the ground during unloading and loading.

“There are a number of ways to do this, including preconfiguring the load or using load restraints,” Dunphy said.

“But if working from the ground is a no-go, then a safe way to access and work upon the trailer must be provided, and this can be anything from guard rails and work platforms to retractable ladders or steps with handrails.”

Dunphy said the typical transport industry model involved several businesses, which often meant complex arrangements with loading and unloading freight.

“It is critical to remember that everyone involved has a responsibility for the health and safety of workers and everyone needs to work together to eliminate or control these risks as far as is reasonably practicable,” he said.

About 20% of injuries in NSW’s road freight transport industry are caused by falls, with almost 900 workers lodging workers compensation claims for fall-related injuries over two years prior to April 2014.

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