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Calls For Remote Truck Drivers to Have Mandatory GPS

Calls For Remote Truck Drivers to Have Mandatory GPS

The Transport Workers Union is calling for the introduction of  new laws making it mandatory for employers to provide emergency positioning beacons to transport workers operating in remote areas.

The call comes after the tragic death of a truck driver in Western Australia earlier this month.

Clayton Miller was found dead on a remote Mid West roadside in Western Australia last Friday after he left his bogged truck and walked about 20km in 46C looking for help.

An investigation is under way into what safety equipment the 39-year-old had for the trip to a remote station north-west of Meekatharra to deliver water tanks for Tanks West, however it’s believed he did not have a tracking device.
TWU WA assistant secretary Paul Aslan said current laws that required companies to supply workers who operated alone with an “up-to-date” means of communication in case of an emergency were too ambiguous.
Mr Aslan said Mr Miller’s death again raised concerns about the lack of safety equipment and training for drivers, almost four years after the death of truck driver Anthony John Bradanovich in similar circumstances near Wiluna.
A coronial inquest found the 35-year-old died of exertional heat stroke after walking more than 30km for help when his prime mover became bogged on the unsealed Gunbarrel Highway in January 2011.
Coroner Kevin Tavener found the transport company Mr Bradanovich worked for failed to provide him with enough information about emergency breakdown procedures or site-specific radio channels.
He suggested drivers be given a personal GPS locator beacon, maps and ample drinking water.
After the coronial inquiry, WorkSafe inspectors visited more than 100 commercial transport companies after first warning them of their requirements.
They issued 96 improvement notices, including 24 for failing to ensure there was a means of communicating with isolated employees.
Mr Aslan said having only a mobile phone on a journey similar to the one Mr Miller took should not be considered sufficient.

Transport Workers Union spokesman Paul Aslan wants that changed.

“We believe that if either an EPIRB or a sat phone had been provided to those two men, they would still be with us today,” he said.

“And they’re not, they’re dead and that’s a tragic thing.”

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AMSJ April 2022