Safe Work Australia data indicates that more workers lose their lives as a result of vehicle-related incidents than any other cause of work-related death. It has been estimated that work-related road crashes in Australia account for approximately half of all occupational lives lost and 15% of lives lost in road crashes nationally.
In 2018, light passenger vehicles were driven 2.34 million kilometres for work travel (excluding the commute) in South Australia.31 Heavy vehicles travel more than 1.3 billion kilometres per year in South Australia.* Heavy vehicles represent 7% of the kilometres travelled across the state, yet they were involved in 20% of crashes where lives were lost and 7% of serious injuries.
Vehicles used for work-related travel are considered part of the workplace. There will be benefits from further increasing awareness of Work Health and Safety (WHS) obligations through education, compliance and enforcement with the aim to reduce lives lost and serious injury crashes associated with work-related travel.
Work-related travel contributes to road crash and work health and safety risk for employees in all sectors. Compliance with road traffic law is not necessarily sufficient to ensure WHS obligations have been met.32
Work-related road trauma is likely to be significantly under-reported whereby casualty crashes involving people travelling for work-related purposes is not recorded in the crash data unless the vehicle involved was obviously identifiable as being driven for work (such as a truck or bus).33
The ‘gig’ economy is creating emerging road safety challenges, particularly with delivery workers. Different business models impact on the ability to apply traditional WHS approaches. This has been identified as an issue both across Australia (particularly NSW) and internationally. 34
There is an opportunity to develop a culture of road safety through engagement with South Australian workplaces and promotion of good practice road safety policies such as fatigue management policies, distraction related policies, speed policies and driver monitoring systems that contribute to a safety culture.
Regulation of heavy vehicle safety is a shared responsibility between the South Australian Government and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator.
* Heavy vehicle includes the following types: Rigid truck, semi-trailer, bus, B double and other defined motor vehicle.
Overview of roles and responsibilities
|Government of South Australia||National Heavy Vehicle Regulator|
Key strategies aimed to improve road safety in South Australian workplaces
- Develop a culture of road safety through leadership across Government and promotion of good practice road safety policies, including reduction in exposure and fleet leasing / purchasing policies;
- Increasing awareness of WHS obligations, combined with education, enforcement and compliance. Programs to improve road safety will be developed and delivered in partnership with key stakeholders, representative associations and large employers;
- Identify and implement measures to address new and emerging service delivery and employment models, such as the gig economy;
- Work collaboratively to progress national reforms of the heavy vehicle sector to improve safety practices and outcomes;
- Expanded network of heavy vehicle rest stops in strategic remote locations; and
- Co-ordinated enforcement and education campaigns for heavy vehicle drivers to improve safety practices and outcomes, in partnership with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator.