The Transport Workers’ Union in NSW (TWU) is today accusing the operators of the WestConnex project of not taking on their share of responsibility for the safety of truck drivers and other road users.
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Concrete Truck delivery drivers have today ceased unsafe work on the WestConnex project site at St Peters due to the excessive number of tyre punctures occurring on trucks from loose scrap metal objects like bolts scattered around the site.
Transport Workers, delivering concrete and other freight have reported multiple tyre punctures occurring on the WestConnex site.
The TWU and worker Health and Safety Reps are also investigating a number of occurrences where other significant vehicle damage has occurred related to working in the WestConnex tunnel.
Richard Olsen, NSW State Secretary of the TWU said, “Here is another failure for heavy vehicle operators by Transurban and the NSW Government who hold ownership in the WestConnex project”.
Too many drivers are leaving the site unaware that they have punctured tyres until the truck is on a public road.
“The WestConnex failures in safety on their site mean that truck drivers doing their job and public road users are now in danger. The consequences of a truck tyre blow out due to a puncture caused on the WestConnex site could be catastrophic for someone’s family,” Mr Olsen said.
The TWU has learned that when a tyre wash/ inspection bay on the site stopped working WestConnex did not inform drivers and provide them with a suitable alternative to inspect tyres.
This has caused a significant consequence with the TWU aware that one concrete agitator Driver has been banned from working on the WestConnex site because he had “excessive punctures” and had also pointed out the problems of not being able to use the broken tyre wash/ inspection bay facility.
The TWU is aware that WestConnex have failed to consult with worker Health and Safety Reps about mitigating the risks on the St Peters site. WestConnex are failing their duties under the Work, Health and Safety Act.
Mr Olsen said, “These are moves that increase the danger to transport workers and other road users, WestConnex is breaching work, health and safety legislation in not consulting with workers, nor mitigating the risk by implementing suitable control measures, and attempting to silence a driver who is standing up for a safer workplace. They are fully aware of what is going on and are sitting by and doing nothing. Where is their duty of care to their workers and the public?”
Transurban and the NSW Government have form when it comes to negative impacts on the heavy vehicle industry, their cosy deal on toll roads that transport workers can no longer afford is now impacting on the safety of those at work on the WestConnex site.
Media inquiries – Colin Henderson – TWU NSW 0405625208