An issue that has come under the spotlight are truck sleeper cabs since a truck driver died earlier this year due to problems with the sleeper cab.
WorkSafe inspectors have found a disturbing and dangerous practice in the long distance road freight industry that some back-up truck drivers required by law to take a rest in sleeper cabs are in fact sleeping on their trucks’ parcel shelves or tilt trays.
WorkSafe WA are now investigating this issue further after 16 Prohibition Notices were issued to a transport company. Other companies are now also being investigated.
This issue is particularly important for truckies because sufficient rest especially on longer journeys aren’t just a matter of comfort but a matter of safety.
An article on SafetyCUlture.com.au explains more about WorkSafe WA’s concerns as discussed by WorkSafe Director Joe Attard who highlighted the importance of sufficient rest for long distance commercial vehicle drivers:
“Transport companies that offer what is known as “hot shot” services to carry urgent freight keep their vehicles moving around the clock by using two drivers with one resting while the other drives,” said Mr Attard.
“If a driver is sleeping while the truck is on the move, the driver must be both comfortable and securely restrained, as per the relevant Australian Design Rule.
“Inspectors have found instances of trucks without sleeper cabs where the second driver is resting or sleeping on the vehicle’s parcel shelf or sleeping in a swag on the tilt tray of the vehicle, which is far from a satisfactory arrangement.
It goes without saying that workers on long journeys need to get sufficient, good quality rest so the fact that they don’t even have sufficient facilities to do this in many cases is unacceptable but it is even more unacceptable that other road users’ safety is being jeopardised in this manner, truckies aren’t the only ones at risk.
Trucks must be fitted with adjustable seating and an adequate sleeping berth that complies with Australian Design Rule 42, as well as air conditioning if operating north of the 26th Parallel between October 1 and March 31.
Inspectors will be concentrating on this issue when they visit transport companies to inspect fleets to ensure that all vehicles engaging in long distance work are equipped with the necessary sleeping facilities for drivers.
The post went on to explain:
“Even when there is a single driver resting while the truck is stationary, it is important that the sleeping berth complies with design rules so the driver is properly rested and does not have consequent issues with fatigue.
“The trucks on which inspectors are concentrating are rigid trucks, not prime movers which usually have a sleeper cab behind the driver’s cabin.
“Inspectors from the Transport team will be concentrating on this issue whenever they attend transport companies to ensure that all vehicles used for long distance runs have the correct sleeping arrangements for drivers.”