Truck industry urged to push safer lifting

EDITORIAL:Safety at work a wise choice

WORKERS in the trucking industry are being encouraged to enforce heavy lifting procedures.

WorkCover Albury district co-ordinator Neville Burt said more than $50 million had been spent on workers’ compensation in that industry in the past two years.

“We are trying to get across that WorkCover is focusing on the high risk that comes with manual tasks,” he said.

“A lot of places are practising unsafe lifting and 30 per cent of all injuries and illnesses across all industries are a result of it.”

Mr Burt said trucks should always be set up in an order to prevent workers from reaching over freight.

“The people who injure themselves are the ones who are not thinking and assessing the risks when they go to lift an item,” he said.

Albury Freight Distribution Centre operations manager Tony Burns is a strong advocate for safety.

“We need our staff here, it’s very important,” he said.

“We show all staff how to lift correctly and offer help and supervision.”

Mr Burns strongly encouraged the use of trolleys, forklifts and tailgate loaders.

“We try to eliminate actual lifting,” he said.

“It’s mainly common- sense — we are a small company and if anyone gets injured it’s hard to find the right worker to replace them.”

Mr Burt said over the years there had been a shift in the attitude of employers.

“There used to be a bit of reluctance, but now people are accepting they don’t know everything about safety and are seeking advice,” he said.

“They are realising that safe work is productive work.”

Mr Burt said the money paid to workers’ compensation was at the cost of NSW taxpayers.

“Imagine what we could do with the money,” he said.

“It goes to show how many injuries there are.”

Mr Burt said a lot of the injuries caused by improper practices were severe.

“It takes a long time to repair the injuries and some can never able to do them again,” he said.

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