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Work-related non-crash heavy vehicle driver fatalities in Australia, 2000–9
  1. Christopher B Jones,
  2. Joseph E Ibrahim,
  3. Joan Ozanne-Smith
  1. Prevention Research Unit, Department of Forensic Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Christopher B Jones, Department of Forensic Medicine, 57–83 Kavanagh Street, Southbank, VIC 3006, Australia; christopher.b.jones{at}monash.edu

Abstract

The objective of this study was to describe the nature and mechanisms of a case series of Australian work-related non-crash heavy vehicle driver fatalities. The study used existing population-based mortality data on non-crash work-related heavy vehicle (gross vehicle mass >4.5 t) driver fatalities reported to Australian coroners between 2000 and 2009. There were 47 fatalities with a mean age of 46.5 years. Available toxicology detected that six of 16 drivers consumed illegal drugs or alcohol. The most frequent task was attending to cargo (n=22, 47%); 31 (66%) fatalities occurred when the driver was working alone. Brake issues (n=21, 45%) were the most frequent contributing factor, and crushing the most common mechanism (n=33, 70%), particularly between the vehicle and another object (n=22, 47%). Fatalities occurred in most jurisdictions averaging 4.7 per year overall. A large number of truck drivers die performing non-driving tasks. Crushing following vehicle rolling accounts for almost 50% of fatalities. Considering this pathway may provide prevention opportunities.

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Footnotes

  • Funding This paper has been prepared from a project funded by WorkSafe Victoria, through the Institute for Safety, Compensation and Recovery Research (ISCRR).

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Monash University Standing Committee on Ethics in Research involving Humans and the Department of Justice, Victoria Justice Human Research Ethics Committee.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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