Toll to in­crease fa­tigue mon­i­tor­ing

TWU eye dam­age fears fail to beat safety and man­age­ment stance

Owner Driver - - The Goods -

TOLL HAS WON FAIR WORK COM­MIS­SION (FWC) ap­proval to ex­pand the use of driver-fo­cused safety tech­nol­ogy to other group op­er­a­tions. FWC deputy pres­i­dent Richard Clancy ruled against Trans­port Worker Union (TWU) ob­jec­tions based on per­sonal safety con­cerns and en­ter­prise agree­ment pow­ers.

The dis­pute re­lates to whether Toll has a right to fur­ther im­ple­ment Guardian tech­nol­ogy in its Toll Liq­uids (Liq­uids) and Toll Line­haul & Fleet Ser­vices (Line­haul) and dig­i­tal video recorder (DVR) cam­eras in its Liq­uids busi­ness.

The Guardian tech­nol­ogy re­lies on in­frared mech­a­nisms to track driver eye be­hav­iour with au­dio and seat vi­bra­tion alarms which sound im­me­di­ately to alert the driver of fa­tigue events.

The TWU safety ob­jec­tion fo­cuses on ques­tions sur­round­ing such re­search and the ef­fects of low-level in­frared beams on line-haul driv­ers.

In Clancy’s eyes, this foundered on ex­pert opin­ion for Toll given by se­nior op­tics aca­demic Dr Stephen Dain, who in­sists the level of any im­pact is too low to cause dam­age. It is ac­knowl­edged the re­search that has been done ei­ther was not spe­cific to line-haul driv­ers or con­ducted by a com­pany not ac­cred­ited to un­der­take the spe­cific test­ing that was done, as well as that Dain had not tested the tech­nol­ogy him­self.

But Dain’s po­si­tion as emer­i­tus pro­fes­sor at the Univer­sity of New South Wales’ School of Op­tom­e­try and Vi­sion Sci­ence and his hav­ing chaired the Na­tional Association of Test­ing Au­thor­i­ties of Aus­tralia, Reg­is­tra­tion Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee in Op­tics and Ra­diom­e­try, gave weight to his ev­i­dence.

This was helped by the TWU’s in­abil­ity to find an ex­pert to chal­lenge it, though it was able to find other re­search that ques­tions in­frared im­pacts. Clancy ac­knowl­edges the driv­ers’ con­cerns.

“It is not sub­mit­ted that the ma­te­rial ob­tained by the driv­ers, in it­self, proves that the Guardian sys­tem will harm the eye­sight of driv­ers. How­ever, the doc­u­ments have raised con­cerns in the minds of the driv­ers which they be­lieve should be ad­dressed and war­rant fur­ther study.”

Toll ar­gues the tech­nol­ogy is not new and al­ready in op­er­a­tion in 225 ve­hi­cles in the Liq­uids busi­ness in its own op­er­a­tions and those of com­peti­tors. Based on his own re­search, Toll Liq­uids na­tional safety man­ager Sean Hep­burn states he is aware Guardian tech­nol­ogy is be­ing used by Lin­fox, K&S, Kalari, Ron Finemore Trans­port and Wet­ten­halls.

The TWU also ob­jected to the lack of safe­guards against mis­use of video “footage” and states the en­ter­prise agree­ment fails to give man­age­ment the req­ui­site power to ex­pand the roll­out.

Hep­burn, how­ever, said the Guardian is pri­mar­ily aimed at en­hanc­ing safety.

While he could not rule out the prospect Toll would dis­ci­pline a tanker driver as a re­sult of video ob­tained, its scope to do so would be very lim­ited as there would need to be a gen­uine fa­tigue or dis­trac­tion event for Toll to re­ceive any footage from the Guardian and fur­ther, the footage Liq­uids receives is “very lim­ited”.

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