31 Aug Australia’s death rate is down because of COVID-19 but road deaths continue to spike
COVID-19 precautions have resulted in death rates from other causes to fall in 2020, but road deaths are soaring in Queensland.
Australian Bureau of Statistics data has shown that the annual mortality rate in Australia began to decline in late May, largely because of lockdown measures and other safety precautions put in place this year to combat the spread of COVID-19.
As social distancing became the new normal, along with much greater diligence towards personal hygiene, influenza and pneumonia diagnoses have plummeted in 2020.
And across the board, workplace deaths have fallen 12.5 per cent as more and more people work from home or have been made redundant because of the impacts of COVID.
Funerals are down across the country, with global funeral company Invocare stating that the death rate was down by as much as 4 per cent in 2020 and funerals were down 6.6 per cent, which has also been impacted by social distancing regulations.
But while these figures can be viewed as encouraging in isolation, it has been a different story on our roads – particularly in Queensland – where workplace deaths involving vehicles continue to claim Australian lives.
Industries where driving is essential are still recording fatalities in 2020
While overall workplace deaths are down, industries that rely heavily on transport and workers using vehicles to do their job or move between job sites have still recorded heavy casualties so far in 2020.
The Safe Work Australia data shows that preliminary worker deaths year-to-date up to August 27 were highest in transport, postal and warehousing (44 deaths), agriculture, forestry and fishing (20), construction (14), public administration and safety (8), manufacturing (8) and mining (8).
This is in contrast to other industries that have endured forced shutdowns because of COVID-19 and do not rely on driving as a work function including retail trade, financial and insurance services, information media and telecommunications and professional, scientific and technical services which have all recorded zero fatalities to date.
These are figures that show while overall workplace deaths may be down, it is critical to show due care and compliance in industries where driving is essential.
Road deaths are spiking in Queensland
One state in Australia where road deaths have actually increased is Queensland, with Transport and Main Roads data showing that there have been 161 lives lost on Queensland roads to date, 25 more than the total road fatality count for 2019 which sat at 136.
The Australian Capital Territory has also seen an increase of 19 per cent in the number of road fatalities from 2019 to 2020 so far.
Why our Journey Management app is your guardian angel for workers on the road
Supervising staff and ensuring they are compliant and adhering to all standards and regulations is a lot easier when they are working in front of you. It becomes a lot harder when they are behind the wheel of a vehicle for work, particularly if they are travelling in rural and remote locations.
To effectively monitor the journeys of your remote workers, those driving between job sites or anyone who is driving as an essential function of their job you need the road safety app Journey Management System (JMS).
You simply set the journey and locations along the way, including mandatory fatigue management rest points, are geofenced and if a driver does not reach these locations in a designated time period, alerts are sent via email, SMS and push notification so that emergency services can be rapidly deployed to attend and incident or road trauma.
It uses both the mobile signal and the GPS functionality of the driver’s device so last known location can be sent in areas of low or no mobile phone reception and the app is 100 per cent hands-free, unlike other options on the market.
JMS will also give the driver voice notifications along the journey including reminders to take their designated breaks. And when the trip is complete, JMS will disengage completely so workers’ private movements are not monitored.
You can get started with JMS today with a free trial and get to know how it can make your travelling workforce completely safe and compliant.