Research

WOMEN FACE SIGNIFICANT OHS BARRIERS IN THE TRANSPORT INDUSTRY

A major report has identified the need to address systemic OHS gaps, including the lack of workplace amenities for women, physical safety concerns, and diversity issues that have led to a rise in harassment and bullying.

the report found only about 27 per cent of more than 530,000 people employed in road, rail, aviation and maritime, as of 2021, were women.

The recently released 180-page report shows women's health and safety in the industry remains an overlooked and poorly addressed issue. Researchers say lack of facilities for women is a major barrier in long haul driving, particularly in isolated areas, as are ill-designed cabins and uniforms which all create physical safety risks.

Trucking equipment was originally designed for men, and it seems little has changed.

One of the report's key findings is that the transport industry is perceived as 'blokey’ and is a deterrent for many women, who have concerns about harassment, double standards, misogyny, and safety issues associated with long hours away from home, often in remote areas, the researchers say.

The report outlines a number of initiatives aimed at increasing diversity, implementing cultural change and improving safety in the sector. Some of these are:

  • the Federal Government's Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative, which is funding a Women in Trucking Australia safety video showcasing women in the industry;
  • The NSW Women's Strategy, whose aims include improving the wellbeing of women across the State transport sector through strategies such as the promotion of a culture based on respect and inclusion, and having women fill 40 per cent of leadership roles by 2025;
  • Victoria's Inclusion and Diversity Strategy, which is committed to reaching a target of 50 per cent women in the workforce and in leadership roles by 2023;
  • Victoria's Driven Women program, which provides safe workspaces and facilities for women and aims to increase female participation in the workforce by 10 per cent each year; and
  • Qube Holdings' Female only intake - MC Road Train Trainee Operator Program, which includes a 10-week training program to help women become road train operators (with an employment guarantee), and ensures amenities are suitable for women.

Source: OHS Alert September 2022 The barriers to women entering and progressing in transport roles: Final report, completed February 2022, released August 2022

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