23rd December 2020, what a way to end the year.

Goodaye all. Apologies for leaving you all in the lurch waiting with baited breath last week, I cleaned the inside of the cab after starting this, then had to go and load trailers and get fuel etc. The first part was written with a plan to put up, but alas, I did not get back to it to do so.

(Written last Sunday) It is somewhat warm here near McKinlay, north of Winton. What took hours to load in three separate trips in Brisbane, was lifted off in 7 hits, one because the chain got caught coming out. The man unloading me brought me a bottle of water during unloading, then when done and I was flagging, I asked for another and he then also offered me an electrolyte ice block. Both hit the spot. I did need something to eat as was due when I got here, but knowing what is in front of me to get home, I thought a late lunch would perhaps gain me another 30 minutes or at least, not cost me an hour if I got in while the mine crew was on lunch. One of our other drivers had said you could get a bus into the village and get a feed and a shower, but not so. You need this pass and that form and now I am outside, it is too late.

My safety, amenity, ability to get a shower or meal and have a life, affected and controlled by the logbook and they wonder why we want change. I could get a bit down the road, but that will simply cost me more time in my effort to get home before Christmas. A 24 hour break in the truck here was not the original plan, but circumstances, wiring issues and lights etc, the load and the operating environment, have all each added delays I could not foresee or prevent. But I have to comply.

So here I am in the truck and without the Icepack, I would be in trouble. Thank you Charles and the team for supplying a device that makes such conditions bearable for truckies. I have often pondered the safety side of things, with the view that safety applies to others when you can screw them over, make them do all types of time wasting crap in the name of safety so you have a job and those affected don’t count. The time lost, the loss of income etc for all who then have to wait even longer now behind etc.

What about our safety in the sun. the rain, the heat etc? We are often the only bunnies stuck in these conditions loading and unloading. The bloke who came up with the idea to keep you safe, doesn’t have to live with it, it keeps them employed coming up with even more crap to foist on someone else. Their time and life won’t be affected. Why are those affected not included in any such changes?

The forkies will mostly happily watch you trying to keep up with them when they hit you with two forks, after making you wait of course, they have a cover for the sun and the rain, yes they might have to wear the long sleeves and pants, hard hat etc, but they don’t have to lift gates, move curtains and then strap it all down. Thankfully this load doesn’t have those issues, but there are always things we have to do and some still don’t get paid for that. Why Not?

I want to be safe at work, I want to be safe on the road (and then why do we not teach car drivers about sharing the road with trucks) and I want others to be as safe. What I have a problem with is those who come up with and then implement things to keep me safe that will not, that will take more time and leave me with more responsibility down the road, yet I have not been consulted, my time and the changes to my life completely ignored and the cost to me as the driver, not even on the radar. If it cost those who come up with it, they surely have to get funding and approval for changes they put forward, so the cost to the company will be considered, by why is the cost to every driver then involved, impacted and delayed etc, not?

Hard hats when the only thing they will protect you from is a plane falling out of the sky, long sleeves and pants, when all they do is bring you closer and faster to heat stress. Yes there are absolutely places where these things are needed to keep workers safe, but not everywhere. So ends the rant.

 (Written tonight) It has been an unusual month, my four legged freight, the giraffe to SA, a trial in another truck and then to Melbourne, Dubbo, St George, Brissie and off to Mt Isa with two and back again to Brisbane then up to the mine with three. Hot all the way, I missed all the rain and most of the kangaroos, one on the way up and three on the way back, but none on the second trip. The roads up there are terrible as those who travel them all the time well know. I did make a list of some of thew worst bumps and plan to submit it to TMR, but will they do anything? A few green reflector bays appeared in new places and a few asked was I lost. I am unloading in the morning, back to Dubbo then preloading for Melbourne to go Monday. It has been a very different year for many, though most I spoke with are busy now. So to all who read and hopefully enjoy, may I wish you a Merry Christmas and a TRUCKING Good New Year and plan to keep you informed and occasionally entertained in the New Year. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

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