Courageous truckie wins WorkSafe Victoria award

Long-haul truck driver Andrew Mifsud defied all odds and returned to work after witnessing a fatal truck and car collision.

After witnessing a fatal truck and car collision in December 2022, regional truck driver Andrew Mifsud thought he would never get back behind the wheel of a truck again.

Driving from Kyabram into Tatura, Mifsud came face to face with a car failing to give way to an oncoming truck, resulting in a collision.

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Recognising the severity of the accident, Andrew and the truck driver involved in the incident both jumped out to give the woman driver assistance.

“He was on the phone with triple zero while I was trying to get in the car,” Mifsud says.

Despite their best efforts, the woman involved passed away shortly after.

“I could still see the tear in her eye, so she didn’t die straightaway. And I feel she didn’t die alone, either.”

“It was very hard. Not good.”

Mifsud says the impact of the scene did not hit him until the following day, where he had to stop driving and call his employer.

“I just started tearing up, I couldn’t deal with work. It was hard enough at home,” he says.

Just three weeks prior, Mifsud’s father unfortunately passed away and he was grappling with the grief of two unexpected deaths at once.

“I was mourning this girl before my dad.”

Sargeant Transport driving training manager Paul Bracken says Andrew contacted them shortly after the accident asking for assistance.

“He called us the next day and said hey, I’m not right. We went through with our injury process to ensure that we can get him the help that he needs,” Bracken says.

EML senior case manager Kathy Anderson says Mifsuds injury was really tough to read.

“He tried so desperately to save her and he just didn’t want to talk about it. It was really, really tough for him to open up,” Anderson says.

“If you don’t talk, you can’t hold it in, it just explodes. You get it off your chest and you feel lighter,” Mifsud says.

“I was gone. I was going to give notice, I was out. And the support I got from my team changed my mind.”

The team at Sargeant Transport and EML encouraged Mifsud to get back behind the wheel, offering him a new position as driver trainer for the business.

“I’m still learning. It’s hard coming out of a truck and trying to teach someone else. You’re reaching for the foot pedal to stop the truck. Sometimes it gets a bit hard,” Mifsud says.

“But I get pleasure out of it too, because I can help him or her.”

Mifsud says Kathy Anderson and his employers changed his life, allowing him to take his own time healing.

“Anybody that’s going through what I’m going through, you got to talk. Yeah, don’t hold it in. And hopefully find somebody like Kathy that can make you talk but returning to work. I think it’s the best thing you can do.”

Mifsuds bravery was recognised at the recent 2023 WorkSafe Victoria awards, where he took home a Worker Return to Work Achievement award.

WorkSafe CEO Joe Calafiore says it was reassuring to see such variety in the way Victorian businesses and workers were addressing health and safety issues.

“It is wonderful to share the stories of individuals who have made the journey back to work after injury, as well as those who have gone to great lengths to make their workplaces safer,” Calafiore says.

Milfsud says he is honoured to receive the award, and urges people to seek help if needed.

“I just feel this award shouldn’t be only for me, but should be for the people around me.”


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