Satellite phones a must for remote work: TWU

By: Paul Howell

Union says stranded WA truck driver would be alive if he’d been carrying equipment worth less than $1,000.

Satellite phones a must for remote work: TWU
The TWU says truck drivers should be required to carry satellite phones and EPIRBs for all remote journeys.


The Transport Workers Union (TWU) says a truck driver who became stranded on a roadside in remote Western Australia and died could have been saved if he’d been carrying more appropriate communications equipment.

Clayton Miller was found dead about 20km from his bogged truck last week.

He had been delivering tanks to a remote station in the state’s north-west and died searching for help in 46-degree heat.

TWU assistant secretary for WA Paul Aslan says current laws require employers to supply lone workers with "up-to-date" means of communication for use in emergency situations.

He has urged law makers to specify satellite phones be carried for all remote areas journeys, along with emergency position indicating radio beacons [EPIRBs].

"There’s absolutely no doubt this man would be alive today if he had been carrying those devices," he says.

The satellite phone allows for real time communication with emergency services while an EPIRB offers a more reliable positioning service than standard global positioning devices. Both devices have become much cheaper in recent years.

WA Police has reiterated the importance of staying with the vehicle when trapped in remote areas.

"If people end up in this type of predicament we advise them to try not to panic, and stay with their vehicle at all times," it says.

"It is much easier for searchers to spot a vehicle from the air, than it is a person."

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