We all know the world can be unfair, at times, but the situation Blenners Transport is in demonstrates just how hard it is to get any justice when sensationalism in the media comes into play, when associated with the trucking industry. Having your name plastered all over an exposé of the evils of the trucking industry is bad news and there is no redress when many of the accusations are found to be unwarranted.
Take the case of Les Blennerhassett, whose company Blenners specialise in the transport of bananas and other produce out of Far North Queensland to the rest of Australia. The Four Corners report earlier in the year saw an ex-employee, who had sued the operation for wrongful dismissal, get a lot of air time talking about dodgy practices by the Blenners operation when it came to fatigue and maintenance.
Whether these claims were justified or not, the mud thrown sticks and Blenners have been under pressure from the authorities and their customers, who are concerned about the chain of responsibility implications of the stories.
The Queensland Department of Main Roads were straight onto the case and embarked upon a spot check of the operation to identify any non-compliance. The results are now in and Blenners were sent some Corrective Action Requests (CAR) after the NHVAS Maintenance, Mass and Basic Fatigue Management audit. Nothing unusual there.
A letter received by Blennerhassett this week says, “Your responses have now satisfied these requests and no further action is required on all three modules. I would like to thank your staff for their cooperation and support in closing these CARs.”
After months of uncertainty this enabled Blenners to contact customers with the good news. In a letter Les Blennerhassett laid out the situation in a hope the uncertainty can be lifted from the operation.
“Unfortunately, what would otherwise be a spotless safety record was put into question by a television program in which one former aggrieved, employee of our business made allegations about our safety record,” says the letter. “It is unfortunate that this former aggrieved employee was given the level of media coverage that he was and we hope to address those allegations in court.
“We are more than happy to answer any queries from our customers about how we approach safety at Blenner Transport.”
The question we have to ask is whether this information will be broadcast at 8.30 pm on ABC TV? The answer, of course is no. The program makers are not going to revisit the issue and clear the air for Les. He has to dig himself out of this particular hole on his own.
Where’s his redress? There is none.The trucking industry has to face the fact, we are only going to be portrayed as baddies, and our job is to minimise the chance of TV companies getting hold of stories they can sensationalise for a ratings boost.