A conviction and over $466,000 in fines have been issued to a road maintenance company and its director after the death of a young truck driver in West Gippsland in 2017.
The company, Valley Sweep Pty Ltd and its director, Anton Zakic, pleaded guilty to a single charge each under the Occupational Health and Safety Act of failing to provide and maintain safe plant.
The maximum penalty ruling was handed down in Latrobe Valley Magistrates’ Court on Friday October 2nd, with Valley Sweep being fined $388,650 and Mr Zakic fined $77,730.
In what can only be described as another tragic workplace incident, the 21-year old male was killed when the truck he was driving rolled. At the time of the incident the young man was travelling down a long, steep, curved section of road near the town of Noojee.
Valley Sweep had been engaged under a hire agreement to provide another company with a water cart truck and a driver.
An investigation by WorkSafe concluded the primary cause of the crash was due to the poor condition of the truck’s brakes, including being improperly adjusted.
Further findings revealed in court found:
the truck involved had its last major inspection and servicing by an external mechanic in December 2015
Mr Zakic and another Valley Sweep employee had performed maintenance and repair work for the company’s fleet of trucks and had worked on the water tanker, but neither were qualified mechanics
the driver had not received any formal training in the operation of water cart trucks – which have unique handling characteristics – or any supervised training in driving a water cart truck in difficult conditions such as a steep or curved descent.
To learn more about this incident visit WorkSafe.
Cause for serious concern
Unfortunately this terrible incident is not a stand alone occurrence. In fact, according to SafeWork Australia as of 8 October, 121 Australians have been killed at work in 2020.
In 2019, 183 Australians were fatally injured while working, compared with 144 workers in 2018. Of the 144 workers killed in 2018:
31% of these fatalities were due to a vehicle collision*
17% of these fatalities were due to being hit by moving objects
5% of these fatalities were due to being trapped by moving machinery.
The numbers don’t lie. These figures paint a grim reality that we at Plant Assessor are regrettably all too familiar with.
*Vehicle collisions include fatalities that occurred as a direct result of a vehicle crash. Vehicles include not only road vehicles such as cars and trucks, but also machines such as aircraft, boats, loaders, tractors and quad bikes.
Prevention is easier than you think
As a business dedicated to reducing serious injuries involving plant and machinery, we have a wide range of easy-to-use, cloud-based software solutions designed to help prevent such incidents.
Do your safety management systems pass the test? Find out now.
Since 2004, Plant Assessor has been helping people take control of their safety systems relating to plant and machinery.
We have an easy to use self-diagnostic tool, Machinery Safety System Health Check, designed to help people who use plant and machinery understand how solid their safety systems are.
We urge you to take the test and get a better understanding of your system’s health before it’s too late.
Here to help
At Plant Assessor, we are committed to helping people get machinery safety right. If you would like some help with your system diagnosis or any other plant and machinery safety concerns, contact us and our team of experts will be in touch.
Disclaimer: This information is intended to provide general information on the subject matter. This is not intended as legal or expert advice for your specific situation. You should seek professional advice before acting or relying on the content of this information.