Logistics company fined $450,000 following worker death
Autocare Services Pty Ltd has been fined in the District Court of New South Wales after a truck driver employed by the company was fatally injured when the deck of a trailer crushed him as he was carrying out maintenance work.
Head of SafeWork NSW Natasha Mann said the business pleaded guilty for failing to comply with its obligation under section 19(1) of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.
“The court heard the 2019 incident happened in the early hours of 15 May when the worker began working on a vehicle transportation trailer during his rest break,” Ms Mann said.
“The worker was carrying out repairs to air lines of the trailer using a repair kit provided by Autocare when the well deck dropped and fatally injured him.”
The court heard Autocare had a policy in place requiring drivers to contact a maintenance supervisor before any minor fault fixing but this was not enforced in relation to minor air line leaks and no formal training was offered for this type of work.
Ms Mann said there was a serious risk of workers being injured or killed due to limited space under the trailer and a lack of lock-in pins for the deck.
The company was found to be in breach of its work health and safety duty.
“This tragic incident is an unfortunate reminder that businesses must enforce safety policies to ensure staff are protected at all times,” Ms Mann said.
Since the incident Autocare has taken proactive measures to limit the risk of a repeat incident including removing repair kits from trucks and instructing drivers to not conduct maintenance work.
“Businesses have obligations under work health and safety laws and are required to manage the safety of employees and mitigate risks,” Ms Mann said.
Autocare Services Pty Ltd has the right to appeal the sentence.
For more information about work health and safety in the road freight industry visit the SafeWork NSW website here.