Worker death results in $375,000 fine for south coast drilling company

Published: 26 Jul 2021

Released by: SafeWork NSW

South Coast Under Road Borers has been fined $375,000 after a worker was fatally crushed by a truck in October 2017.

The Shoalhaven company pleaded guilty to a breach of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 in the District Court of NSW after an investigation by SafeWork NSW found the company did not have safe systems of work in place for the servicing of its heavy vehicles at its premises.

Safework NSW’s Executive Director, Investigations & Enforcement, Valerie Griswold, said workplace safety laws are enforced to prevent these tragic losses of life and when businesses fail to comply with the laws, SafeWork NSW will take enforcement action.

“This situation truly presents the worst-case scenario in a workplace,” Ms Griswold said.

“This young man had only been on the job for three weeks at the time of the incident and not only was he unsupervised, but he did not have any prior relevant experience in working on heavy vehicles.

“We will continue to take strong enforcement action against businesses that do not uphold proper workplace safety standards because as we have seen here, innocent people can lose their lives.”

The incident occurred on 27 October 2017 when the worker was working underneath a truck that had not been properly stabilised on soft, sloping ground.

The Court found that the offence was one of “significant objective gravity” and “the risk of a worker being struck or crushed by the unplanned movement of a vehicle during servicing or maintenance was obvious and well documented in the available guidance material.”

South Coast Under Road Borers has the right to appeal the sentence.

The full judgement is available on the NSW caselaw website.

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