$320,000 fine after worker run over by B-double

Tuesday, 5 September, 2023 - 12:30
Incidents & prosecutions

A transport company in Victoria has been convicted and fined $320,000 after a truck driver was fatally struck by a B-double at a Yarraville depot in 2020.

Malec Holdings was sentenced in the Melbourne County Court after pleading guilty to a single charge of failing to provide and maintain a system of work that was, so far as reasonably practicable, safe and without health risks.

In October 2020, two truck drivers returned from their usual trips collecting log loads from New South Wales. After unloading the logs, the drivers commenced the process of cleaning, refuelling and parking their trucks.

The court heard that as one driver reversed his truck towards the parking lot in the cramped yard, the other followed closely on foot. As the driver moved forward and began a U-turn, the deceased stood on a pile of wood debris about 10 metres away.

As the truck continued its U-turn, the deceased slipped or tripped on the pile of wood debris and was run over by the axles of the rear trailer. He died at the scene.

A WorkSafe Victoria investigation found that it was reasonably practicable for Malec Holdings to have reduced the risk of injury and death by removing, as much as possible, the need for B-doubles to reverse in the workplace, and by implementing a traffic management plan that identified safety hazards and risks and implemented pedestrian or truck exclusion zones, with clearly marked and barricaded pedestrian walkways and marked vehicle travel routes.

Tragedies such as this were far too common, with 15 people losing their lives and another 372 seriously injured in vehicle-related incidents so far this year, said WorkSafe Victoria executive director of health and safety, Narelle Beer.

“This awful death could have easily been avoided if the right controls were in place,” she said.

“In any workplace where vehicles are present a traffic management plan is an essential measure to prevent loss of life or serious injury, and WorkSafe will not hesitate to prosecute any duty holder who fails to prepare and implement such a plan.”