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Safety alert issued following vehicle fatalities

Tuesday, 7 January, 2020 - 16:45
Policy & legislation

WorkSafe Victoria recently issued a safety alert highlighting the importance of ensuring vehicles are suitable for the task, fitted with seatbelts, and operated safely.

The alert was issued following a number of incidents, including one in August 2018 in which an employee was killed after being thrown from a 4-wheel drive vehicle on a property.

In November 2019 a contractor also died after he was thrown from his utility when it overturned several times after he lost control driving in steep terrain.

The alert said vehicles pose a number of risks to drivers and passengers, especially if seatbelts are not used properly or the vehicle is not suitable for the terrain.

If a vehicle overturns, people can be thrown from the vehicle and sustain injuries that are serious or even fatal.

The alert said that employers and self-employed people should:

  • ensure all occupants wear a seatbelt to keep them secured in the seat and protect them from serious or fatal injuries
  • ensure all seatbelts are in good working condition
  • ensure seatbelts are put back on after getting back into a vehicle after stopping to open or close a gate
  • consider the nature of the task, environmental conditions and terrain before determining how the job will be done
  • not allow untrained or inexperienced people to operate the vehicle, particularly in unfamiliar or high-risk terrain or for unfamiliar tasks
  • when using 4-wheel drive vehicles off-road, ensure the system of work includes engaging 4-wheel drive at all times


The alert said that employers must:

  • so far as is reasonably practicable, provide or maintain plant or systems of work that are safe and without risks to health.
  • provide employees with the necessary information, instruction, training or supervision to enable them to do their work in a way that is safe and without risks to health.
  • also ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that people other than employees are not exposed to risks to their health or safety arising from the employer’s conduct.

Self-employed persons must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons are not exposed to risks to their health and safety arising from the conduct of the undertaking of the self-employed persons.