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Transport company accepts $750,000 enforceable undertaking

The following article is a news item provided for the benefit of the Workplace Health and Safety profession. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Institute of Health & Safety.
Date: 
Tuesday, 23 November, 2021 - 12:30
Category: 
Incidents & prosecutions
Location: 
Queensland

A transport and logistics company has entered into a $750,000 enforceable undertaking to improve safety systems following an incident in which an employee died on the Logan Motorway in Queensland in November 2018.

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has accepted an enforceable undertaking (EU) from Lindsay Transport that will see approximately $750,000 contributed towards implementing safety training and chain of responsibility education across the Lindsay Transport group of companies.

The EU stems from an NHVR investigation into Lindsay Transport’s safety policies and procedures, following the death of driver John Bolton on the Logan Motorway in Queensland in November 2018.
Lindsay Transport was charged with three category 2 offences, for creating the risk of illness, injury, or death contrary to the requirements of the primary safety duty provisions of the Heavy Vehicle National Law.
After charges were laid in Coffs Harbour Local Court, Lindsay Transport applied to the NHVR to approve an EU as an alternative to the court proceedings.
The EU requires Lindsay Transport to spend almost $750,000 across two years to implement safety strategies that will ensure all practical steps are taken to prevent any further loss of life, and future public risks are effectively mitigated.

The NHVR will review evidence submitted by Lindsay Transport and monitor the company’s compliance of the agreed activities, to avoid further legal action.
Approximately $400,000 of the EU will fund the development of a web-based driver education platform that will host training on safety topics such as drivers’ fitness for duty, returning to work after illnesses, and key risks relating to fatigue, speed, and vehicle mass. The platform will be made available to the transport industry without charge.

The remaining funds will go towards a training program focused on fitness to drive, scheduling and fatigue for Lindsay Transport’s staff, a review of the company’s safety policies, procedures, and practices.
A $125,000 donation will be made to fund research into health issues facing long-haul drivers. A focus of the strategies will look at better identifying and helping drivers with sleep apnoea and fatigue-related medical conditions.

NHVR director of prosecutions Belinda Hughes said the EU would achieve safety improvements for the heavy vehicle industry and wider supply chain, helping to reduce the chance of a similar tragedy occurring on our roads.

“We believe this death could and should have been avoided,” Hughes said.
“We consulted with Mr. Bolton’s family who expressed their support to accept Lindsay’s EU proposal, given it will deliver activities that directly address the risk that caused this incident, compared to a prosecution where the only penalty available was a fine.”