$466k in fines for company failing to provide safe plant

A Victorian road maintenance company has been fined the maximum penalty after the death of a driver in 2017.

The company and its owner plead guilty under Victoria’s OHS Act to the charge of failing to provide and maintain safe plant.

The company received a fine of $388,650 while the owner was fined $77,730, the maximum available penalties.

The company provided a water cart truck to another company under a hiring agreement in April 2017.

According to WorkSafe Victoria, less than a month later the driver was killed when the truck rolled while travelling down a long, steep, curved section of road.

WorkSafe Victoria’s forensic engineer concluded that the truck’s brakes were in poor condition and were improperly adjusted, which were primary causes of the crash.

The truck had last undergone a major inspection and servicing by a qualified mechanic in December of 2015.

The owner and another employee had previously conducted some repair work and maintenance on the trucks, but neither were qualified mechanics.

The driver also received no formal training before operating the truck, or any supervised training for driving under difficult conditions (e.g. driving down a steep and curved descent).

WorkSafe Victoria’s Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen said there were no excuses for such reckless behaviour.

“This company’s director made a reckless decision to perform service and maintenance work on the water truck himself, even though he knew he wasn’t qualified to do so,” Ms Nielsen said.

“This failure to take reasonable care left a dangerous vehicle on the road and ultimately cost a young worker his life.”

Visit WorkSafe Victoria for more information including how employers can manage risk safely.

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