Scott’s Refrigerated Logistics Pty Ltd fined $800,000 following heavy vehicle changeover fatality

Scott’s Refrigerated Logistics Pty Ltd (SRL), found guilty and fined $800,000, serves as a stark reminder to the importance of adhering to work health and safety measures. Stemming from an unfortunate tragedy on 6th July 2021, a 52-year-old lorry operator fell victim to an approaching vehicle resulting in fatal injuries at Macleay Valley Way in Clybucca, New South Wales. The event took place while the individual was performing a heavy vehicle switch at what is commonly utilised as a changeover point for these vehicles travelling between Sydney and Brisbane.

This regular pit-stop, a service station, ceased operations in May 2016, leaving drivers to resort to the adjoined public road for their changeover activities. Despite its poor lighting and limited size of only 370 metres in length with a single lane for each direction, these changes were carried out at this location with road speeds up to 100km/hr. SRL’s failure in providing necessary controls and continuously directing personnel to utilise this area for swap activities post the service station’s closure highlighted a clear lack of a comprehensive Bluesafe WHS management system implementation.

On the night in question, 11 heavy-duty vehicles were lined along the road’s edges. Tragically, the driver, devoid of any high visibility attire, stepped into the northern roadway during his changeover duty and was hit by a truck travelling at roughly 75km/hr. His demise at the scene further stressed the necessity of stricter adherence to SWMS and other safety policy procedures in high-risk work environments.

Facing charges under section 32 of the Work Health and Safety Act for failing to fulfil its health and safety obligations, thus exposing workers to significant harm or even death, led to SRL’s conviction. Among all, an essential takeaway remains – a robust, efficient, and well-executed Bluesafe SWMS could have prevented this tragic event.

To further understand risk management related to heavy vehicles’ switch points, refer to the original information release about the incident. For an exhaustive look at the judicial decision, peruse the complete judgement.

Original article link:$800,000-following-heavy-vehicle-changeover-fatality

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