|Offender||Expressway-Civic Pty Ltd (ACN 008 924 285)|
|Charge||Charge Number||Offence Date||Date Convicted||Regulation||Section||Penalty Provision||Penalty Imposed||Date Sentenced|
|1||PE47218/2021||16 November 2018||11th August 2022||19(1) 19A(2)||3A(3)(b)(i)||$390,000.00||11th August 2022|
|Description of Breach(es)||
Being an employer, contravened sections 19(1) and 19A(2) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984, and by that contravention caused the death of its employee.
On 16 November 2018 an employee of Expressway-Civic Pty Ltd (ACN 008 924 285) (Expressway-Civic), was killed after being crushed by a piece of pipe that fell off a semi-trailer while it was being unloaded at the premises of V.D.M. Engineering Pty Ltd (ACN 131 919 643) (VDM Engineering) (the Incident).
THE ACCUSED: EXPRESSWAY-CIVIC
The Accused, Expressway-Civic, is a transport and warehousing company that at the relevant time was operating out of premises in Canning Vale. Expressway-Civic is experienced in transporting heavy duty materials. Expressway-Civic employed employees in various roles including as truck drivers. One of the truck drivers employed by Expressway-Civic was the victim. He began his employment with Expressway-Civic less than two months before the incident. Expressway-Civic also employed an operations manager.
On 13 November 2018, VDM Engineering ordered (among other things) four 12 metre long lengths of pipe and one pallet of flanges (the delivery). Each length of pipe weighed approximately 1.1 tonnes. Expressway-Civic agreed to undertake the delivery. The delivery was scheduled for Friday, 16 November 2018. The operations manager allocated the delivery to the victim. The victim undertook the delivery using a prime mover and semi-trailer owned by Fermi. All of the prime movers and semi-trailers used in Expressway-Civic's business were owned by Fermi.
The semi-trailer was not equipped with physical barriers (such as pins, bolsters, uprights or stanchions) that were capable of preventing pipe from rolling off the semi-trailer during loading and unloading.
The incident itself
The victim arrived at VDM Engineering at approximately 8:45 am on 16 November 2018. He reversed the prime mover and semi-trailer down the driveway at VDM Engineering. Mr Van De Meeberg was present in the yard at this time. Mr Van De Meeberg saw the truck when it arrived.
VDM Engineering intended for the pipes to be offloaded from the semi-trailer onto wooden gluts on the ground in VDM Engineering's yard. Mr Van De Meeberg placed the wooden gluts on the ground. A VDM Engineering employee used a forklift to offload the pallet from the semi- trailer at approximately 8:50 am. The employee then offloaded two lengths of pipe with the forklift at approximately 8:55 am. After depositing the first two lengths of pipe onto the gluts on the ground, the VDM Engineering employee drove the forklift back to the semi-trailer to offload more pipe. At this time, the victim was working between the truck and a limestone wall on the opposite side of the semi-trailer to the forklift. He was winding up the straps that had previously tied the pipe to the semi-trailer. The VDM Engineering employee could not see the victim and did not know where he was.
When the VDM employee attempted to offload the second two pieces of pipe, the piece of pipe closest to the forklift rolled towards the forklift. However, the second piece of pipe rolled off the tynes of the forklift and off the far side of the semi-trailer and crushed the victim against the limestone wall. An employee from VDM Engineering called an ambulance and the police. The victim was pronounced dead at Royal Perth Hospital at approximately 10:00 am. The victim died as a result of being crushed by the pipe falling off the truck.
The incident was captured by CCTV camera footage from an adjoining property.
THE HAZARD AND PRACTICABLE MEASURES
The failures by each accused to implement the measures referred to, caused the victim’s death.
The risks involved in loading and unloading pipe are well known in the heavy duty transportation industry. Expressway-Civic, VDM Engineering and Mr Van De Meeberg were also aware that unloading pipe from a truck without proper precautions is a hazardous exercise.
Expressway-Civic should have ensured that the victim’s semi-trailer was equipped with appropriate physical barriers for the load being delivered. Equipping the victim’s semi-trailer with physical barriers would not have placed a large burden on Expressway-Civic. Physical barriers are readily available for semi-trailers that transport pipe. There were bolsters available for the semi-trailer that the victim was using on the day of the Incident from the yard that he picked up the prime mover and semi-trailer from and also from the yard in Canning Vale that Expressway-Civic operated out of.
At the time of the incident the Load Restraint Guide 2004 was a publically available document. The Load Restraint Guide is incorporated into the Chain of Responsibility legislation that applies to transportation of goods by road. The Load Restraint Guide provides basic safety principles that should be followed to ensure the safe carriage of loads. One section of the Load Restraint Guide deals with cylindrical loads and provides:
At least two stanchions should be used on each side of the vehicle, to prevent the tendency of the load to spread sideways. In addition, every length in a load must be restrained by a minimum of two stanchions.
Leading up to, and at the time of the offence, Expressway-Civic had not implemented or enforced a procedure requiring drivers to stand in exclusion or safety zones while trucks were being loaded or unloaded. This was a practicable measure that should have been implemented.
The offender plead guilty and was convicted on 11 August 2022. The Magistrate issued a fine of $390,000 and ordered costs of $2500.00
|Court||Magistrates Court of Western Australia - Perth|
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