23.07.2020

$85,000 for fatal loading incident

Australian rental company United Access has received an $85,000 fine for a fatal loading incident in Melbourne, Victoria in 2017.

The incident involved a contracted delivery truck driver James Watt, 39, who had driven an 86ft Grove MZ 86J telescopic boom lift through the gate of United’s facility in order to load it on his truck. As he did so the platform extended into the road and was struck by a passing motorist, catapulting Watt from the basket. He died a month later from his injuries. See original incident report

The company was found guilty of failing to provide a safe working environment and failing to ensure that non-employees were not exposed to risks.

Victoria County Court judge, Scott Johns, said that another truck had provided a ‘distraction’ for the driver and it was understandable how she failed to notice the elevated basket. He added: “The risk of a crash between a platform and a motorist was an obvious one. It was a present and identifiable risk and inexpensive measures such as bollards, a spotter to watch the roadway and a sign could have been used to make people aware of the potential issues.”

United Access owner and managing director John Wilson stated that he sincerely regretted what had happened and that the company had immediately taken action to address the issues involved in the incident. This included a full review of safety systems generally, and the implementation of new procedures and reporting measures. He also confirmed that the company had not been the subject of any notice or orders prior to the tragic incident.

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