2 min read

Bus driver pleads guilty to breaching his health and safety duties

A worker who acted recklessly, by crushing another worker while reversing his vehicle in an unsafe manner, has been sentenced to a community corrections order and unpaid community work in a prosecution that highlights the personal responsibility of all workers.

The incident occurred at one of the depots owned and operated by a transport company, W.R.L Management Pty Ltd, which provides school bus, taxi and private charter services.

W.R.L Management employed Brian Irby as a bus driver from 2018. On 17 May 2022, Mr Irby returned to the depot to refuel his bus but he was unable to as the fuel tanker was still delivering fuel. At the same time, a worker approached a mini bus in the depot area to speak to the driver through the right-hand side of the window.

As Mr Irby reversed back into the depot between the fuel tanker and the mini bus, he told the worker to “tuck that arse in”. Despite knowing that the gap was close, Mr Irby continued to reverse his vehicle and trapped the worker between the two vehicles. The worker was dragged for several metres, suffering significant injuries as a result. She was placed in an induced coma for 3 days and later sent to a rehabilitation hospital.

WorkSafe Victoria was notified of the incident by Victoria Police and issued two improvement notices.

Mr Irby was charged with breaching his duty as an employee to take reasonable care for the health and safety of other persons who may be affected by his acts or omissions at the workplace pursuant to section 25(1)(b) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic).

W.R.L Management is also facing charges over the incident.

During the sentencing of Mr Irby, the Court was of the view that this was a serious example of the offence and it had profoundly impacted the injured worker and her family. The fact that Mr Irby proceeded to drive the bus knowing the close proximity of the worker made the offence so serious.

Mr Irby pleaded guilty to the charge and was, without conviction, sentenced to be placed on a community corrections order for 12 months, with the additional condition that he undertake 75 hours of unpaid community work. Mr Irby’s licence was also suspended for 6 months and he was ordered to pay the prosecutor’s costs of $1,000.

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