1 min read

Inadequate traffic management plan leads to fatality

The Case

DPP v City Circle Recycling Pty Ltd (2015)

City Circle Recycling Pty Ltd (City Circle) is a demolition, excavation and recycling business in Victoria. In December 2012, a City Circle worker was working as a load inspector in a tipping area when he was killed by a front-end loader that reversed over him.

The Verdict

In September 2014, the Melbourne Magistrates Court found the company guilty of safety breaches under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) and fined City Circle $225,000 plus court costs. The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) appealed the decision on the basis that the sentence was inadequate.

On appeal, the Victorian County Court increased City Circle’s fine to $425,000 for failing to take reasonable and practical measures to improve the safety systems in their workplaces. The fine was increased on the grounds that City Circle had failed, to a significant degree, to draft and rigorously enforce safety procedures in hazardous workplaces, e.g. by using exclusion zones and safety barriers in the tipping area.

Judge Dean stated that the sentence must be calculated to deter other employers from permitting workers to perform their duties using an unsafe system of work, and without proper training and instruction.

The Lesson

Take reasonably practicable measures to ensure that pedestrians are not at risk of being struck by mobile plant. Review your traffic management systems to ensure they include (where reasonably practicable):

  • defined walkways for pedestrians in areas where there is a safety risk;
  • barriers erected to separate pedestrians from dangerous work spaces;
  • written traffic management plans;
  • traffic management signs, e.g. stop signs; and
  • provision for proper training and supervision of workers.

Please note: Case law is reported as correct and current at time of publishing. Be aware that cases in lower courts may be appealed and decisions subsequently overturned.

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