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Vehicle safety

Last update February 2022

This chapter explains your health and safety obligations to workers who drive in the course of their work and how to manage vehicle safety in your business.

What are your vehicle safety obligations?

You have a duty under health and safety legislation to ensure the safety of your workers while they are working for your business, including when they are:

  • required to drive or travel in a vehicle for work, e.g. truck drivers; and
  • exposed to vehicles in your workplace, e.g. a worker who walks through a loading dock with traffic.
Caution: Vehicles pose one of the greatest threats to people in the workplace, resulting in a significant number of deaths and injuries each year.

Case Law: SafeWork NSW v CRS NSW Pty Ltd (2017)

In SafeWork NSW v CRS NSW Pty Ltd (2017), CRS NSW was found guilty under the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act following a worker being engulfed by a fireball created by ruptured pipelines in a company vehicle.

The director of CRS NSW had tried to remove the emulsified substance on the side of a company vehicle by heating the vehicle with an open-flame LPG torch, which also had ruptured pipelines with traces of kerosene in them. As a result of this, the LPG flame ignited the kerosene, creating a fireball that engulfed a worker on the property next door.

The Court found this remodification went directly against the manufacturer’s recommendations, and neither the director nor CRS NSW performed a risk assessment before deciding to use kerosene in the vehicle. The fireball incident was declared a breach of both the director and the company’s duty of care. It was also a breach of duty for safely operating plant under section 26 of the WHS Act.

CRS NSW was fined $160,000 and the director was fined $40,000.