Spotlight fined $150,000 for OHS breaches

By Portner Press on August 13th, 2019
  1. Risk Management
  2. Workplace Safety

Retailer Spotlight has been fined $150,000, plus $4,217 costs, following an accident at its Melbourne distribution centre where a truck driver was run over twice by a shipping container transporter.

The driver suffered injuries to his left leg including a dislocated knee, skin and flesh removal from his thigh, a broken ankle and a crushed foot leading to the amputation of his fourth toe.

The accident happened when he was walking in a designated pedestrian area while the container on his truck was being unloaded. The relevant loading and unloading zones were not marked and the paint outlining the pedestrian path had worn.

The mobile straddle carrier struck the worker and knocked him down, running over his leg.

When another worker saw that something had gone wrong, he alerted the straddle carrier operator who then reversed the vehicle, running over his leg again.

WorkSafe Victoria charged Spotlight for breaching section 26 of the state’s Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 for failing to maintain a safe workplace.

Spotlight pleaded guilty to the charge and was fined without conviction.

WorkSafe Victoria Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen said that allowing pedestrians and mobile plant to operate in a shared space without adequate control measures in place is unacceptable.

“This incident is a terrible example of what can happen when mobile machinery and pedestrian workers mix,” Ms Nielsen said.

“Unfortunately it is not an isolated example, and there have been many incidents involving machinery and pedestrians where workers have been seriously injured or even killed.

“All employers must ensure machinery and pedestrians are adequately separated and that systems and processes are in place to protect workers at all sites.”

Since the incident, the company has employed a security officer to direct vehicle drivers through the area and has marked out all loading and unloading, exclusion and driver safety zones.

Prevention is better than catastrophe

If you haven’t taken appropriate steps to manage traffic safety in your workplace, you must start now.

Get the information you need to do this in chapter T1 Traffic Management in the Health & Safety Handbook.

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