A transport services company operating on Hamilton Island has been fined following a golf buggy crash where nine people, including three infants, were seriously injured.
The six-seater buggy, which had a luggage trailer attached, was travelling down a steep road to the island’s marina when the foot brakes and park brake failed, causing it to miss a turn and hit concrete guttering, tipping over and colliding with another stationary buggy.
All of the passengers and the employee driving the buggy sustained injuries such as bruising, lacerations and fractures. Two passengers, including an infant suffered bleeding on the brain.
Workplace Health and Safety Queensland’s investigation found that the trailer was overloaded and that the buggy’s brake linings were inoperable as they were so worn. The investigation also revealed that the company only conducted “ad hoc” maintenance on its vehicles.
Prosperine Magistrates Court Judge Simon Young noted that the company’s unsafe plant, maintenance and inspection regime created foreseeable risks to the worker and members of the public.
He said that the CCTV footage of the incident he saw was disturbing and the victim impact statements were distressing.
All of the injured have suffered ongoing psychological injuries.
The company, Valet Services Pty Ltd, pleaded guilty to breaching Queensland’s Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and was ordered to pay a $220,000 fine, as well as $2000 costs.