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January 2020

Three businesses fail to control risks to members of the public

Three businesses fail to control risks to members of the public

WorkSafe Victoria v Hungry Jacks Pty Ltd; Veolia Environmental Services (Australia) Pty Ltd; Visy Paper Pty Ltd (2018)

Facts

Veolia Environmental Services (Australia) Pty Ltd (Veolia) and Visy Paper Pty Ltd (Visy) provided waste management services at a Hungry Jacks Pty Ltd (Hungry Jacks) outlet.

One morning, two Hungry Jacks employees moved the recycling bin to the end of the Hungry Jacks loading bay, where it met the driveway, to be ready for collection.

During the collection of the bin, the driver performed all possible checks, raised the bin and emptied its contents into the truck.

The driver then again performed all possible checks and proceeded to lower the bin to the ground. He did not see any obstructions or pedestrians, however his view was obstructed by the truck.

During the bin’s descent, two pedestrians walked underneath it and were crushed. One pedestrian suffered fatal injuries, while the other was treated in hospital.

Judgment

The Court found that it was reasonably practicable to control the risk by:

  • moving the collection point for the bin further away from the intersection between the loading bay and the driveway; and
  • limiting the collection time to outside of the restaurant’s opening hours.

Hungry Jacks, Veolia and Visy were all found guilty, and each was ordered to pay a $275,000 fine.

Lessons

You should carefully consider all risks that could occur during daily operations and procedure. In this case, the incident occurred because of a failure by the companies to identify and manage the risk of a driver’s view being obstructed. As such, ensure all risks are identified and workers are appropriately trained to manage machinery and vehicles that can pose a serious danger to individuals.

You should also account for the possibility of unexpected disruptions, such as from pedestrians or the general public, and how these interferences may affect safety.

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