RACV has been convicted of failing to ensure its contractors were effectively managing the workplace risk of fatigue and fined $475,000 following the death of a contractor in 2018. This weeks Safety Highlight will explore what this case means for all businesses that engage contractors or drivers.
In 2018 a member of the RACV roadside assistance team, who was an employee of a company that RACV contracted to deliver services, died after running of the road and hitting a tree in Healsville following a 17 hour work day and 89 straight hours “on call”.
In pleading guilty to the charges RACV admitted that it did not require the contractor to provide training to staff on fatigue or have any systems to manage fatigue.
In handing down the decision it was noted that it was reasonable to expect RACV to provide contractors with general information on the risk of fatigue and to suggest or require that contractors implement policies and procedures to minimise those risks.
“The dangers of fatigue are well known and, as we have tragically seen in this case, managing those risks can be the difference between someone going home at the end of the day or losing their life at work” noted WorkSafe Victoria Executive Director Narelle Beer.
The employing contractor business is still facing charges over the same incident with decisions expected in July 2022.
Learnings for all Businesses
Safety is everyones problem, everyones responsibility and can not be ‘opted out of’.
“Even when engaging contractors, arguably especially when engaging contractors, businesses must understand the risks associated with the work and implement controls to eliminate or mitigate those risks. This includes sharing information about those risks, and requiring settings and systems to control and mitigate those risks for all workers, including contractor workers. It doesn’t stop there, identifying risk, ensuring systems to manage those risks and then ensuring those systems are actually used and fit for purpose is vital in every business, and even more important in contractor arrangements” explains ACAPMAs Elisha Radwanowski.
Here to Help
Safety Highlights are things to consider, implement and watch out for in your business. They are provided as general information for you to consider and do not constitute advice. You should seek further advice on your situation by contacting your legal advisor. ACAPMA members can access resources and receive advice, guidance and support from the ACAPMA employment professionals via firstname.lastname@example.org , it is free for members. ACAPMA Membership delivers this and more benefits, see; https://acapma.com.au/membership/ for more information.
Elisha Radwanowski BCom(HRM&IR)