In a case highlighting the role of all participants in the supply chain when it comes to safety, a vehicle mechanic business has been convicted of safety breaches and fined $210K after a sub standard inspection was found to contribute to the failure of petrol tanker safety equipment that resulted in the deaths of three people.  This horrific case is explored in this weeks Case Review

Case Review

The incident occurred when the petrol tankers tow-eye coupling, which connects the tanker trailer to prime mover, failed and the tanker trailer decoupled and struck two cars.  The incident resulted in the death of all three occupants of the two cars, including a four year old child.

The mechanic business that inspected and passed the coupling only days before, has been convicted of safety offences and fined $210,000.

The court heard that despite ‘passing’ the coupling at the inspection days before, the mechanic did not do an adequate visual inspection and did not test the coupling at all while detached.

It was found that had the mechanic undertaken the reasonably practical inspections and testing the couplings sub standard condition (due to wear and tear) would have been identified and able to be addressed, and the incident would not have happened.

Lessons to all businesses

“This tragic case is a reminder to all businesses, regardless of their operations, that their actions have consequences, and that everyone is responsible for safety.  Further it is a reminder to businesses who are utilising external consultants and providers, to ensure they too are operating to the highest standard and have appropriate insurances, skills and actually do the inspections and tests they purport to do” outlines ACAPMAs Elisha Radwanowski

“It is necessary to rely on external experts at times, but it is vital that each business do their due diligence when engaging with an external provider to ensure that there is a clear understanding of the need to comply fully with safety requirements, and the very real outcomes of failure in this regard.  Importantly, this due diligence and relationship of trust cannot be set and forget, businesses should continue to engage with and check on the external providers…and if something doesn’t feel right do a full review, get a second opinion or dive deeper.  When it comes to safety, lives are at risk and that should always be top of mind” concluded Elisha.

Here to Help

Safety Highlights are things to consider, implement and watch out for in your business. They are provided as general advice, Members are reminded that they can seek further advice on their situation by  emailing  its free for members. ACAPMA membership is affordable at only $810 per year for a single site and valuable with sites gaining HR advice support and representation as well as a raft of other benefits and discounts. Click  here to learn more about ACAPMA membership.

Elisha Radwanowski BCom (HRM & IR)