Safety controls are important.  The physical and administrative controls that are put in place to mitigate hazards are vital at keeping workers safe.  This includes Hi-Vis Vests.  An $800,000 fine has been handed to a business following the death of a worker where it was found that the business had provided vests and had instructed staff to use them, but failed to enforce its own policies.

In this particular case the worker, a truck driver, was struck and killed during a trailer changeover, which was conducted in a poorly lit area.  The worker was not wearing his provided High Vis Vest when he was struck by his work colleague, who could not see him in the dim light.

In handing down the penalty the Judge noted that while the business policies required line haul drivers to be provided with and wear approved high-visibility vests, some workers were not provided with these vests and others complied with the rule “to varying degrees”, finding that the business identified the risk to workers, identified the controls and then failed to ensure that the workers were actually following them.

Learnings for all businesses

“This tragic case is a reminder to all businesses that it is simply not good enough to do the risk assessment and issue the policy or PPE.  Workers must be trained in the risks and hazards associated with their roles, and must understand the controls that are there to mitigate those risks.  Furthermore the business must implement systems and reviews to ensure that staff are actually utilising the controls.  Anything less is inadequate”, explains ACAPMAs Elisha Radwanowski.

“We understand that putting on a vest every time you jump out of a truck cab, or walk onto the forecourt is annoying and easy to forget.  Just like we understand that as an employer it is sometimes easier to turn a blind eye to these small infractions rather than discuss them with staff in a formal setting.  After all, nothing went wrong THIS TIME did it.  But the big message to employers is you simply cannot allow controls that have been implemented to be ignored.  Failure to ensure your own controls are used can lead to serious outcomes for workers or the public and serious fines for the business”, concludes Elisha.

For more on safe operations in a fuel transport and fuel retail context reach out to ACAPMA, or to explore the ACAPMA Fuel Convenience Compliance (FCC) course that includes a detailed focus on communicating best practice safety requriements to frontline workers, onsite managers and senior leaders in the fuel and convenience industry see; https://acapma.com.au/our-services/training/fuel-convenience-retail-training-solutions/

Help and more information

Safety Highlights are things to consider, implement and watch out for in your business. They are provided as general advice and you should seek further advice on your situation by emailing employment@acapma.com.au  its free for members. ACAPMA membership is affordable at only $860 per year for a single site and valuable with sites gaining HR and IR advice support and representation as well as a raft of other benefits and discounts see; https://acapma.com.au/membership/ for more information.

Elisha Radwanowski BCom(HRM & IR)
ACAPMA

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