On 20 August 2021, a truck driver was sentenced in the Cairns Magistrates Court for breaching section 32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (‘the Act’), having failed to comply with his duty as a worker to take reasonable care that his acts or omissions do not adversely affect the health and safety of other persons under section 28(b) of the Act. Magistrate McLennan imposed a $3,000 fine and did not record a conviction.
On 21 January 2020, at a plumbing and bathroom supplies store in Smithfield, a customer was crushed between his utility vehicle and the exterior wall of the supplies store building. The customer was standing on a marked pedestrian walkway between the front of his parked utility vehicle and the building. There was no signage in the vicinity indicating whether this was a parking or no parking zone.
The defendant arrived at the premises in a truck to make a delivery. While reversing the truck he collided with the trailer that was attached to the parked utility’s vehicle. The impact pushed the utility vehicle forward, crushing the customer between his vehicle and the wall and causing abdominal injuries.
In sentencing, Magistrate McLennan noted the defendant’s timely guilty plea. Her Honour also noted that at all material times the defendant was a worker, he was at a workplace and that he ought to have taken reasonable care. By reversing his truck without making sure the path was clear, the defendant had failed to comply with his duty. Her Honour remarked that the risks were obvious and the consequences catastrophic.
The learned Magistrate observed that a substantial penalty was required to account for general deterrence, community denunciation, the maximum penalty for the offence, the nature of the offence, blameworthiness and the injury caused. In mitigation, her Honour noted that the defendant was a 69-year-old man with no criminal history, and that he no longer drives trucks.
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Sections 32 and 28(b) of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011