$450,000 fine for ‘avoidable’ excavator death


A transport company has been fined $450,000 following the “avoidable” death of a 30 year-old worker three years ago.

Nationwide Towing and Transport Pty Ltd was convicted and fined on two counts under the Occupational Health and Safety Act at the Melbourne County Court, following a 2007 incident at Narre Warren where a 20 tonne excavator slipped as it was unloaded from a trailer.

“This workplace fatality was entirely avoidable. The equipment provided by the company to do the job wasn’t appropriate, and the worker hadn’t been trained to identify the risks,” WorkSafe’s Acting Executive Director for Health and Safety Marlo Baragwanath said.

The court heard the worker was trying to drive a steel-tracked excavator off a steel-decked trailer when the excavator slipped and fell to the ground, killing the worker.

WorkSafe’s investigation found the trailer was too narrow to support the excavator, and the method of unloading was unsafe. The worker was required to drive the excavator from the trailer with its treads hanging over the sides of the trailer.

In addition, the investigation found the surface of the steel-decked trailer didn’t provide enough grip, increasing the risk of the excavator slipping when the trailer was tilted.

“This death is even more tragic because it echoes a similar situation which occurred less than two years earlier, where no-one was hurt,” Ms Baragwanath said.

“Despite the company changing its administrative processes following the first incident, to prevent this type of trailer being used to transport this type of excavator, their systems failed and a worker died.

“This was a tragic death which should have been prevented,” she said.

Judge Michael Bourke commented during the sentencing that the trailer used was inappropriate for machinery of this type and size.

Related news & editorials

  1. 16.08.2021
    by      In
    Made a program change you wish you hadn't? Lose the only copy of the device program? Not sure if the program running is the right one?
    Control Logic’s ‘Vault’, powered by MDT AutoSave Change Management software, is a plug-and-play system to help reduce errors and downtime, increase productivity,... Read More
  2. tank
    by      In , In
    A collaborative partnership between Lockheed Martin, Australian manufacturer Omni Tanker and the University of New South Wales (UNSW) will look to develop and commercialise world-first composite tank technologies, thanks to a grant from the Federal Government’s Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre... Read More
  3. 3D printer
    by      In , In
    Obsolescence is an unavoidable part of any manufacturing environment. However, it’s concerning that nearly 70% of companies admit they do not know when vital equipment requires replacing, or when they do, they scramble to find replacements. Here, Claudia Jarrett, country manager at automation parts... Read More
  4. circuit breaker
    by      In , In
    Distributor Control Logic has announced the availability of the PULS PISA-B electronic protection module.
    The all-new PISA-B generation is one of the most compact protection module solutions on the market, with eight completely separated, individually adjustable channels to ensure reliable... Read More