Court orders council to stage safety expo

A country council has been ordered by a Geelong magistrate to stage a health and safety expo for local farmers, contractors and businesses after a worker reversed a truck into power lines causing it to catch fire.
News article published

Thursday 24 Nov 2011

Magistrate Ann McGarvie said the OH&S Expo and other requirements, including development and distribution of pocket-size safety booklets for employees and contractors and safety articles for industry and local publications was a more productive outcome than issuing a fine.

She placed the Golden Plains Shire Council on a two-year adjourned undertaking requiring it continues to review, implement and supervise compliance with its safety processes regarding site induction, traffic management and working near powerlines.

WorkSafe Victoria prosecuted Golden Plains Shire Council, which pleaded guilty yesterday to failing to provide a safe system of work in relation to the incident which happened in October last year.

The court heard the Shire contracted a company to carry out road resealing works on Russells Bridge Road at Sutherlands Creek, north-west of Geelong, when a contractor reversed the tip truck into powerlines.

The truck’s driver escaped injury by jumping from the burning vehicle, which suffered significant damage.

An investigation found a spotter, whose role was to direct the contractor where to tip the gravel that was in the truck and keep a look-out for safety hazards, was on a rostered day off and not replaced.

It also found council failed to provide employees with appropriate information, instruction and supervision when working near powerlines.

WorkSafe’s General Manager of Operations, Lisa Sturzenegger, welcomed the order saying the OH&S Safety Expo would target local farms, rural contractors and rural businesses and cover safety responsibilities of those sectors and how to prevent farm incidents.

Details of the undertaking applying to the Golden Plains Shire Council, including timeframes, will be published on WorkSafe’s website.

For more information and guidance on working near power lines and with forklifts, please visit: