Bus driver convicted after depot crush

A bus driver has been placed on a 12 month order and had his licence suspended after a fellow worker was struck and seriously injured at a Leongatha depot.


Brian Irby, 69, was sentenced in the Latrobe Valley Magistrates' Court on Wednesday after pleading guilty to a single charge of failing, as an employee, to take reasonable care for the health and safety of persons at a workplace.

He was convicted, placed on a 12 month Community Corrections Order with conditions to complete 75 hours of unpaid community work, and had his driver's licence suspended for six months.

Irby was also ordered to pay $1,000 in costs.

In May 2022, Irby returned to the depot after completing his morning run but was unable to refuel his bus as intended because a tanker was delivering fuel to the workplace.

After driving his bus out of the depot, Irby proceeded to drive it back through the entry gate, passing in between the fuel tanker and another worker, who was standing less than 40cm away next to a parked mini bus.

As he made the right hand turn, the back of the bus swung to the left and struck the worker, who was crushed between the two buses and dragged for several metres.

The worker suffered significant injuries including 20 broken ribs, pelvic and neck fractures, a broken collar bone, punctured lung and split spleen. She was placed in an induced coma for three days and spent two weeks in hospital before commencing rehabilitation.

The court heard it was reasonably practicable for Irby to have ensured the area was clear of pedestrians before driving his bus through the entry gate to the workplace.

WorkSafe Executive Director Health and Safety Narelle Beer said every worker had a duty to ensure the health and safety of others in their workplace was not put at risk by their actions.

"The traumatic and life changing injuries suffered as a result of this incident were completely preventable," Dr Beer said.

"The offender was experienced with the type of vehicle he was driving and was aware that pedestrians were nearby, so there is no excuse for failing to take reasonable care."

WRL Management Pty Ltd, the operator of the depot, is also facing charges over the incident.