Safety alert published

Tuesday 17 Dec 2019

Industries and topics
  • Agriculture
  • Transport, logistics and warehousing
  • Plant hazards

Background

In August 2018 an employee was killed after being thrown from a 4-wheel drive vehicle on a property.

In November 2019 a contractor was thrown from his utility when it overturned several times after he lost control driving in steep terrain. He died from his injuries.

Safety issues

Vehicles pose a number of risks to drivers and passengers, especially if seatbelts are not used properly or the vehicle is not suitable for the terrain. If a vehicle overturns, people can be thrown from the vehicle and sustain injuries that are serious or even fatal.

Recommended ways to control risks

Employers and self-employed persons are required to control the risk associated with vehicles, including the risk of vehicles overturning and drivers or passengers being ejected.

Employers and self-employed persons should:

  • ensure all occupants wear a seatbelt to keep them secured in the seat and protect them from serious or fatal injuries
  • ensure all seatbelts are in good working condition
  • ensure seatbelts are put back on after getting back into a vehicle after stopping to open or close a gate
  • consider the nature of the task, environmental conditions and terrain before determining how the job will be done
  • not allow untrained or inexperienced people to operate the vehicle, particularly in unfamiliar or high-risk terrain or for unfamiliar tasks
  • when using 4-wheel drive vehicles off road, ensure the system of work includes engaging 4-wheel drive at all times

Legal duties

Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004, employers must, so far as is reasonably practicable, provide and maintain a working environment that is safe and without risks to the health of employees. This includes identifying risks to health or safety in relation to the use of vehicles and eliminating or reducing those risks, so far as is reasonably practicable. Employees include independent contractors.

Employers must, so far as is reasonably practicable, provide or maintain plant or systems of work that are safe and without risks to health.

Employers must provide employees with the necessary information, instruction, training or supervision to enable them to do their work in a way that is safe and without risks to health.

Employers must also ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that people other than employees are not exposed to risks to their health or safety arising from the employer's conduct.

Self-employed persons must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons are not exposed to risks to their health and safety arising from the conduct of the undertaking of the self-employed persons.