Sutherland Shire skip bin hire company and its director have been fined a total
of $83,000 and ordered to pay WorkCover NSW's legal costs after a truck driver
and bin lift operator was crushed and almost killed in 2007.
Investments, trading as Blue Heeler Bins, carries out skip bin delivery and
retrieval as well as sorting and disposal of waste and recyclables at council
and privately-owned facilities.
September 2007 at Yowie Bay, a 33-year-old truck driver and bin lift operator
was packing up the vehicle's stabiliser legs, which hold the truck in position,
after completing a skip bin change-over on a very steep driveway at a
hydraulic brakes on the vehicle gave way and the truck slid uncontrollably down
the hill crushing the worker against a fence.
worker sustained a laceration to his liver, deep cuts to the right shoulder and
scapula which also severed a right ulnar nerve, and he also sustained fractured
ribs, pulmonary contusions, and fractures around his right knee as well as
lacerations and abrasions to the face, arms, abdomen and legs.
injuries meant he could not work for approximately eight months after the
WorkCover investigation found the employee was working in unsafe conditions and
that an incident was foreseeable and preventable.
one chock, instead of two, had been used to help the hydraulics keep the truck
stationary on the steep incline, while the in-cabin controls for lifting the
skip loader were not operational and the driver was required to exit the
vehicle and use the external controls.
they been working he would not have had to exit the cabin, and the company and
its director knew the in-cabin hydraulic controls were not operational, and the
driver, although experienced, had not been adequately trained.
no formal site inspection or risk assessment had been carried out.
Investments, and its director Scott Edwards were charged with breaches of the Occupational Health & Safety Act 2000,
and the company was fined $80,000 and Edwards $3000.
general manager of WorkCover NSW's work health and safety division, John
Watson, said the risks to the employee's safety were entirely foreseeable.
proper maintenance of equipment and awareness of serious risks and their
appropriate controls, employees will always be at risk regardless of their
amount of experience," Watson said.
steps that should have been taken were not only simple, but they were
well-known safety practices in the industry.