Comcare recently announced legal proceedings against the waste management company responsible for a crash in Adelaide in 2014 which killed 2 people.
The company is now facing a fine of up to $12 million as the subject of a complaint and summons lodged in the Magistrates Court of South Australia.
Comcare claims the company breached the Commonwealth Work Health and Safety Act 8 times in relation to the fatal incident.
The accident happened on 18 August 2014, involving a loaded tanker which collided into 3 cars at the Cross Road intersection on Adelaide’s South Eastern Freeway. The tanker had lost control during a steep descent.
The Federal work health and safety regulator accused the waste management company of failing to provide adequate training and supervision to the truck’s driver, who was inexperienced.
The company did not provide adequate instruction to the driver on how to safely negotiate the steep descent on the freeway from the Adelaide Hills, using arrester beds and how to drive a heavy vehicle with a manual gearbox.
The regulator also alleges the company failed to provide a safe system of work to ensure driver competency.
Two people were killed in the crash, with 2 more left injured including the driver of the tanker.
According to reports the truck was travelling at close to 150km.h at the point of impact.
Following the crash, the state government lowered the speed limit on the descent and promised greater enforcement in the area.
The incident led to the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) calling for operators to be held more accountable. The union stated,
“Despite having to ground its entire fleet because of defects following the crash, the company faces fines while Mr Hicks faces possible jail,”
TWU South Australia and Northern Territory branch secretary Ray Wyatt said the driver should not be the one to pay for the crash. The cost cutting from major retailers, manufacturers and governments are to blame for trucks not being maintained and drivers being inadequately trained.
“The driver, as has happened in many cases before, is carrying the entire burden for an industry in crisis,” Wyatt says.
“The company will pay fines but this young driver’s life is ruined – all because of a company which chose not to prioritise safety.”
Wyatt explained that the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) closure had left the industry less safe.
“This system was holding wealthy clients to account for the low cost contracts they give to transport operators to deliver their goods and collect their waste,”