RACV fined $475,000 after father killed during 96-hour roadside assist shift

John Halls had seven hours left of a 96-hour shift left and had just driven two people home safely after their car broke down when he crashed into a tree at 100km/h.

He was used to working four straight days as an RACV roadside assistance driver but the fatigue from his dangerous shift patterns often left him too tired to sleep.

Halls, a father and grandfather, had been prescribed sleeping pills to help him cope with winding down after work.

But it’s agreed his death in March 2018 could have been avoided if processes were in place to provide training on fatigue or require maximum shift lengths and minimum breaks.

Halls’ employer, YJ Autos in Yarra Junction, had a contract with RACV to provide roadside assistance but in a pre-sentence hearing a judge has been told there were no guidelines on how that work should be done.

The only key performance indicator for their job was that they respond to 90 per cent of calls within an hour of the first call being made for assistance.

Halls and another assistance driver had been allowed to set their own work hours and shift patterns and decided four days on, four days off worked best for them.

In a regular four-day shift they’d receive on average 40 callouts at any time of day or night, and they became used to sleeping with multiple phones and a roadside assistance alert system beside them.

Brooke Hampton had taken over YJ Autos in December 2017 from her grandfather and officially started running the business in February 2018.

On Monday she pleaded guilty in the Victorian County Court to two breaches of workplace health and safety legislation on behalf of the company, which has since been deregistered.

She had inherited the status quo and the result was borne not of her indifference to employee safety, but of negligence, Judge Marcus Dempsey said.

“I accept that the workers came up with that schedule themselves but they should never have been allowed to,” he said.

As Halls left for his last call on March 9, he ruffled his wife Glenys’ hair and told her he’d be back soon.

He drove two people home after a breakdown and was on his own way home when, about 1.10am on March 10, his work ute veered off the road and into a tree in Healesville.

Glenys Halls, who had been unable to get him on the phone, came across the crash scene when out looking for her husband.

Their daughter Lisa, a police officer, recalled delivering many dreaded messages to families after accidents but never dreamed she’d receive one.

The only consolation the family finds in Halls’ death is that he died serving his community and that was what he loved.

RACV was convicted and fined $475,000 for failing to ensure contractors were managing fatigue risks.

YJ Autos will be sentenced at a later date.

Source: 7News

Leave a Comment

Warning: Undefined array key "sfsi_riaIcon_order" in /home/monitlive/public_html/wp-content/plugins/ultimate-social-media-icons/libs/controllers/sfsi_frontpopUp.php on line 165

Warning: Undefined array key "sfsi_inhaIcon_order" in /home/monitlive/public_html/wp-content/plugins/ultimate-social-media-icons/libs/controllers/sfsi_frontpopUp.php on line 166

Warning: Undefined array key "sfsi_mastodonIcon_order" in /home/monitlive/public_html/wp-content/plugins/ultimate-social-media-icons/libs/controllers/sfsi_frontpopUp.php on line 177

Warning: Undefined array key "sfsi_mastodon_display" in /home/monitlive/public_html/wp-content/plugins/ultimate-social-media-icons/libs/controllers/sfsi_frontpopUp.php on line 276

Warning: Undefined array key "sfsi_snapchat_display" in /home/monitlive/public_html/wp-content/plugins/ultimate-social-media-icons/libs/controllers/sfsi_frontpopUp.php on line 285

Warning: Undefined array key "sfsi_reddit_display" in /home/monitlive/public_html/wp-content/plugins/ultimate-social-media-icons/libs/controllers/sfsi_frontpopUp.php on line 282

Warning: Undefined array key "sfsi_fbmessenger_display" in /home/monitlive/public_html/wp-content/plugins/ultimate-social-media-icons/libs/controllers/sfsi_frontpopUp.php on line 279

Warning: Undefined array key "sfsi_tiktok_display" in /home/monitlive/public_html/wp-content/plugins/ultimate-social-media-icons/libs/controllers/sfsi_frontpopUp.php on line 273

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)