A Victorian business has been fined $85,000 over the death of a worker who was hit and thrown from a lift he was moving. Melbourne-based United Access Pty Ltd was hit with the fine on Wednesday after it was found guilty of failing to provide a safe working environment and failing to ensure non-employees weren’t exposed to risks.
Driver James Watt was moving a 26-metre mobile elevating work platform outside the company’s site on Malcolm Road at Braeside in August 2017. Mr Watt, who was not employed by United Access, drove the platform onto the roadway outside the property with the main portion of it on the driveway.
The bucket, with Mr Watt inside, was suspended over the road when a female driver hit it and the 39-year-old was thrown out and left with serious injuries. He died a month later in hospital.
Another truck provided a “distraction” for the driver and it was understandable how she failed to notice the elevated bucket, Victorian County Court Judge Scott Johns said on Wednesday. The risk of a crash between a platform and a motorist was “an obvious one”, the judge said.
It was a “present and identifiable risk” and inexpensive measures such as bollards, a spotter to watch the roadway and a sign could have been used to make people aware of the potential issues, he said.
Business owner John Wilson sincerely regretted what happened and the company immediately took action to address the issues. It reviewed safety systems generally, implemented new procedures and reporting measures and had never been the subject of a notice or another order prior to Mr Watt’s death.
The company has three months to pay the $85,000 fine.