After hours fatalities from fatigue

Public news

Recent prosecutions of an agricultural machinery contractor, Olive Construction site and Oceana Gold (managing an underground mining site) each resulted in significant penalties, cumulatively $1.5 million in safety fines and “reparations”.

Reasons for prosecutions included an employee working excessive hours at an average of 16.75 hours per shift, cumulatively 197 hours in two weeks, after which, he crashed his tractor on the way home resulting in his death.

The second incident involved the collapsing of walls. The principal contractor was prosecuted for failing to supervise contractors and preventing access to the site where it knew, from a geographical report, the site would be unsafe due to rain. The situation was ignored which resulted in life threatening situations.

The third involved a fatality where the worker was using earthmoving equipment to create a protective wall but fell 15 metres off the vertical edge. The finding was the company failed to manage known inherent risks and that the worker tried to make the environment safe for others.

How is this relevant to remote or mobile work in the motor trade?

Use of farm machinery, heavy vehicle and large mechanical jobs, harvesting and major call out works can result in long hours of repairs.

Working environments on farms and roadsides and in unfamiliar terrain pose work environment risks where small medium and large business have the task of trying to provide adequate instruction, supervision and reasonably safe systems in such environments.

Sending employees out on mobile work without adequate experience or instruction, and therefore supervision creates serious risks.

Click here to access the Fatigue Management Policy.

Contact the Workplace Relations team by clicking here if you require more information or any other resources.

Other resources such as the contractor induction checklist and workplace inspection sheet may be suitable in helping to decide whether the work system is safe. To obtain a copy of these, click here.