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Company convicted after pedestrian hit by skip truck

A Glenroy rubbish removal company has been prosecuted after an 87 year-old suffered debilitating injuries when she was hit by a skip truck.

Melbourne Bin Hire Pty Ltd which trades as Melbourne’s Cheapest Bin Hire, was convicted and fined $20,000 in the Broadmeadows Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

The company pleaded guilty to one charge under section 23(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 for failing to ensure that members of the public are not exposed to health or safety risks.

The March 2009 incident occurred while a skip truck was being used to remove debris from an Essendon North demolition site.

The truck, which had been reversed into the site, was being driven out when it struck a pedestrian walking across the driveway.

The woman was dragged under one of the truck’s front tyres and pulled onto the road. Her right arm was de-gloved from the upper arm to the fingers, and she suffered a heart attack on the way to hospital.

WorkSafe Victoria’s investigation found that the company failed to carry out a hazard identification and risk assessment on skip trucks entering and exiting the site.

This process should have identified that when exiting the driveway, the view of one side of the footpath was obstructed by bushes and a sign, said Executive Director for Health and Safety,  Ian Forsyth.

“If you’re driving a vehicle as big as a skip truck down a driveway, and you can’t see whether someone’s about to walk past, then you’re clearly putting people in danger.

“It’s an obvious risk, and there were obvious solutions which the company could have taken to protect pedestrians.

“We’re talking about straightforward steps like using another staff member as a spotter, putting a mirror on the fence line so drivers could see the footpath, or ordering drivers to drive slowly and sound their horn when exiting the property.

“The company didn’t assess the risks and they didn’t take any preventative steps – as a result, an elderly person has suffered a traumatic injury,” he said.

Mr Forsyth said that the relevant Australian Standard* for demolition work required an investigation of the site, including a traffic management plan, to be completed before demolition work commenced.

One of the purposes of this is to protect people walking or driving past any demolition work from plant, including trucks entering and leaving the site.

Image: Business Sales QLD

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