Concrete company fined $450k for tanker driver death

Boral subsidiary Concrite has pleaded guilty and accepted responsibility for a 2017 incident that led to the death of a fuel tanker driver.

On September 20, 2017, tanker driver Peter Lees, who was employed by Caltex Australia Petroleum, was fatally struck by a concrete mixer at Concrite’s Alexandria, NSW site.

An experienced tanker driver, he had attended the site to deliver diesel fuel approximately 56 times in the course of his employment.

The NSW District Court heard that Lees had arrived at the site to fill the fuel station with diesel.

Two concrete mixing trucks entered the site and were required to manoeuvre past each other.

Lees inadvertently walked into the path of one of the trucks and was hit.

The driver was unaware he had hit Lees, who was dragged approximately 20 metres.

Lees sustained serious injuries and passed away two days later in hospital.

While Boral oversees Concrite’s governance framework, day-to -day operations of the site are managed by Concrite.

The concrete production and supplies company was charged with and pleaded guilty to exposing workers to a risk of death or serious injury.

Concrite applied the Boral Group WHS policies and procedures developed by Boral which were relevant to their operations, including traffic management. However, it did not have an adequate system for managing the risk of pedestrian and vehicle interaction or a means of protecting pedestrians from vehicle collisions.

Following the incident, SafeWork NSW issued an Improvement Notice to Concrite requiring them to review and revise control measures for traffic management where necessary.

A new system was implemented where diesel deliveries by large tankers were ceased and concrete mixer drivers were issued with fuel cards to refuel their vehicles off site.

Post-incident traffic management plans were also developed for several different vehicle types including deliveries and visitors; concrete mixer trucks and various tippers.

Each of the new traffic management plans contained provision for new colour-coded yellow and green pedestrian walkways.

The initial fine for the offence was $600,000.00 but reduced to $450,000 following a guilty plea. Concrite has also been ordered to pay prosecution costs of $43,000.

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