Hardware company convicted over truck driver death

A timber and building materials business has been fined $75,000 for an incident that led to the death of a truck driver in 2017.

A SafeWork NSW investigation into the 2017 death of a truck driver found that Campbelltown Hardware had taken inadequate steps to identify the risk and respond to it in a documented and systematic way; while Muhammad Jawad Khalid, a director with day-to-day responsibility for running the business, did not ensure safe work procedures were put into action.

MLA Logistics Pty Ltd truck driver Brian Piper was killed in December 5, 2017 when he was struck by a pack of timber that fell off the tray of his truck while a Campbelltown forklift operator unloaded the truck at Campbelltown’s premises.

Piper sustained large lacerations to his right scalp (approximately 27cm in length) and to his right lower leg, fractures to his ribs and upper right leg, collapsed lungs and extensive pelvic injuries. He was attended to at the site by NSW Ambulance officers, however he died from cardiac arrest caused by his extensive head injuries.

He was delivering timber supplied by Wesbeam to Campbelltown’s premises.

Piper’s truck was loaded by a forklift operator at Wesbeam. His truck was overloaded, overweight and stacked unusually with larger packs of timber stacked on top of smaller ones, and multiple packs sitting at an angle. The packs of timber were loaded by a forklift operator at Wesbeam. Each pack of timber weighed between 200 and 800 kgs. Piper strapped the load prior to proceeding to Campbelltown’s premises for delivery.

When Piper arrived at Campbelltown, an employee was in the process of loading another truck using the forklift.

Piper unstrapped the load from the driver’s side of the truck and then walked over to the passenger side to pull the straps back. Once the straps were removed, the Campbelltown employee proceeded to remove one of the top packs of timber.

Soon after, two packs of timber fell from the top of the truck and Piper was struck.

The court heard:

  • At the time of the incident, Piper was not in an exclusion zone, nor was he directed to occupy any specific area within the site while his truck was being unloaded.
  • There was only onespotter present at the site at the time of the incident, who was assisting another forklift operator.
  • There was no formal documented system, process or procedure in place for providing forklift drivers with a direct line of sight to the driversof trucks unloading at the premises.
  • There was an informal process for inducting Campbelltown’s own workers but not for visitors to the premises. Piper was not provided with an induction when he arrived at the premises.
  • Khalid was aware of the nature of the hazards associated with loads falling from trucks,the risks arising and measures available to eliminate or minimise exposure to the risk.
  • Khalid did not ensure Campbelltown had available to it and utilised sufficient resources to ensure that each forklift operator had available to theman allocated spotter to assist with
  • There was no documented process or written safe work procedure for the unloading of trucks at the premises.
  • Khalid did not ensure Campbelltown developed, implemented and maintained a documented safe work procedure for the loading and unloading of materials from trucks and its premises.

Immediately following the incident in 2017, SafeWork NSW issued a number of Improvement Notices to Campbelltown.

Both Campbelltown Hardware and Muhammad Jawad Khalid were convicted, with the company fined $75,000.

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