Origin Energy Services Limited (OESL) will need to spend $380,000 as part of an enforceable undertaking (EU) issued after the power retailer failed to respond to a heavy vehicle infringement offence.
The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) accepted the EU after OESL did not respond to multiple Notice to Produce letters requesting information on a driver that didn’t divert into a weighbridge.
On September 24, 2021, it is alleged that a heavy vehicle failed to divert into a weighbridge as directed at 12-Mile in NSW. OESL was the registered operator of this vehicle.
Between November 21, 2021 and January 26, 2022, NHVR says three Notices to Produce were issued to OESL requesting that it provide the name and home address of the driver of the heavy vehicle at the time of the alleged incident. It says that no information was received in relation to any of the Notices.
On March 17, 2022, Transport for New South Wales commenced a prosecution by laying one charge against OESL for failing to reply to the Notices. OESL offered to enter into an EU. The EU was considered and accepted by the NHVR after the NHVR took over the prosecution of OESL from Transport for New South Wales on August 1, 2022.
NHVR director of prosecutions Belinda Hughes explained that industry must respond to correspondence regarding infringeable offences and penalties issued by the NHVR and authorised officers under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL).
“Charges were laid after the operator, OESL, failed to respond to three written requests to give information about a person responsible for a non-compliant heavy vehicle.
“This EU sends a strong message to industry to comply with Notice to Produce letters. We encourage individuals and organisations to engage with the NHVR and have a discussion around how to respond, dispute a request or ask for more information.”
The EU requires OESL to develop a standard driver consequence management framework across all of Origin Energy’s business units to monitor and improve driver behaviour and safety, at an estimated cost of approximately $365,000; and OESL will sponsor the Australian Institute of Health and Safety to deliver heavy vehicle safety forums to health and safety professionals across Australia, at an estimated cost of approximately $15,000.
“The value of this EU far exceeds the maximum fine the company would have received if this matter proceeded to court – with this outcome, the money will be reinvested into safety measures,” added Hughes.
“The EU initiatives will deliver improved outcomes for an estimated 5000 staff employed by Origin Energy – OESL’s parent entity – as well as the wider transport industry.”
The safety initiatives must be completed within 12 months of the NHVR accepting the EU. Failure to comply with the EU can lead to prosecution.