$380,000 enforceable undertaking for fatal telehandler incident

A PCBU operating as part of a mixed farming and contracting business in NSW recently entered into a $380,000 enforceable undertaking over an incident in which a worker was fatally injured by a telehandler.

The incident occurred at a chicken broiler farm in Goolgowi NSW, which required straw to be chopped and baled at a farm shed. The hay bales were then moved with the assistance of a telehandler.

While employees had been instructed that an exclusion zone existed around the area in which the telehandler was operating, no physical barriers were in place.

The incident, which occurred on 13 October 2020, involved a worker who was crossing a worksite and walked through the exclusion zone while the telehandler was reversing.

The telehandler subsequently ran over the worker, who suffered serious blunt force and crush injuries that ultimately proved fatal.

The PCBU, Alistair Macdonald, contravened section 19(1) and 32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, and agreed to undertake a number of activities as part of the EU:

  • the development and implementation of safe systems of work and training for volunteers and truck drivers undertaking rural charitable hay runs;
  • the development, manufacture and implementation of an engineering load restraint control on truck trailers, obviating the need for workers to work in and around a trailer when loading, securing, and unloading hay bales;
  • a targeted workplace safety audit focussed on the risks associated with people interacting with mobile plant, including the implementation of corrective actions identified in the audit;
  • the creation of an annual grant (for a period of three years) for students of a regional TAFE, considered to have demonstrated the highest attitude towards safety in the workplace.