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Transpacific fined over fatal Perth crash

Media release

 - 22 May 2015

Waste management company Transpacific Industries Pty Ltd has been fined $363 000 for breaching federal work health and safety laws over a fatal accident in Perth.

Justice Michael Barker handed down the penalty in the Federal Court of Australia in Perth today, following proceedings brought by federal work health and safety regulator Comcare.

The penalty is the largest against an employer as a result of a single court proceeding by Comcare. It is also the first time multiple breaches of Commonwealth work health and safety laws have been found against an employer in regard to an ongoing risk to health and safety.

Justice Barker found that Transpacific breached the federal Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991 four times by failing to carry out adequate brake maintenance on a garbage truck that collided with a car in Perth's Swan Valley on 28 February 2011.

The breaches related to failure to control the risks to protect the health and safety of Transpacific's employees and other road users.

The Transpacific truck collided with a van that had stopped to turn right off West Swan Road in Caversham. The truck then drifted into the oncoming traffic where it hit a car, killing the 71-year-old female driver. The driver of the van suffered neck injuries.

The truck driver had applied the brakes but the vehicle's front brakes failed to operate properly, resulting in the collision.

Investigations identified systematic failures in Transpacific's vehicle maintenance practices in relation to the truck, with Comcare taking enforcement action to rectify the situation.

Comcare's Chief Executive Officer, Jennifer Taylor said the case highlighted the need for employers to provide robust safety systems, particularly for heavy vehicles.

"This case showed ongoing, systematic failures in safety practices," Ms Taylor said.

"It's also a reminder that in such cases, Comcare will not just consider the final result. We will examine every opportunity a company has had to fix these issues, and we will take appropriate enforcement action."

Media Manager, Comcare
0478 305 675

Page last updated: 22 May 2015