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Kenoss Contractors has been fined $1.1 million following the death of a truck driver.

The sentence was handed down in the ACT Magistrates Court last week, according to The Canberra Times and ABC media reports.

The truck driver was electrocuted on a Kenoss Contractors worksite in Canberra in 2012.

The company was found guilty of breaching the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (ACT) in the ACT Magistrates Court in June. During the same hearing, the charge against Kenoss project manager Munir al-Hasani (ie, that he was an officer of the corporation and failed to exercise due diligence to prevent the failings of the corporate defendant) was dismissed.

Despite the large fine imposed on the company, it won’t be paid because the company went into liquidation before the case was heard.

“On [the] one hand, this is disappointing [because] there’s a dead worker at the end of this tale, but on the other hand, this is a very strong warning to company leaders right around the country,” ACT Work Safety Commissioner Mark McCabe was quoted in The Canberra Times.

The sentence is yet to be published online.

For more details on the June verdict, visit the ACT Magistrates Court

Published on 27 August 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin enewsletter – available free every fortnight direct to your email.  Subscribe online today.

Thousands of heavy vehicle drivers were found in breach of speed and fatigue regulations during the latest Operation AUSTRANS.

Operation AUSTRANS is an annual safety blitz, which this year ran from 18 May to 13 June and inspected 75,000 heavy vehicles. Police in Australia and New Zealand collaborated with other agencies to target heavy vehicle road transport safety.

Among the offences uncovered were 1076 major defects, including not speed limiting, and 574 trucks were caught speeding. The number of speeding offences is down on the 936 recorded the year before.

Some 1100 work diary offences related to failure to take required rest were also found. This is less than the 1383 offences recorded last year.

Drug driving tests caught out 154 drivers, who returned positive results.

For more details, visit the offences

Published on 13 August 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin enewsletter

Transdev Australasia has turned safety training around in its Queensland bus operation and introduced a successful safety culture across its entire business to take home the pinnacle award in the 2014 NSCA/GIO Workers Compensation National Safety Awards of Excellence.

In 2008 Transdev Queensland (TDQ) faced an underperforming safety record of 19 WorkCover claims, 27 medical treatment injuries, 35 First Aid Injuries and 108 Lost Time Days. On top of this, the injuries and absences had led to low staff morale. 

“With safety promoted as Transdev’s number-one priority, we needed to ‘walk the talk’,” says managing director Colin Jennings. “TDQ was keen to position itself as an employer of choice, but its underperforming safety record was damaging its credibility.” 

At the time, as the company’s relatively new managing director, Jennings observed a lack of safety training for drivers. 

So a training audit was undertaken in conjunction with the business planning and budget process. 

“It was found that a brief five-day initial induction was provided to drivers, without follow-up,” Jennings says. 

Jennings responded by appointing two full-time in-house trainers and assessors to develop and deliver induction and annual refresher safety training and ongoing driver assessments. The trainers have extensive industry experience and a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment or greater, says Jennings. 

In addition, six driver mentors were appointed. The mentors support new drivers on the job after their induction. The mentors must have at least five years’ experience in the bus industry, relevant industry qualifications, demonstrated knowledge of company policies and procedures and an exemplary safety and performance appraisal record, according to Jennings. 

An external training consultant was also engaged to lead the development of a series of in-house training packages in line with the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF). 

“These programs were also linked with the Transport & Logistics (TLI) national package, strengthening pathways for our staff to [gain] nationally recognise[d] qualifications via recognition of prior learning,” adds Jennings. 

Other external training providers have been used to deliver additional compliance training, such as dealing with bullying and harassment and working in confined spaces. 

Overall, new drivers attend a 17-day New Start driver training program comprising classroom, on-road and safety training. Drivers also complete VigilVanguard driver assessments (video assessments of drivers in the field that were introduced in 2012), twice-yearly performance appraisals and annual driver update training. 

However, implementing this program has not been smooth sailing. For example, many of the staff were resistant to changing the status quo and participating in the new training and assessment. 

“One of the ways this was overcome was to make attendance itself one of the measures within performance appraisals,” says Jennings. 

So far, the training program has been a success. By 2013, WorkCover claims had dropped to three, medical treatment injuries to zero, First Aid Injuries to eight and Lost Time Days to 24. On top of this, staff engagement had risen from 43 per cent in 2010 to 71 per cent in 2013, says Jennings, pointing to the company’s employee opinion survey. And, since the introduction of the video assessments, at-fault accidents have halved from 94 in 2012 to 39 in 2013. 

In addition, Transdev Australasia implemented a new company-wide approach to safety to create a shared safety culture and to engage staff across an almost 24-houra-day business with 10 business units and multiple depots, stations and terminals around Australia and New Zealand. 

In 2012 the company reviewed its safety communications. “Internal research was conducted, which found that, in the past, safety communication had been inconsistent and impersonal, and that localised issues had been overlooked in favour of a ‘blanket’ approach,” says Transdev Australasia’s director of corporate affairs, Mark Paterson. 

In response, the 2013 ‘Safety Starts With Me’ campaign was developed. Transdev says it created a consistent campaign that could be adapted for local implementation. This included print and digital collateral, local events and a roadshow. The campaign marked the final year of Transdev’s five-year strategy (2009 to 2013) to improve its safety performance. 

The 2013 Staff Communications Survey recorded high levels of staff engagement with the ‘Safety Starts With Me’ campaign. 

“It returned the highest levels of recollection by staff over all communications programs and initiatives, with 88 per cent of participants identifying the 2013 campaign in the survey,” Paterson says. 

In addition, 2013 saw a 33 per cent reduction in the number of vehicle and vessel collisions across the business over the past year, he adds.

Download the story in PDF rsz_masthead-convertedTransdev Turns It Around (PDF, 262kB) 

Published in National Safety magazine,
November-December 2014.

 

A worker has been ordered not to make comments about another worker’s clothes or appearance in the first stop bullying order from the Fair Work Commission (FWC).

The FWC’s Senior Deputy President Drake made the order following a conference between the parties on 4 March.

Senior Deputy President Drake has also ordered the worker who was the subject of the application not to have contact with the applicant alone, not to send any emails or texts to the applicant except in emergencies, not to raise any work issues without notifying the chief operating officer (of the worker who was the subject of the application) or his subordinate, beforehand, and to exercise at the employer’s premises before 8.00 am.

The worker who lodged the application has been ordered not to arrive at work before 8.15 am.

“Parties have leave to approach to have the matter relisted for further conference should there be any difficulty with the implementation of the Orders,” Senior Deputy President Drake said.

For more details, visit the bullying orders.

Published on 27 March 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

Cootes Transport has until 20 March to improve the safety of its trucks or its licence to operate in New South Wales will be suspended or cancelled.

New South Wales Minister for Roads and Ports has ordered the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) to direct Cootes Transport to show cause why its dangerous goods fleet should remain on NSW roads.

“I have lost confidence in this company as an operator of dangerous goods movements on NSW roads,” New South Wales Minister for Roads and Ports Duncan Gay says.

Since last month Cootes Transport fleet of 400 trucks has been undergoing a re-inspection after more problems were detected with brakes, steering, suspension and leaks in routine checks, Gay says.

Of the 320 trucks checked so far only 179 have passed without a formal warning or a defect notice.

RMS inspectors are deregistering unroadworthy trucks, Gay adds.

RMS has laid more than 300 charges against Cootes Transport since the crash on Mona Vale Road in the Northern Beaches of Sydney last October.

This week police charged the driver of the truck involved in the Mona Vale Road incident.

For more details, visit the minister.

Published on 13 March 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.


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