QMEB ยป Employer sentenced after truck operator fatally struck
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Employer sentenced after truck operator fatally struck

Truck spotter
Truck spotter

A heavy vehicle reversed into and killed a worker, resulting in severe penalties for the responsible company.

Authorities recently examined how a contracted truck driver became fatally struck by a front-end loader.

Investigators found the loader could have avoided reversing into the victim, if employer McLellan Freight had a “more effective” traffic management system in place when the incident occurred during February 2017.

The Bluff fatality resulted in McLellan being sentenced for failing to maintain a healthy and safe environment, causing “serious injury from vehicles”. The company was fined NZ$577,500 (A$537,898) and ordered to pay NZ$115,896 (A$107,949) in reparations on 16 November 2023.

Contractors Transport Services Southland and Herberts Transport also pleaded guilty to health and safety failures. They were separately sentenced back in October 2022.

“Clear separation of workers and moving vehicles is an absolute must in workplaces. Designated safe zones for people, alongside bollards or barriers to control the traffic flow are cost-effective ways to keep safe,” WorkSafe New Zealand acting national manager of investigations Catalijne Pille said in a public statement.

“Too much emphasis was placed on workers being vigilant as opposed to businesses managing risks by preventing dangerous situations for workers. More could and should have been done by way of traffic management to ensure a safe system of work.”

The following recommendations were made:

  • use reverse cameras
  • use proximity sensors
  • use blue light indicators
  • use stop lines or safety cones
  • have a dedicated spotter to guide drivers at all times.

Click here to read the full safety alert.

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