​Date accepted: 6 April 2016

Incident

On 17 April 2014, a customer of The Trustee for the Northline Unit Trust (Northline) was severely injured by falling freight during the unloading of a truck at the Gunbalanya service station.

Alleged breach

It was alleged that Northline failed to comply with health and safety duties under Section 32 of the 'Work Health Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act' (the Act).

Summary of work health and safety undertaking

An undertaking given by Northline in relation to the alleged contravention has been accepted by the regulator as an enforceable undertaking under Part 11 of the Act. Northline has committed to a range of activities to improve health and safety standards in their workplace and deliver health and safety initiatives to the heavy vehicle transport industry and the wider West Arnhem community. These activities include:

  • Engagement of an independent WHS consultant to conduct a major review and upgrade of safety management systems for the Darwin depot and surrounding remote delivery locations as a pilot case. This will be rolled out nationally following Northern Territory implementation.
  • Undertaking an external audit of Northline’s Darwin safety management system to verify compliance with AS/NZS4801.2001.
  • Introduction of new learning and development programs for staff.
  • Implementation of a formal external program to verify competency of forklift and heavy vehicle drivers.
  • Investigation and communication of best practice options for braking systems, external vehicle cameras and side under run protection to the industry to educate operators about advancements in heavy vehicle safety systems.
  • Development and delivery of a Remote Community Heavy Vehicle Awareness Campaign, designed to improve community awareness and safety understanding of heavy vehicles and loading zones used by operators.

The amount spent on work health and safety activities to date is $8,400.

The financial commitment of the activities proposed in the undertaking are:

  • workers or the workplace - $120,400 for NT activities, with additional costs for national implementation
  • industry - $25,780
  • the community - $15,000.

The financial commitments to the undertaking have a total minimum expenditure of over $160,000.

Reasons for regulator acceptance

The regulator accepted the WHS undertaking under section 216 of the Act and is satisfied that this undertaking offers significant and ongoing commitments to achieve improved work health and safety outcomes and compliance beyond what is required by the law. The regulator believes the WHS undertaking offers a similar deterrent to a successful legal proceeding and will result in a tangible improvement to safety in the workplace, the heavy vehicle industry and in the West Arnhem community.

NT WorkSafe has commenced monitoring the enforceable undertaking to ensure the activities are implemented and will continue to do so until the undertaking is completely discharged.