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Prosecution Details

Defendant Susac Nominees Pty Ltd
Trading Name Wanneroo Earthmoving Contractors
Section 21(1)(b) and 21(2)
Offence Date Monday, 29 April 2002
Description of Breach(es)

Being an employer failed, so far as was practicable, to ensure that the safety or health of persons not being his employees was not adversely affected as a result of the work in which he or any of his employees was engaged; contrary to Sections 21(1)(b) and 21(2) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.

Background Details

The defendant operates a transport business from premises at Wanneroo. On 29 April 2002, an employee of the defendant was transporting a load of sawdust from Manjimup to Wanneroo. The employee was driving a commercial road train comprising a Volvo prime mover to which two trailers were attached. The truck, dolly and trailer were owned by the defendant. The trailer was connected using a Ringfeeder brand draw bar and towing eye.

Approximately 5 kilometres north of Dardanup on the Boyanup Picton Road the pin that connected to the towing eye worked loose and the trailer drifted out onto the opposite side of the road. The trailer was no longer under control and collided into an oncoming Hilux ute. The trailer overturned and the Hilux ute was found on its side with the driver trapped inside. Following the accident the ute's driver was hospitalised suffering several fractures and had to undergo several operations.

Susac Nominees Pty Ltd was responsible for the maintenance of its trucks and, trailers and attachments.

Signs of wear were found on the draw bar and towing eye. The signs of wear indicated that the wear had occurred over a period of time of at least several months. The extent of the wear would have been evident on inspection for at least some weeks prior to the final failure.

The accident occurred as a direct result of the wear in the thread retaining the towing eye in the draw bar. If the draw bar and towing eye had been properly maintained in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions, the draw bar would not have failed in the manner it did and the accident would not have occurred. It would have been practicable for the defendant to have properly maintained the draw bar and towing eye in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and/or carried out regular inspection of the drawing eye and tow bar which would have identified the dangerous state of the equipment.

The defendant at first pleaded not guilty but changed its plea to guilty before a trial date was set.

Outcome Summary Convicted
Conviction Date 09 Nov 2004
Court Perth Court of Petty Sessions
Fine $15,000
Costs $398.45
Charge Number 26573/04