VicRoads and roadwork’s firm Downer EDI have been convicted and fined a total of $1.55 million over the 2011 death of a traffic controller.
VicRoads pleaded guilty to one breach of the 2004 Occupational Health and Safety Act in that it failed to maintain a safe system of work and was fined $250,000.
Downer EDI was found guilty of three charges including failing to provide a safe system of work, failing to provide employees with information, instruction and training for them to perform their job safely and failing to ensure people other than their employees were not exposed to health and safety risks.
Downer EDI pleaded not guilty to all charges but a jury had found it guilty of each and the company has been fined $1.3 million.
The court had heard that on 30 November 2011, worker Harry Zagaretos was struck and killed by a street sweeper during late-night roadworks in Bayswater.
Zagaretos was employed by Statewide Traffic Control, which was subcontracted by Downer EDI. He died shortly after the street sweeper reversed over him as he was aligning bollards to separate traffic from resurfacing works on Canterbury Rd.
In documents tables to the court it found the risk of death or serious injury eventuating from a collision between the sweeper and workers was high, and that safety concerns raised by Zagaretos to the site supervisor in relation to the driving of the sweeper had not been addressed.
WorkSafe’s executive director of Health and Safety, Marnie Williams, said the penalties reflected the seriousness of the offence.
“Any work that involves the need for pedestrian employees to be around traffic is high risk, and safety needs to be considered above everything at all times,” Williams said.
“There is little doubt that had Mr Zagaretos’ concerns been listened to, and the risks at the site been addressed, this tragedy would not have happened.”
Image sourced from Flickr cc: John Azarcon