The ACT Industrial Court has found Kenoss Contractors Pty Ltd
(in liquidation) liable for safety breaches under the Work
Health and Safety Act 2011 (ACT) following the death of a
truck driver. Kenoss was fined $1.1 million.
Kenoss was contracted by the ACT Government to complete
resurfacing road works. Kenoss subcontracted David O'Meley
Truck Hire to deliver materials to the project site. Michael Booth
(the deceased driver), was a delivery truck driver for that entity.
Mr Booth made multiple deliveries to the site, including on at
least thirteen occasions in the fifteen days prior to the
Industrial Magistrate Walker considered evidence that, on the
day of the accident, when Mr Booth tipped the tilt tray of his
delivery truck, the tilt tray either came very close to, or
connected with, live wires above the storage compound. The power
lines formed an electric arc, leaving burn marks under the
truck's partially-deflated tyres. The lines were obscured by
foliage. Mr Booth was electrocuted and later died from related
The Industrial Magistrate considered the circumstances that gave
rise to a significant risk of serious injury or death and
identified a number of safety breaches that led to Mr Booth's
death, including that:
there were no safety signs or flags (tiger tails) to warn of
the live power lines;
access to the work site was poorly managed;
there were no locks on the smaller storage compound, which
appeared as if it was designed for dumping material;
the power lines had not been turned off during the work;
no spotter was used;
simply directing that the site not be used by large machines
was an inadequate step to manage site safety; and
the project manager relinquished responsibility for the
identified risk to the foreman, with no process in place to ensure
The Industrial Magistrate found that there were a number of
relatively simple safety measures that could have eliminated the
not using the site at all;
limiting access to the site, particularly by securing the fence
having the electricity supply turned off if a delivery to the
site was required;
requiring that any deliveries be accompanied by a spotter;
providing appropriate signage as to the particular risk of
overhead power lines, such as a sign on the gate or fence
surrounding the site;
placing flags or 'tiger tails' on the lines themselves
to make them more visible; and
warning all potential users of the site about the presence of,
and risk associated with, the lines at the compound, in particular
through a site induction.
Kenoss was found to have breached the Act by failing to ensure
the health and safety of workers and further, by failing to ensure
that workers were not exposed to risk of death, serious injury or
A maximum penalty of $1.5 million could have been imposed on
Kenoss, and $300,000 on an officer. The penalty imposed of $1.1
million serves as a warning that courts will take a hard line
stance when the safety of workers, including truck drivers, is put
at risk by careless site practices.
Winner – EOWA Employer of Choice for Women Citation 2009,
2010, 2011 and 2012
Winner – ALB Gold Employer of Choice 2011 and 2012
Finalist – ALB Australasian Law Awards 2008, 2010, 2011 and
2012 (Best Brisbane Firm)
Winner – BRW Client Choice Awards 2009 and 2010 - Best
Australian Law Firm (revenue less than $50m)
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