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Truck driver crushed by falling load - company fined $136,000

Monday, October 10, 2011

A South Australian transport company has received a penalty of $136,000 over the death of a 38-year-old truck driver, for failing to provide a safe system of work.

Darren Neale died when he was working at Goodchild Nominees, after a 500 kilogram silage bale struck him as he was unloading the truck, at a dairy property south of Mt. Gambier.

SafeWork SA prosecuted Goodchild Nominees after investigating the death of Neale in January 2009.

SafeWork SA said luck has no place in workplace safety, and regardless of their size or location, it is every employer’s legal duty to implement a formal and systematic workplace safety regime and ensure that it is followed.

The defendant reportedly admitted to the court that it may have been “lulled into a false sense of security” having operated for 34 years without any safety incidents.

However Magistrate Michael Ardlie noted the “severe and wide-reaching effects” Neale’s death had on his wife of 18 years and their two daughters.

He imposed a penalty of $136,000 after a 15 per cent reduction to account for the guilty plea, cooperation, contrition and remedial action.

However owing to the company’s poor financial state, Magistrate Ardlie made no order to pay.

Goodchild was ordered to pay a total of $20,000 compensation to Neale’s family.

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