Woolworths escapes prosecution after loading dock tragedy

Woolworths escapes prosecution after loading dock tragedy

29 August 2019 Topics: Workplace relations and safety

Woolworths has agreed to an Enforceable Undertaking (ET) with NT WorkSafe for an amount of $1.8 million after a man was run over and killed by a subcontractor’s prime mover in October 2016 at the Hibiscus Shopping Centre.

On 8 August 2019, WorkSafe acting executive director Melissa Garde announced WorkSafe’s decision to accept Woolworths’ bid to enter an EU in lieu of prosecution.

Ms Garde stated that the EU was accepted as the new traffic management controls that are to be implemented by Woolworths went above what was required by WHS laws. She noted that shopping centres had high levels of vehicle and pedestrian traffic, and the Hibiscus Shopping Centre’s loading dock ’was routinely used as a short cut’.

’All retailers should look at their traffic management arrangements to ensure a similar incident doesn’t occur at their workplace,’ Garde said.

The EU included a $1.6 million component for capital upgrades to the infrastructure of back doors at all its Northern Territory stores and for enhancing traffic management controls.

Woolworths’ other enforceable initiatives included providing:

  • video messaging to staff for a ‘key risk program’
  • refresher training on legal compliance for all its Northern Territory managers
  • a new dock safety guide for the retail industry
  • funds for research into continuous control monitoring through the use of digital technology for dock areas and pedestrians.

The supermarket giant also committed to installing defibrillators in all its Northern Territory stores, donating 17 defibrillators to St John Ambulance to distribute in the community, and donating funds to Lifeline.

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