TfNSW in enforceable undertaking over fatality

Rare move follows council road maintenance incident

TfNSW in enforceable undertaking over fatality
Road maintenance was central to TfNSW's EU

The road freight industry is familiar with enforceable undertakings (EUs) being agreed to by companies but less so by government departments.

In a rare showing, Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW) has agreed to an EU with SafeWork NSW following a road work fatality three years ago.

The department was alleged to have failed to discharge its obligations as a person conducting a business or undertaking under sections 19(1), 32 and 33 of the WHS Act in that it did not ensure so far as reasonably practicable the health and safety of workers.

Though not employed by the department, the worker died being struck by mobile plan in the course of helping fulfil a road maintenance contract with TfNSW undertaken by an unnamed shire council.

"Transport for NSW is committed to complying with its obligations under the WHS Act and ensuring, so far as reasonably practicable, the health and safety of all workers and those who may be affected by its business or undertakings," it says in an assurance statement in the SafeWork NSW EU document.

Read about the first EU accepted by the NHVR, here

Through the council, TfNSW immediately offered condolences to the worker’s family and friends.

It also offered access by the council’s workers to its face-to-face trauma assist service and its Employee Assistance Program.

The department spent more than $2 million plus ongoing costs on a range of rectification measures.

These included and independent audit of the council’s safety performance and compliance in the provision of routine TfNSW-related maintenance and construction services.

It also coordinated a state-wide audit/assurance program, extending to all 69 councils that work with Transport for NSW, "to obtain information around trends and areas that may require additional support noting the variances in council sizes, maturity and expenditure to assist Transport for NSW in determining the allocation of resources between RMCC councils as well as developing more targeted monitoring and verification activities".

This made up $887,500 of the spending, plus the ongoing costs.

The full EU can be found here.

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