A horrific accident in the Northern Territory has given rise to a charge against Woolworths Ltd, brought by the Work Health Authority (WHA), for a breach of section 32 of the Workplace Health and Safety Act (NT).

In October 2016, a 47-year-old itinerant man sleeping in the loading dock at the Hibiscus Shopping Centre in Leanyer was killed when a truck driven by a Glen Cameron Nominees Pty Ltd subcontractor ran over him.

WorkSafe NT alleged that Woolworths knew the loading dock was used by workers and non-workers but failed to implement a traffic management plan to eliminate or minimise the relevant risks. It also claimed that the supermarket giant failed to provide a site induction to the truck driver or ensure that Glen Cameron Nominees provided all necessary WHS training, instruction or supervision to the driver.

The case will be heard in late 2019.

An action for breach of section 32 of the Act was also brought by the WHA against Glen Cameron Nominees and was decided in the NT Local Court on 26 March 2019. Glen Cameron Nominees entered a guilty plea and was fined $154,000, which demonstrated the objective seriousness of failing to provide its induction program to the subcontractor and ensure the operator was complying with standard operating procedure.

This case highlights that a risk assessment for the use of a vehicle not only needs to cover employees and contractors, but also anyone a particular activity may affect, regardless of who owns or operates the vehicle used.