Woolworths avoids prosecution with enforceable undertaking

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Woolworths has entered into a $1.8 million enforceable undertaking with NT WorkSafe following the death of a man at Hibiscus Shopping Centre in Darwin.

The man had fallen asleep in the store’s loading dock area. He was run over by a subcontractor’s prime mover as it was leaving. The driver did not see him.

Both the freight company Glen Cameron Nominees and Woolworths were charged for the incident, each with breaching Section 32 of the Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act 2011 for failing to comply with a health and safety duty.

Glen Cameron nominees received a $154,000 fine in March for the incident.

NT WorkSafe Acting Executive Director Melissa Garde said $1.6 million of Woolworths’ $1,793,500 enforceable undertaking will be spent on upgrading the infrastructure of back docks at all Woolworths stores in the Northern Territory.

Woolworths has already spent $500,000 securing the loading dock at its Hibiscus Shopping Centre store, as well as other Woolworths loading docks in the Territory that were considered to be high risk.

“Being struck by a vehicle or other mobile plant like forklifts, is a major hazard in workplaces across the country,” Ms Garde said.

“Shopping centres have a high level of vehicle and pedestrian traffic, and the Hibiscus Shopping Centre 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.”

Woolworths will also be required to spend more than $50,000 on research and development into technology for continuous controlled monitoring of loading docks, as well as develop a retail dock safety guide and deliver free industry presentations on traffic management risks.

Also, $51,000 of the enforceable undertaking will be spent on the community, including a donation of 17 defibrillators to be distributed by St John Ambulance.

Details of the Woolworths enforceable undertaking can be found here.

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