Bus operator faces multiple charges over 2017 death

NT WorkSafe has charged the Northern Territory’s largest bus operator Buslink NT Pty Ltd, after one of its bus drivers was pinned and killed in a bus rollaway incident.

NT WorkSafe has charged the Northern Territory’s largest bus operator Buslink NT Pty Ltd, after one of its bus drivers was pinned and killed in a bus rollaway incident.

On 26 October 2017, the 59-year-old Buslink NT employee was driving a chartered bus taking cruise ship passengers on a day trip. During the scheduled lunch break at the Humpty Doo Hotel, the driver returned to the bus to collect personal items. As she was returning to the hotel, the driver noticed the bus rolling forward and ran back to open the bus door to engage the interlocking braking system. During her attempt to reach the door switch, the driver fell forward into the path of the moving bus.

The NT WorkSafe investigation found Buslink NT had failed to implement adequate control measures to manage the issue of bus rollaway, despite numerous safety reports in the Australian bus industry addressing the issue. This failure not only contributed to the death of their worker, but also had the potential of placing the health and safety of their passengers and nearby pedestrians at risk.

NT WorkSafe will allege that with the death of their worker, Buslink NT failed in their health and safety duty under section 19(1)(a) of the Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act 2011 (the Act) and committed three offences by:

  • failing to provide and maintain a work environment without risks to health and safety, a breach of section 19(3)(a) of the Act;
  • failing to provide and maintain safe plant, a breach of section 19(3)(b); and
  • failing to provide and maintain a safe system of work, a breach of section 19(3)(c).

NT WorkSafe will also allege Buslink NT failed their health and safety duty under section 19(2) by putting at risk the health and safety of passengers and pedestrians, and committed three additional offences by:

  • failing to provide and maintain a work environment without risks to health and safety, a breach of section 19(3)(a);
  • failing to provide and maintain safe plant, a breach of section 19(3)(b); and
  • failing to provide and maintain a safe system of work, a breach of section 19(3)(c).

All six offences have been charged under section 32 of the Act for failing to comply with a health and safety duty.

Each charge carries a maximum penalty of $1,500,000.

The matter is listed for mention in the Darwin Local Court on Tuesday 19 November 2019.

Note to media: The next-of-kin have requested that the deceased worker's name not be used.