Buslink Pty Ltd

Date accepted21 October 2020
Proposed expenditure$663,770

Incident

On 26 October 2017, a bus driver working for Buslink NT Pty Ltd (Buslink NT), was struck and fatally injured by her bus when the interlock braking system was not engaged, causing the bus to roll forward.

Alleged breach

It was alleged that Buslink NT failed to comply with its health and safety duties under Section 19 of the Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act 2011 (the WHS Act). NT WorkSafe charged Buslink NT with six offences under Section 32 of the WHS Act for the alleged failures.

Rectification works

Following the incident, Buslink NT took significant steps to introduce engineering controls and strengthen existing administrative controls to mitigate the risk of vehicle rollaway across its fleet. These rectifications cost $178,078 in the Buslink NT fleet, and are being implemented across other fleets in the Buslink Group at an approximate cost of $150,000.

The value of the rectification works is not included in the Work Health and Safety (WHS) undertaking.

Summary of work health and safety undertaking

Buslink NT has committed to undertake activities to improve health and safety in the workplace and deliver health and safety initiatives in the wider community. These activities are:

  • Installing MobilEye collision avoidance systems in all buses across Buslink NT and Queensland fleets;
  • Producing and distributing an instructional video on rollaway bus prevention for bus operators and drivers across Australia;
  • Working with a partner organisation to deliver a Northern Territory road safety campaign targeting distracted driving.

The financial commitments of the activities proposed in the undertaking are:

  • workers or the workplace - $513,770
  • industry - $30,000
  • the community - $80,000.

Buslink NT has agreed to pay the Regulator’s costs associated with the WHS undertaking of $40,000, providing a total minimum expenditure of $663,770.

Reasons for Regulator acceptance

The nature and extent of the alleged contraventions are serious, and of significant public concern, however the contraventions do not appear to be deliberate, or reckless, which would preclude an undertaking from being accepted.

The nature of the alleged contraventions and the acts taken by Buslink NT in response were assessed as appropriate for consideration of a WHS undertaking, and the proposal meets the requirements of NT WorkSafe’s Enforceable Undertaking Guidelines.

The strategies proposed in the WHS undertaking have been assessed as likely to deliver long term, sustainable, measurable and tangible work health and safety benefits to the workplace, the industry and the community, superior to Court proceedings, and proportionate to the alleged offending.

Buslink NT has demonstrated its commitment to implementing the strategies proposed in the WHS undertaking, and provided evidence that it has the financial capacity to do so.  The financial obligations of the proposal are significant, and exceed comparative sentences imposed for similar incidents under equivalent legislation by threefold.

NT WorkSafe has commenced monitoring the WHS undertaking to ensure the activities are undertaken, and will continue to do so until Buslink NT fulfils all commitments.