Woolworths Group Limited

Date accepted:7 August 2019
Proposed expenditure:$1,793,500
Date discharged:23 April 2020
Actual expenditure:$2,288,720


On Friday 7 October 2016, a 47-year-old Maningrida man fell asleep in the loading dock area at Hibiscus Shopping Centre in Leanyer. The driver of a prime mover leaving the loading dock did not see the deceased and ran him over.

Alleged breach

It was alleged that Woolworths Group Limited failed to comply with health and safety duties under Sections 32 of the Work Health Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act 2011 (the Act) and its obligations under the Work Health Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Regulations 2011.

Summary of work health and safety undertaking

An undertaking given Woolworths Group Limited in relation to the alleged contraventions has been accepted by the Regulator as an enforceable undertaking under Part 11 of the Act.  Woolworths Group Limited has committed to a range of activities to improve health and safety in the workplace and deliver health and safety initiatives to the wider community. These activities include:

  • Provide capital upgrades to back docks of all Northern Territory stores to enhance traffic control.
  • Video messaging for all staff to be used as part of their Key risk program.
  • Refresher training for legal compliance for all Northern Territory Managers.
  • Installation of defibrillators at all Northern Territory stores.
  • Deliver free industry seminars on lessons learnt and Woolworths Health and Safety practices.
  • Develop and publish a Retail Dock Safety Guide.
  • Fund research into continuous control monitoring through the use of digital technology in relation to dock areas and pedestrians.
  • Donation of 17 defibrillators to the community through St John Ambulance.
  • Donation to support Lifeline operations in the Northern Territory.

The amount spent on work health and safety activities following the incident was approximately $518,953 (not included below).

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

  • workers or the workplace – $1,685,000;
  • industry - $57,000, and
  • the community - $51,500.

The financial commitments to the undertaking have a total minimum expenditure of $1,793,500.

Reasons for regulator acceptance

The regulator accepted the enforceable undertaking under Section 216 of the Act and is satisfied that this undertaking offers significant and ongoing commitments to achieve improved work health and safety outcomes and compliance beyond what is required by the law. The regulator believes the enforceable undertaking offers a similar deterrent to a successful legal proceeding and will result in a tangible improvement to safety in the workplace, industry and in the Darwin community.