Bus driver convicted after worker crushed

Monday, 05 February, 2024

Bus driver convicted after worker crushed

A Victorian bus driver has been placed on a 12-month order and had his licence suspended after a fellow worker was struck and seriously injured at a Leongatha depot. Brian Irby, 69, pleaded guilty to a single charge of failing, as an employee, to take reasonable care for the health and safety of persons at a workplace. He was convicted, placed on a 12-month Community Corrections Order with conditions to complete 75 hours of unpaid community work and had his licence suspended for six months. He was also ordered to pay $1000 in costs. WRL Management Pty Ltd, the operator of the depot, is also facing charges related to the incident.

The incident occurred in May 2022, when Irby returned to the depot after completing his morning run. He was unable to refuel his bus as intended because a tanker was delivering fuel to the workplace. After driving his bus out of the depot, Irby drove it back through the entry gates, passing in between the fuel tanker and another worker, who was standing less than 40 cm away next to a parked mini bus. As he made the right hand turn, the back of the bus swung to the left and struck the worker, who was crushed between the buses and dragged for several metres.

The worker sustained serious injuries, including 20 broken ribs, pelvic and neck fractures, a broken collar bone, punctured lung and split spleen. She was placed in an induced coma for three days and spent two weeks in hospital before starting rehabilitation. The court heard it was reasonably practicable for Irby to ensure that the area was clear of pedestrians before driving through the entry gate to the workplace.

WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Narelle Beer said every worker has a duty to ensure the health and safety of others in their workplace is not put at risk by their actions. “The offender was experienced with the type of vehicle he was driving and was aware that pedestrians were nearby, so there is no excuse for failing to take reasonable care,” Beer said.

Image credit: iStock.com/ma li

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