Car dealership employee fined $9500.00 over death

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Employee / workerEmployer

An employee of an Attadale car dealership has been fined $9500.00 (and ordered to pay $12,052.75 in costs) over the death of a fellow worker at the dealership in 2013.

Leslie Taylor was found guilty of failing to take reasonable care not to adversely affect another person and, by that failure, causing the death of that person, and was fined in the Fremantle Magistrates Court today.

Mr Taylor was employed as a pre-delivery assistant at Melville Motors, a workplace consisting of showrooms with a mechanical workshop at the rear with two vehicle wash bays opposite the workshop.

In July 2013, Mr Taylor was conducting a pre-delivery check on a new unregistered Holden Cruze, and drove the vehicle from the window tinting workshop to one of the mechanical workshop bays.

The dealership’s parts manager was standing in the middle of the entry to the work bay, and he moved to the right side of the bay when he saw Mr Taylor.

After Mr Taylor had driven the vehicle into the work bay, he left the engine running and placed it in reverse gear with a view to checking the rear lights.  As the parts manager was standing nearby, Mr Taylor asked him to check that the lights were working.

While he was leaning over the rear of the vehicle to check the lights, it suddenly lunged backwards and he was struck by the vehicle and dragged under it for 11.6 metres.  He suffered fatal chest injuries.

Mr Taylor had accidentally pressed the accelerator instead of the brake, and the vehicle reversed at speed and collided with two other vehicles.

WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch said today the case was a tragic example of the fact that employees had a responsibility for the safety of others in the workplace.

“The charge brought against Mr Taylor is a grim reminder that employers are not the only ones responsible for safety and health in a workplace,” Mr McCulloch said.

“A worker’s failure to take reasonable care not to adversely affect another worker has unfortunately resulted in the worst possible consequences.

“The vehicle’s engine need not have been running in order to check the lights - the key only needed to be turned to accessories mode.  The court was told that Mr Taylor was well aware of this fact.

“The Magistrate found that, by failing to ensure that the other worker was not standing behind the vehicle while it was in reverse and the engine was running, Mr Taylor failed to take reasonable care and caused the other man’s death.”

Media contact: Caroline De Vaney 6251 2363 or 0408 927563 (media enquiries only)

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Media release
25 Jan 2017

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