The proprietor of Adelaide trucking company Colbert Transport, Peter Colbert has been charged with manslaughter on account of neglecting to maintain the safety of a truck, a failure that has been judged as the cause of a driver’s tragic death in March of last year. As ABC reports, employee Robert Brimson was on a job involving what would have been a 50-kilometre drive in north Adelaide, when he encountered heavy traffic on a main road. A camera in the vehicle captured his realisation that the truck’s brakes were defunct, while reports of drivers close to the scene suggest that he swerved away from nearby cards and collided with a pole. Tragically, he died at the scene of the accident.
As Adelaide Now reported, Mr. Colbert received a guilty verdict for manslaughter, with the court finding that he had failed to act on numerous warnings to have the truck’s faulty brakes repaired prior to the incident.
As ABC reported, the transport owner’s shady past of “risk-taking” antics on the road and indecent assault brought his repute strongly into question. However, the message is loud and clear for employers whose workers undertake driving related to their employment, particularly in vehicles provided by the organisation.
Under Australian legislation, all employers are required to protect workers from foreseeable harm that could be encountered during their course of employment. As mandated by the Australian Standard for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems, employers should take into account the nature of risks associated with the type of work undertaken by employees, to enact control measures that minimise the likelihood of injury in the workplace environment.
For organisations whose employees drive for work purposes, managing driver safety with proactive control systems that monitor to ensure vehicular road-fitness represents good practice in fulfilling legislative obligations proactively, and potentially, prevent the loss of life. As owner and manager of an organisation whose primary function is the operation of vehicles, Mr. Colbert’s inactions in complying with the Standard to provide a safe workplace in his vehicles seem particularly shocking.