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Cheap justice in rider’s roadworks crash

More than three years after a Darwin rider died in a roadworks crash (photo above), the court has dished out cheap justice for the life of the rider.

Queensland company BMD Constructions had faced fines of up to $1.5m for failing to comply with work health and safety obligations over the death of Darwin musician Peter “Pedro” Bonnell.

Instead, NT Worksafe has accepted an enforceable undertaking from the company to spend just $305,000 in activities to improve motorist as well as worker safety.

However, it seems most of the money will be spent on staff awareness of silicosis and mental health issues, rather than motorist safety.

Only $20,000 will be spent on bringing workers up to the Work Zone Traffic Controller (WZ2) qualification standard.

An undisclosed sum will also be spent on creating an “e-learning training package for general awareness of traffic management for the NT construction industry”.

Cheap justice

It seems like cheap justice for the life of a rider and does little to make other roadworks companies liable for shoddy roadworks and traffic management procedures.

Pedro died on April 20, 2016, when his motorbike crashed into a traffic diversion set up as part of the Tiger Brennan Drive duplication roadworks.

Justice moves slowly in roadworks crash death of Darwin rider and well-known musician Peter “Pedro” Bonnell
Darwin musician Peter “Pedro” Bonnell

NT Worksafe alleged the traffic diversion set-up was not in accordance with an approved traffic control diagram and not compliant with Australian Standards.

They also alleged BMD Constructions used interlocking crash barriers without reflective bollards that were not compliant with Australian Standards, and failed in other safety areas.

NT WorkSafe Acting Executive Director Mel Garde said it was appropriate to accept the enforceable undertaking as the traffic diversion set-up was not the sole contributing factor to the incident.

She says several of the activities in the sanction will up-skill the construction industry on traffic management, creating a safer environment for workers and the wider community.

“Traffic management is an important factor in maintaining a safe workplace,” she says.

“There is an obligation to not only protect workers from the hazards of oncoming traffic, but also to protect road users from potential hazards created by the worksite.

“The driving skill and experience of road users will vary widely so it is critical that traffic management plans and traffic diversions are compliant with Australian Standards, so that all road users can safely navigate them.”