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Toll North fined for dangerous goods breaches

Transport operator subcontracted work to a company that was not licensed to carry dangerous goods.

 

Toll North has been ordered to pay almost $20,000 in fines and costs after pleading guilty to two dangerous goods offences in New South Wales.

The Downing Centre Local Court fined Toll $9,680 for an incident in 2012 that involved the transport of 21,000 litres of highly toxic chemical toluene diisocyanate, which can cause severe injury or death and is listed as a dangerous good in the Australian Dangerous Goods Code.

Toll North subcontracted the transportation of the chemical to another company, which was not licensed to transport dangerous goods. The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) detected the breach during a dangerous goods compliance operation at Botany on March 28, 2012 and subsequently launched legal action against Toll North.

In sentencing the company, Downing Centre Local Court Magistrate Teresa O’Sullivan ruled that general deterrence was a “paramount consideration” and that all those “who handle dangerous chemicals must be regarded as under a heavy obligation to the rest of the community to do so with the utmost care”.

Along with fining Toll North, O’Sullivan ordered it to pay $10,000 in costs.

EPA director of hazardous incidents and environmental health Craig Lamberton welcomed the decision and says it sends a strong message to all those in the industry of their responsibility to comply with dangerous goods requirements.

“During the inspection, EPA officers identified a number of breaches of the ADG Code, including: neither the vehicle nor driver were licensed to carry dangerous goods, the truck was not placarded as required, and there was a lack of transport documents, emergency information and safety equipment on board,” Lamberton says.

“Given the dangerous nature of this cargo, compliance with the dangerous goods code is paramount. Without appropriate safety equipment and training of those who deal with dangerous goods, there could be a real risk of harm to the environment and the community if something went wrong.”

Lamberton adds that the EPA has recently provided training to Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) inspectors and NSW Police on assessing compliance with dangerous goods legislation.

“The increase in the number of officers carrying out inspections means that drivers or transport companies operating in breach of the rules are more likely to be caught,” he says.

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