All businesses that operate in NSW have a duty of care to the wider public. Even if they are not customers, organisations must ensure their actions aren’t impacting the safety of the rest of the community. These obligations will be different for businesses across a unique range of industries, but the principle remains the same: Events that harm members of the public will result in public liability injury claims.
A few recent events in NSW revealed the type of incidents that can raise these concerns, with the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) issuing notices in late May to two different businesses that both spilled dangerous materials into public spaces.
In these cases, the safety of both the public and surrounding wildlife were compromised due to actions from members of these companies.
Dangerous goods transport impacts public safety
Most people expect transport companies to be acting in a way that keeps them safe, but a March incident in NSW saw one business fall on the wrong side of this divide. According to the EPA, a logistics company was found to be breaching multiple dangerous goods standards recently. Not only was the load not secured correctly, the EPA reported that the truck in question was not displaying the correct identifying information.
These signals are especially important to get right, for in the event of an accident, they allow emergency personnel to know if there’s a greater threat that could impact the situation. EPA Acting Director of the North Branch Brett Nudd is hoping the incident acts as a warning to both the company in question and others in the industry.
“The dangerous goods laws are not negotiable,” he began. “They exist to keep the community safe.”
“This company has not complied with its responsibilities to transport goods safely and legally, which is why the EPA is taking this action.”
Environmental contamination impacts water quality
Australia’s coastline is one of it’s defining attributes for both tourists and residents and as such, there are a range of laws in place to ensure these waters are kept clean for people and wildlife.
While cleaning a boat, a company was seen discharging contaminants into the surrounding water – a toxic mixture that included anti-fouling paint among other dangerous materials. The company received a $15,000 fine for breaching its duty of care, which could lead to public liability claims.
To find out more about what a public liability case could mean for your ability to receive compensation, contact the team at Gerard Malouf and Partners.