Company fined $20,000 for dangerous goods breach

GEORGE Weston Foods Limited has been convicted and ordered to pay a total of $45,000 after pleading guilty to failing to ensure dangerous goods were transported in a safe manner after a truck was apprehended at Brocklehurst in December 2010.

The prosecution was brought by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) when police, who had made the stop on an unrelated matter, discovered more than 6000 litres of sodium hydroxide, a corrosive substance, categorised as 'Class 8' dangerous goods.

Justice Pain of the Land and Environment Court convicted George Weston Foods and fined it $20,000 for breaching the Dangerous Goods (Road and Rail Transport) Act 2008. George Weston Foods was also ordered to pay $25,000 for the EPA's costs.

Chief environmental regulator for the EPA Mark Gifford said George Weston Foods had engaged a transport company to carry the dangerous goods, but did not ensure that the goods were transported safely.

"There are obligations on all parties involved in the transport of dangerous goods, including consignors, to ensure the goods are transported in a safe manner.

"The truck had travelled from Victoria and was on its way to Queensland. However, neither the driver nor the vehicle was licensed to transport dangerous goods.

"Further, the bulk containers holding the liquid were not properly secured in the vehicle and the vehicle was not displaying placards advising it was carrying dangerous goods, as required by law.

"The legislation is in place to protect the community and environment. Fortunately in this case the breach did not result in any actual environmental harm.

"This case provides a good example of the way that the NSW Police and the EPA work together to protect the community and environment," he said.

The EPA was also prosecuting Kitco Transport Australia Pty Ltd, the transporter of the goods, for three offences related to this matter. Kitco has pleaded guilty to the offences and the sentence hearing will take place on April 2.

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