Chevron sued for negligence after fatal accident in car wash

A 73-year-old man died in November 2019 after becoming trapped between a rollover and a car door. This was at a Chevron location in Mulgrave, Australia. Chevron is now in court for negligence. The car wash in question did not have any signs warning motorists not to get out of their cars while the car wash is in use.

The Australian arm of oil giant Chevron is accused of not taking measures to ensure safety in the work place after a man was killed while using one of their carwashes in Australia. The suit was filed by WorkSafe, a government agency looking to improve work health and safety of workers across Australia.

The charge filed by WorkSafe states that the deceased man manually entered a code to start the car wash. He then tried to get in his car and became trapped between the rollover and the car door after the wash programme had started. The charge against Chevron is based on the failure to provide a safe workplace.

Warning signs

According to court documents, Chevron failed to take reasonably practicable steps to eliminate hazards, including failing to post signs instructing drivers not to leave their vehicles while the car wash is in operation, and failing to install anti-collision brackets or other systems that could detect an impending collision between moving parts and obstacles in the car wash.

WorkSafe also claimed that the rollover was equipped with metal brackets that restricted the space for cars, people and other objects in the wash bay, and that it was reasonably practicable for Chevron to eliminate or reduce the risk by removing these brackets.

Getting out to start

The suit also relates to deficiencies in the car wash’s control system, which allowed customers to enter the car wash and require them to exit the car on foot to enter an access code to start the wash cycle.

“It was reasonably practicable for Chevron to eliminate or reduce the risk by installing gates that allow access to the wash bay only after a valid access code is entered,” the court documents claim. The case will return to court next year.

Author: Rieneke Kok

Rieneke is editor for CarwashPro.com. She also writes for the Dutch version, CarwashPro.nl.

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