Landfill crush injury 27 May 2019

Incident date

27 May 2019


Crush injuries and fatality at landfill site


Eastern Creek

Incident overview

Two workers were buried under a pile of landfill when an industrial compactor (weighing approximately 55 tonne) was moving material at a waste management facility in Eastern Creek. One worker was fatally injured and the other worker was taken to hospital with serious crush injuries.

A heavy industrial landfill compactor in the open pit of the waste management facility in Eastern Creek.
A heavy industrial landfill compactor in the open pit of the waste management facility in Eastern Creek.

The investigation

☒ SafeWork NSW Inspectors responded to the incident.

☒ SafeWork NSW has commenced an investigation to determine the cause and circumstances of the incident.

Our Prosecution Guidelines (January 2018) outline our approach to prosecutions and Safe Work Australia’s National Compliance and Enforcement Policy provides guidance on their approach to compliance. These documents set out factors that will be considered in determining the investigative approach and appropriate outcome.

Safety Information

Businesses are reminded of their duty to identify hazards and manage risks to health and safety in accordance with the provisions of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017.

Businesses must consider reasonably practicable’ control measures to manage the risk to pedestrians working near mobile plant. These measures include:

  • identifying traffic hazards in consultation with workers and plant operators where mobile plant is in use and contact with pedestrians may occur
  • eliminating risks by designing separation systems
  • scheduling work so plant and people are not working in the same area at the same time
  • separating pedestrians from moving plant and vehicles using bollards, barriers, safety rails and exclusion zones
  • using audible and visible alarms to identify moving plant (eg reversing alarm, flashing lights)
  • establishing traffic flow patterns, developing right of way procedures, providing signage and implementing speed limits
  • using spotters or dedicated traffic controllers who are always in sight of the plant operator
  • having clear and effective communication systems in place
  • restricting access to essential personnel only
  • using high-visibility garments.


Our Coordinator Family Liaison can provide information on counselling and other support to injured workers and to close family members when a relative has died or is seriously injured in the workplace.  Contact us on 13 10 50 or

Visit for information about the State Coroner.

Further information

You can also refer to the following guidance materials:

About this information release

We have issued this information to draw attention to a fatality that occurred while using mobile plant near pedestrians. Investigations are ongoing and further information may be published as it becomes available.

The information contained in this publication is based on knowledge and understanding at the time of writing. Users are reminded of the need to ensure any information upon which they rely is up to date and to check the currency of the information with the appropriate SafeWork NSW officer or the user’s independent adviser. No conclusions should be drawn from the information in this publication about the cause of the incident or the culpability of any party.

All photographs were taken by SafeWork NSW.

Download a PDF of the release

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