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Appeal Judge Rules Against Harvey Norman Franchisee, After Customer Run Over

A Harvey Norman Franchisee has lost an appeal in the WA District Court after a customer was run over waiting for recently purchased goods to be loaded into his car.

This week the District Court of Western Australia declined an appeal by Osborne Park Commercial Pty Ltd, trading as Harvey Norman Commercial over the 2015 incident where the driver of a semi-trailer backed into a customer.

The judgement in the case, Miloradovic v Osborne Park Pty Ltd, is set to have large CE and appliance retailers reviewing commercial vehicle loading and unloading next to where customer pick-up recently purchased.

Recently there has been a surge in customers picking up at stores after they have purchased goods online and then opted to pick up at store.

In this case the truck driver accepted negligence and agreed to pay $865,000 as damages for personal injuries to the driver picking up the goods.

An HNH occupational health and safety (OHS) traffic management plan was subsequently put into place after the original judge found Harvey Norman failed to implement a litany of risk identification and safety procedures for the loading area.

The drama ended up in court when the truck driver tried to get Harvey Norman to pay part of the payout.

The Harvey Norman franchisee backed by Harvey Norman head office, argued the incident was entirely the truck driver’s fault. The district Court against the big retailer.

Harvey Norman and their franchisees are well known for passing on costs to third parties who deal with them. In this case the truck driver was only asking for 25% of the agreed damages payout. Now the Company is looking at nearly $200,000 in legal costs plus a payout to the truck driver.

“The limited size of the access way, the fact that trucks parked in it to unload, and the existence of other traffic including forklift movements and cars accessing and using parking bays, combined to indicate that persons using the access way were entering a ‘working area’, and should have been alerted to obvious safety risks,” Harvey Norman argues.

After the incident WorkSafe WA issued Harvey Norman with an improvement notice on the basis that Harvey Norman did not have a traffic management plan for the common use of the access way.

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