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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Aged care company charged for failing to properly train staff during 2020 outbreak

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A Victorian aged care provider has been charged following a deadly COVID-19 outbreak at one of its facilities.

Heritage Care Pty Ltd allegedly failed to properly train staff at its Epping Gardens residential aged care facility in 2020 during the outbreak, which resulted in several deaths and infections.

At least 89 residents and 65 staff developed COVID-19 during the outbreak, with 34 residents subsequently dying from COVID-19 related complications.

Following a two-year investigation, WorkSafe alleges the company failed to train staff appropriately to perform their work safely and without risks to health between March 13, 2020, and July 20, 2020.

Staff were reportedly not equipped in relation to the items of personal protective equipment (PPE) required to be worn, the safe changing into and out of PPE, when PPE should be changed and the safe disposal of PPE.

Heritage Care has been charged with a breach of sections 21(1) and 21(2)(e) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The maximum penalty for a body corporate for each of these offences is a fine of 9000 penalty points ($1.49 million at the time of the alleged offence).

The matter is listed for a filing hearing at the Melbourne Magistrates Court on August 8.

AAP has contacted Heritage Care Pty Ltd for comment.

It comes after another Melbourne aged care home where 45 people died from COVID-19 was recently charged with nine breaches of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

WorkSafe alleges St Basil’s Homes for the Aged failed to require workers to wear personal protective equipment after it was notified a worker tested positive to Covid-19 in July 2020.


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