Victoria health department sued for quarantine in hotel

WorkSafe alleged that the health department failed to “provide and maintain (…) a safe working environment and no risk to the health of its employees” and “to ensure (…) that people other than employees were not exposed to risks to their health. and the safety arising from the conduct of one’s business ”, as required by the OHS Act.

He said the department had not staffed hotels with people with expertise in infection control and had not trained security guards in this area.

He also alleged that he did not update the written instructions for wearing the mask and, at least initially, did not provide the guards with written instructions on the use of personal protective equipment.

The watchdog said those actions – or inactions – put the lives of those working in hotels at risk.

“In all charges, WorkSafe alleges that Department of Health employees, authorized Victorian government officers on secondment or security guards were at risk of serious illness or death by contracting COVID-19 from an infected return traveler, another person working in hotels or a contaminated surface, ”he said in a statement.

The decision to prosecute reflected the fact that WorkSafe believed it had “sufficient evidence to support a reasonable prospect of conviction” and that the charges were in the public interest, he added.

The virus spread throughout the community from the guards, who often practiced poor infection control, worked even when they showed symptoms with COVID-19 and underwent limited training, the year’s survey revealed. last.

The investigation is one of several companies WorkSafe is undertaking into controlling COVID-19 risks in the workplace, with its recent findings that up to half of all construction sites inspected were not in compliance. virus restrictions contributing to a rapid shutdown of the sector.

While the health department charges were made aware of last year’s government investigation into the program, WorkSafe said it had also undertaken its own investigation.

He also looked at other groups associated with the program, such as hotels, security companies and other government departments. He said these investigations have now been concluded.

The Victoria Department of Health declined to comment as the case was before the courts.

CFMEU officials forced into solitary confinement

At least four of Victoria’s 950 new cases on Wednesday were CFMEU officials, which resulted in its headquarters being classified as a level one site and sent union staff into two-week isolation.

The union blamed anti-vaccination rallies at its Melbourne headquarters last week for the cases as it sought to distance itself further from the protest movement.

“Last week’s protests put union officials and police at risk with infected protesters who do not care about the welfare of those affected by their actions,” the union said.

“Their reckless behavior resulted in transmission to union staff and officials who were not involved in the protest.”

Victoria / Tasmania CFMEU secretary John Setka, who is among those isolating, has pledged the outbreak will not deter the union from its efforts to reopen the industry.

“This epidemic, caused by the disgusting behavior of selfish and reckless people without regard to the well-being of thousands of construction workers or their families, will not deter our commitment to reopen construction and get all of our members back to work.” , did he declare. noted.

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