Charges Laid Over Hotel Quarantine
WorkSafe has laid charges on 58 breaches of the Occupational Health and Safety Act following a 15-month complex investigation.
The Department of Health (formerly the Department of Health and Human Services) has been charged with 17 breaches of Section 21(1) of the OHS Act, for failing to maintain a safe working environment without health risks to its employees.
An additional 41 breaches of Section 21(3) of the OHS Act (failing to protect persons other than employees) have also been cited.
The Department was responsible for oversight of Operation Soteria from March to July 2020, Victoria’s first hotel quarantine program.
The allegations reflect the Departments failure to provide security guards with verbal or written instructions appropriate to infection control training and the use of PPE. This also includes that security guards ‘were put at risk of serious illness or death through contracting COVID-19’ from a number of sources including returned travellers, surface contact, or other persons working in the program.
Thousands of documents were reviewed with multiple witness interviews with context arising from the Coate Inquiry (COVID-19 Hotel Quarantine Inquiry), including inquiries and investigation of security firms, hotels, Government departments and other agencies. These inquiries have now ceased.
The matter is now awaiting a filing hearing at the Magistrates' Court scheduled for 22 October.