St Basil’s charged over deadly Covid outbreak

WorkSafe Victoria has accused St Basil’s Homes For The Aged of breaching nine Occupational Health and Safety Act offences after a worker tested positive to Covid in July. It’s alleged that after being notified by the worker of the positive test, St Basil’s failed to require workers to wear personal protective equipment and train workers on how to safely put on and take off PPE. St Basil’s also allegedly failed to verify that staff were competent in using PPE, tell staff when PPE should be used and supervise the use of PPE. Tragically, 45 residents subsequently died from Covid-related complications including Theodoula Andreou, Christos Mihelakos, Fortunata Cardini and Gina Andrikopoulos.It’s understood 94 residents and 94 staff members tested positive.St Basil’s has been charged with multiple offences including a single breach of failing to provide and maintain for its employees, as far as reasonably practicable, a working environment that was safe and without risks to health.The aged care provider has also been charged with two breaches of failing to enable workers to perform their work safely and without risks to health by failing to provide necessary information and instruction, and supervision.The maximum penalty for a body corporate for each of the offences is a fine of 9000 penalty points which is equivalent to $1.49 million at the time of the alleged offence.In a statement, WorkSafe Victoria said the investigation was “complex” and took 23 months to complete with thousands of pages of documents reviewed and multiple witness interviews conducted. “The decision to prosecute has been made in accordance with WorkSafe’s General Prosecution Guidelines, which require WorkSafe to consider whether there is sufficient evidence to support a reasonable prospect of conviction and whether bringing a prosecution is in the public interest,” the organisation said. “A number of other investigations relating to the control of Covid related risks in workplaces remain ongoing.” The matter is listed for a filing hearing at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on August 1.

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