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VIC: $100,000 fine after patient’s death

The following article is a news item provided for the benefit of the Workplace Health and Safety profession. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Institute of Health & Safety.
Date: 
Wednesday, 14 September, 2022 - 12:45
Category: 
Incidents & prosecutions
Location: 
Victoria

A healthcare provider in Victoria has been convicted and fined $100,000 after the death of a patient at a Bendigo psychiatric unit.

Bendigo Health pleaded guilty in the Bendigo Magistrates’ Court to a single charge of failing to ensure people other than employees were not exposed to risks to their health and safety.

Bendigo Health was also ordered to pay costs of $5,062.

The patient had been involuntarily admitted into the Alexander Bayne Centre in August 2016 after earlier presenting to the Bendigo Health emergency department asking for help and reporting suicidal thoughts.

Later that month, the patient took their own life at the centre.

The court heard it was reasonably practicable for Bendigo Health to have reduced the relevant risk of injury or death.

WorkSafe Victoria director of health and safety Narelle Beer said the patient’s death was a tragic incident that could have been prevented.

“This is an extremely sad incident that should never have happened,” Beer said.

“Every employer has a duty to do everything they can to reduce risks to the health and safety of everyone within a workplace, including those associated with intentional self-harm.”