Health service fined after assault on staff member

A Melbourne health service has been fined $25,000 without conviction after a nurse was assaulted by a patient with aggressive and violent behavioural issues.


Alfred Health pleaded guilty to one contravention of section 21 of the OHS Act, for failing to provide the information, instruction and training necessary to allow workers to perform their work safely and without risks to health at its Caulfield Hospital site, following an incident in 2015.

It was also ordered to pay $9019 of WorkSafe's costs.

The court heard that on December 6, 2015 a nurse was attending to a patient when she was physically assaulted by that patient.

The assault followed three previous incidents in which staff were assaulted by the same patient.

The court heard Alfred Health has since amended its procedures for dealing with occupational violence and aggression, including the adoption of a uniform policy across all its hospitals.

WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen said employers must do everything they can to prevent and manage the risk of occupational violence and aggression in the workplace.

"Abuse and assault cause both physical and mental injuries that can alter the lives of workers and their loved ones forever," Ms Nielsen said.

"It is never okay for employees to be assaulted or abused at work, and workplaces must ensure they have strong systems and processes in place to limit that risk."

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