Disability service to contest unsafe workplace claim

A BENDIGO disability support service is being prosecuted for providing an unsafe workplace after an employee was injured while carrying out work duties, a court has heard.

It is alleged Golden City Support Services failed to install safety screens in its fleet of vehicles following a violent altercation between a client and employee.

Bendigo Magistrates Court heard a "high-level" autistic client lashed out at the employee while being transported in a company car.

The employee suffered a serious shoulder injury during the altercation.

The court heard Golden City Support Services -  a not-for-profit non-government provider of disability support services in the Bendigo region - would contest the charge.

It heard the case would centre on the technical issue of whether it was "reasonably practicable" to install screens across the company's entire fleet of cars.

The organisation's defence lawyer said the matter could also hear submissions on whether it was humane for clients to be "caged like animals" when disability services had progressed to a more integrative and compassionate approach.

The case was adjourned to a contested hearing in December this year.

Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004, the maximum penalty for an organisation found guilty of not providing a safe workplace is 9000 penalty units, or $1,262,620.

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