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Homeless exposed to health risks after COVID-19 apartment breach


An inner Melbourne hotel that housed some of the state’s most vulnerable people during the pandemic has been charged with safety breaches, with authorities alleging homeless folks were exposed to “unsafe” conditions.

WorkSafe Victoria charged Keyun Enterprises Pty Ltd with breaches of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The watchdog alleges the company, which agreed to accommodate a number of vulnerable homeless people as part of the Victorian government’s COVID-19 response, exposed patrons and contractors to risks to their health and safety.

The company, which operates Comfy Kew Apartments in the inner east suburb of Kew, allegedly failed to have a COVID-safe plan in place, failed to require contractors sign in on entry, and failed to enforce simple safety measures such as mask wearing.

The charges relate to protocols allegedly breached on September 28 last year.

A statement from WorkSafe Victoria claimed the company failed to provide a workplace that was safe and without risks to health.

“As a result of these failings, it is alleged patrons and contractors at Comfy Kew Apartments were exposed to risks to their health and safety,” the statement read.

The matter is listed for a hearing at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on November 30 this year.

The charges come a week after WorkSafe highlighted alleged failings in the Victorian government’s hotel quarantine system, charging the health department with 58 breaches.

The charges related to the state government’s bungled hotel quarantine program, set up between March and July 2020.

The Department of Health was responsible for the oversight and co-ordination of the program.

WorkSafe alleged the department breached Occupation Health and Safety laws by failing to appoint people with infection prevention and control expertise to be stationed at the hotels.

It is facing $1.64m in fines.


Original story from The West Australian page. Note: Content has been edited for style and length.

 | Website

Nina Alvarez is a Content Producer for Healthcare Channel. Her interests include writing, particularly about the healthcare sector and the many ways it can improve to further benefit people from all walks of life.


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