GEO fined over injured inmates

GEO Group Australia, the contractor that manages the Fulham Correctional Centre, has been fined $75,000, after it pleaded guilty to a 2017 incident which resulted in two inmates being seriously injured.

A WorkSafe investigation found on December 15, 2017, three inmates were using a gantry crane to undertake metal work tasks, which Fulham inmates are regularly employed to do.

The inmates were attempting to move a metal workbench that weighed about 620 kilograms, when the crane flipped over.

WorkSafe's investigation concluded that the task being undertaken by the inmates was "dogging work", as defined by the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017, and accordingly, it required a high risk work licence.

None of the inmates held such a licence, nor was there a safe system of work in place for lifting and slinging of loads.

Sale Magistrates' Court convicted the contractor on August 8, ordering it to pay the substantial fine, plus $3891 in costs.

GEO said it accepted the findings of the investigation, and took remedial action immediately after the incident to prevent a recurrence.

This included implementing a new lifting and suspended loads policy and having two of its industrial officers complete a basic dogging course.

"GEO remains committed to providing a safe workplace for its staff and for prisoners engaged in work programs at the correctional centres it manages," the statement read.

Corrections Victoria was approached for comment.