Following a joint investigation with the South Australia Police, SafeWork SA have charged both Integrity Care SA and its two Directors, Amy-June Collins and Alison Virgo over the death of Ann-Marie Smith in 2020.
Annie, as she was known to friends, had cerebral palsy and engaged Integrity Care SA to provide care through funding of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Following Annie’s death, the NDIS revoked Integrity Care SA’s registration and banned them from providing and NDIS funded support and services.
SafeWork SA have charged the two Directors under section 32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 for failing to comply with a health and safety duty that exposed Annie to risk of death, serious injury or illness. The maximum penalty for such as offence is $300,000.
SAPOL have also charged Integrity Care SA and its Directors with criminal neglect.
This was the first time SAPOL and SafeWork SA have had a co-located task force to investigate such a death.
Deputy Commissioner of Police, Linda Williams said “When people accept a duty of care to look after our sick or vulnerable people our community demands, and rightly expects they deliver the highest standard of care”.
SafeWork SA Executive Director, Martyn Campbell, said “employers have a duty to provide a safe system of work to their workers, visitors and others who come into the workplace. This included Annie in this case. Her home became a workplace as soon as the carer entered it to do her work. Directors of a business have an additional duty to ensure a business has those safety systems in place and they are followed.”
Between October 2019 and April 2020, the Directors of Integrity Care SA, had a health and safety duty to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, that the health and safety of Annie was not put at risk from work carried out as part of the conduct of the business. It is alleged that they failed to exercise due diligence to ensure Integrity Care SA complied with its health and safety duty and that they failed to provide a carer with sufficient training, support and supervision to care for Annie, thereby exposing her to a risk of death or serious injury or illness.
Annie’s carer Rosa Maione was charged with manslaughter and was subsequently sentenced to six years, seven months in prison.
A court date for Ms Collins and Ms Virgo has been set for October.