Vic dept fined $200k over child's death

Victoria's education department has been fined over a child's death at a special needs school.
Victoria's education department has been fined over a child's death at a special needs school.

Victoria's education department has been fined $200,000 after a child with severe physical and intellectual disabilities died when their wheelchair fell over at a special needs school.

The Department of Education and Training pleaded guilty to two charges of failing to ensure that people other than employees were not exposed to risks to their health and safety, in a hearing at Melbourne's County Court on Friday.

A seven-year-old student died after their wheelchair tipped over at the bottom of a ramp at a school in 2018.

On the day of the incident, the child and other students were lining up at the classroom door to go outside.

At that time, the classroom's teacher and teacher's aid were dealing with a separate behavioural incident with another student.

A student teacher was asked to begin moving students out of the classroom and when the door opened the seven-year-old, who was holding onto their wheelchair, let it go and it quickly moved down the ramp.

The wheelchair tipped over at the bottom of the ramp and the child hit their head on the concrete landing. They died in hospital four days later.

The court heard it was reasonably practicable for the department to professionally assess the construction and maintenance of all ramps at the school and train staff on the student's care requirements.

An earlier WorkSafe Victoria investigation found the ramp, which did not sit flush with the concrete, had failed to meet safety standards.

It also found the student teacher was not given an induction on the student's special needs and that teaching staff at the school were not properly trained.

AAP has contacted the education department for a response.

Australian Associated Press