Hospital security guard stabbing: Union demands investigation

5:29 pm on 4 June 2020

E Tū union is calling for a serious harm investigation after two security guards were stabbed with a pair of scissors at Auckland's Middlemore Hospital.

Middlemore Hospital

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Two security guards were stabbed with a pair of scissors while stopping an attack on a hospital staffer in late May.

One of the guards was injured in the hand, while the other received stab wounds to the back of the neck.

The incident was reported to WorkSafe this week.

E Tū delegate Gareth Liley, one of the guards who was stabbed, said it was not the first time workers had been injured on the job at the hospital.

"We have been warning the DHB of the risk of something like this happening. What we need is the right support, personal protective equipment, staffing levels, and training, to ensure we can keep ourselves and our colleagues safe at work," he said.

Union organiser Ahlene McKee understood that it initially was not reported to WorkSafe as it did not reach the threshold for notification.

"Their view is this is not serious enough for them to need to be notified or take any action on."

She said all hospital staff wanted to be able to do their job well but they needed a safe working environment.

"It doesn't matter whether that person is a security guard, a nurse, a doctor or anyone visiting the hospital, it must be a place of safety.

She called for an examination into why WorkSafe had not deemed the incident serious enough to investigate.

"That is really concerning to us. As the independent investigator, why are they not looking at this stuff and why are they leaving it to the hospital and DHB to do all these investigations and draw their own conclusions."

E Tū director Sam Jones said the union has called for an improvement in working conditions at Counties Manukau District Health Board.

A Counties Manukau DHB spokesperson said staff members were treated for injuries and received support.

The spokesperson said health and safety and clinical reviews would occur.

A WorkSafe spokesperson said the organisation was making initial inquiries to determine its next steps, so no further comment would be available at this stage.

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