ChildForum Office of Pre-Primary Education

ChildForum Office of Pre-Primary EducationLead advisor on early childhood care and education 
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News - World Headlines

Teachers sue for injuries caused in working with children


hug teacher group gameEarly childhood centre teachers and home-based educators in Australia can sue their employers should adequate protection and training not be in place to provide the highest level of health and safety, as far as is reasonably practicable.

Example 1:

A teacher is taking her employee to court for damages after an incident when she was changing the nappy of a three-year-old and injured her back in the process, reported The Gold Coast Bulletin on 1 January 2017.

She has claimed $213,829.08 in damages for negligence and breach of contract occasioning in personal injury after she allegedly injured her lumbar spine after reaching out for a child who jumped off the change table, according to court documents.

The claim lodged last month occurred back in 2014 and the teacher - who is still employed by the learning centre - wants $150,000 for future economic losses and $11,303.58 for future medical expenses,

According to the claim, the teacher says the child should have been in the preschool room for children aged three to five and the centre should have provided mats and tables closer to ground level to prevent injury to the children in case they jumped off. The centre allegedly did not provide a safe workplace or carry out a risk assessment when it came to changing nappies on the tables.

Example 2:

A home-based educator, 62, claims her job has destroyed her plans to work into her 70s and injury has forced her to retire early, reported the Herald Sun, (6/11/2016).  Below is a precis of the Herald Sun report.

She has cared for children from her home for a decade, but this has left her with an injured back.

She is now suing the City of Port Phillip for lost earnings and damages (potential claim in excess of $500,000 which would be for lost su­per­annuation and wages alone). Her medical expenses have since been paid under the Accident Compensation Act.

She claims that frequent repetitive lifting and bending and handling of children, often from awkward positions, had led to the aggravation of degenerative changes at several points on her spine and a resulting psychiatric injury.

She claims council was negligent by allowing repetitive bending and lifting, by failing to devise, implement or enforce a system to prevent it, and by failing to assess the risks or warn her of them.

She alleges council also failed to provide adequate assistance, adequately train her to undertake her duties safely, properly supervise her, and support her with specialist therapists to minimise the risk of injury to her spine.

The statement of claim alleges council also failed to properly respond to her reports of pain on 3 occasions, and gave her older, heavier children after she had asked for a mix of ages. 

Read more:

Workplace health and safety for teachers in Australia - an article by Dr Wendy Boyd


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  • Centre Owner

    Having heard a colleague talk about how useful she had found their material I joined. ChildForum's replies to my queries are prompt, extremely informative & with a genuine personal touch. I am impressed by the commitment to research & courage in tackling the hard issues like the risks of poor quality care for under 2s
    Val Morrison, Centre Owner
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