A security company has been prosecuted after an assault at a young offender’s training facility left a secure care officer in an induced coma.
G4S Care and Justice Services (UK) Ltd was fined £250,000 after an employee suffered life-changing injuries when he was assaulted by four young offenders at a training facility in Milton Keynes.
Milton Keynes Magistrate’s Court heard how on 15 March 2017, secure care officer Ryan Goodenough, who was 21 at the time, was working alone with a group of six inmates at the Oakhill Secure Training Centre. Mr Goodenough had only worked for G4S Care and Justice Services for around three or four months and was running a scheduled activity on the outdoor fenced football pitch.
During the activity, one of the inmates tried to climb the fence. The incident escalated and Mr Goodenough attempted to deal with it alone. However, the situation became hostile and he was attacked by four members of the group.
Mr Goodenough sustained multiple injuries to his head and body and was taken to hospital by ambulance, where he was put in an induced coma for three weeks. He suffered brain damage and had a plate fitted in his skull. He then spent a further two months in a specialist brain injury rehabilitation centre.
'If proper procedures and supervision had been in place to prevent inexperienced officers from working alone in high-risk situations, the life-changing injuries sustained by the employee could have been prevented'
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that G4S Care and Justice Services (UK) Ltd had failed to ensure robust procedures were put in place to ensure that inexperienced staff were not working alone with groups of young people who presented a high risk of violence.
G4S Care and Justice Services pleaded guilty to breaching sections 2(1) and 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. As well as the £250,000 fine, it was ordered to pay costs of £13,787.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Stephen Faulkner said: 'If proper procedures and supervision had been in place to prevent inexperienced officers from working alone in high-risk situations, the life-changing injuries sustained by the employee could have been prevented.'
Mr Goodenough said: 'When I came round from the coma I could not walk without assistance and I would sleep for around 17 hours a day. I was on medication for about a year, this was mainly to prevent epilepsy which is common following a brain injury.'
He added: 'I have a scar and an indentation on my head, this means people always ask me about what happened. I do not like talking about this to people. Even now I struggle to form relationships with people as I find it difficult to trust people.
'I struggle to read and understand things, and I have been referred to a neuropsychologist.'
Thames Valley Police carried out separate criminal investigations against the four individuals involved in the assault. In a civil claim, G4S admitted breaching its duty of care to Mr Goodenough and paid a settlement.
In 2016, G4S was fined £1.8 million for failing to manage the risk of Legionnaires’ disease from its water systems.