Death of a 100 Year Old Resident Leads to £335,000 Fines and Costs


3 mins

Posted on 31 Mar 2015

A healthcare firm and its director have been ordered to pay more than £335,000 in fines and costs after a 100 year-old resident died from injuries she sustained in a fall from a hoist at a Bedfordshire care home.

The owners of the nursing home and its director were both sentenced after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) established that her death could have been prevented had a better system for handling and moving residents, supported by appropriate staff training, been in place.The resident was being moved by two carers between a chair and a bed using a hoist. She suffered multiple fractures when she hit the floor, including her skull, hip and knee, and died the following day as a result of her injuries.

HSE established that her two carers had been employed for less than a year at the time of the incident. The sling used to move the resident was very complicated to fit correctly and the carers were given no training in how to safely use the sling. The sling was also not the one recommended by the Council as being suitable for her medical conditions. The resident was therefore not securely positioned within the sling and when she moved herself forwards, she fell out, hitting the floor.

The court was told that there was a history of serious safety breaches at the care home. HSE served five Improvement Notices relating to deficiencies in resident handling, risk assessment, other risks to residents and a lack of competent health and safety advice.

Inspectors uncovered evidence that this was not the first of this type of incident at the home, with another resident fracturing a tibia and fibula after falling whilst being moved from her wheelchair to her armchair. This incident had not been reported to the HSE and was only discovered when HSE inspectors visited the home after the resident’s fatal fall.

There was no evidence that the director had taken steps to fulfil his health and safety obligations through the provision of training, and the management of the risks most commonly associated with the care industry, including resident handling.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay costs of £36,992.24.

The director pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He was fined £150,000 and ordered to pay costs of £100,000.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Ensure that the business has access to a named competent person
  • Ensure that all staff have suitable and sufficient training for manual handling 
  • Ensure that a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks that residents are potentially exposed to are assessed and controls put in place
  • Ensure that appropriate lifting equipment is used for residents with different needs and that all staff are aware of how to use the equipment.

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