Care Home fined £140,000 for equipment related death
Yet another fatality at a care home through failure to adequately maintain a hoist, and provide suitable training on its use; this further stresses the need for compliance with the Code of Practice for community equipment.
Two nursing home owners have been ordered to pay a total of £140,000 after a pensioner died following a fall from a hoist.
The elderly lady fell while being moved from her bed to a chair at a Nursing Home, in Leicester. The 78-year-old banged her head and died the next day, on July 20, 2008.
Two sisters, who owned the home at the time, admitted breaching health and safety rules by failing to ensure the safety of client.
Leicester Crown Court was told the defective 15-year-old hoist was in such a poor condition it could not be used safely and that it had not been properly inspected regularly.
The hoist sling had a two-year lifespan but had been in use for nine.
Jonathan Salmon, prosecuting for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), said: “This tragic accident was entirely avoidable, foreseeable and, perhaps, the sadness is it wouldn’t have cost vast amounts of money to do what is fairly basic maintenance and provision of appropriate slings.”
The HSE found the nurse and care assistant operating the client’s hoist had limited training in manual handling. They also found an unqualified member of staff had been completing maintenance checks at the home.
Sentencing, Judge Robert Brown told the defendants their provision of care fell “far below” the standards required.
Judge Brown said: “Health and safety must be an overriding duty of any owner of a residential nursing home.
HSE inspector Dr Richenda Dixon said: “With properly-maintained equipment, better training and supervision, this incident was easily preventable.”
The main issues related to this case include failure to inspect and maintain equipment, follow manufacturer’s guidelines and provide training to staff, all of which are comprehensively covered in the Code of Practice for community equipment.
CECOPS’ CEO Brian Donnelly comments, “The failures highlighted in this unfortunate case would have been avoided through adherence to the Code of Practice for community equipment. We hear of such cases on a regular basis and we would urge equipment providers everywhere to adopt our Code of Practice to prevent further incidents like this occurring.”
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