Care home’s equipment related safety failures led to elderly woman’s death
Another unnecessary equipment related fatality has taken place in a care home setting, again further stressing the need for compliance with the Code of Practice for community equipment.
The owners of a West Yorkshire care home have been told to pay £183,000 in fines and costs after a frail 93 year-old widow died because established safety measures were neglected.
The 93 year-old asphyxiated after becoming trapped in the gap between her mattress and incorrectly-fitted bed safety rails at Aden Court Care Home in Huddersfield on 24 April 2010.
New Century Care Ltd of Sidcup, Kent, a private company with around 27 UK care homes, was prosecuted for a serious safety breach by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after it investigated the incident. Leeds Crown Court was told today on 10 September that the company, which has some 1,700 employees, had failed to train staff at Aden Court to fit bed safety rails.
HSE found also that staff were not trained to carry out regular ‘in-use’ checks to make sure bed rails remained properly adjusted, or to carry out risk assessments for their use.
New Century Care Ltd of River House, Maidstone Road, Sidcup, Kent, was fined £160,000 and ordered to pay £18,000 in costs for breaching Section 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The firm had pleaded guilty at a previous hearing. Read details in full HERE
CECOPS’ CEO Brian Donnelly comments, “CECOPS recently reported on another equipment related fatality within a care home setting – see HERE. CECOPS have agreed to work with HSE and other key stakeholders to help organisations to be clear about what their equipment related responsibilities are, as set out in the officially recognised Code of Practice.”
HSE recently officially endorsed CECOPS’ Code of Practice and said, “The provision of community equipment is a very important growth area. HSE recognises the need for guidance, and welcomes the code of practice developed by CECOPS. The code will help organisations who commission or provide community equipment make health and safety improvements in their businesses.”