• Robert Spicer

Another care home death despite warnings: £335,000 fines

Care home death: £335,000 fines and costs

Health and Safety Executive v GA Projects Ltd and Mohammed Zarook (2015) Luton Crown Court, March 27

GA Projects Ltd, the company which owns the Meppershall Care Home in Bedfordshire, and Mohammed Zarook, the company’s director, have ben fined following the death of a resident.

Significant points of the case

  • In August 2010 May Ward, aged 100, was being moved by two carers at the Home. She fell from a hoist and suffered multiple fatal injuries.

  • The two carers had been employed for less than a year. The hoist used to move Mrs Ward had a complex operating procedure and the carers had not been trained in how to use it safely. The hoist was not recommended by the local authority as being suitable for Mrs Ward’s condition. She was not securely positioned and when she moved forwards she fell out.

  • There was a history of serious safety breaches at the Home. The HSE had served five improvement notices between October and December 2010 related to resident handling, risk assessment and a lack of competent health and safety advice.

  • Another resident had suffered leg fractures after falling when being moved from a wheelchair to an armchair in September 2009.

  • Zarook had no knowledge or experience of running care homes. He proceeded to take vulnerable residents into his three care homes. There was no evidence that he had taken steps to fulfil his health and safety obligations through the provision of training and the management of risks most commonly associated with the care industry, including resident handling.

  • The Care Quality Commission had inspected the Home and had given it poor ratings. The Home was closed in July 2013.

GA Projects Ltd was fined £50,000 plus £36,000 costs for a breach of section 3, HSW Act, for failing to ensure the health and safety of non-employees.

Zarook was fined £150,000 plus £100,000 costs under section 37, HSW Act.

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