• Robert Spicer

Care Home Death: £100,000 Fine

Health and Safety Executive v Western Park Leicester Ltd (2014) Leicester Crown Court, January 23.

A company which owns a care home in Leicester has been fined following the death of a vulnerable patient.

Significant points of the case

  • In May 2012 Walter Powley, aged 85, was admitted to Western Park View, a care home, after his family was advised that he could not be safely left at home because of his risk of falling.

  • Powley fell in his room at the home. He was trapped between a wardrobe and a radiator. He suffered serious burns to his legs from the radiator pipe and valves. The injuries were fatal.

  • The pipes and valves were not covered and had temperatures of 73 degrees centigrade.

  • The company was aware that the deceased was at risk of falls and injury and that staff should be vigilant. It had failed to assess the risks in his room and had not taken appropriate action to control and manage the risks.

The company was fined £100,000 plus £35,000 costs for a breach of section 3, HSW Act, for failing to ensure the health and safety of non-employees.

An HSE inspector commented after the case that this had been a foreseeable and preventable fatal accident. The scalding or burning risks from the pipes were longstanding and could have caused injury to any resident. The company had failed to heed published guidance from the HSE about the need to cover hot pipes and valves.

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