Care Home Death Prosecution
Care home death: £5000 fine
Health and Safety Executive v Greencroft Care Ltd (2014) Mold magistrates’ court, September 25.
Greencroft Care Ltd, the owner of Greencroft Nursing Home in Queensferry, Deeside, has been fined following the death of a resident.
Significant points of the case
In August 2012 Beatrice Morgan, aged 88, a resident of the care home who was unable to walk, was lowered into a bath using a hoist. She cried out when she touched the water and suffered nine per cent burns from the scalding water. She later died from her injuries.
The temperature of the water was not properly controlled to prevent it exceeding 44 degrees Celsius. Mixing valves had been fitted to control the temperature but they had not been properly maintained.
Staff at the home had been instructed to check the temperature of bath water with a thermometer but no checks were made by management to ensure that this was done. The company had failed to adequately assess the risks of using hot water and had failed to provide sufficient training, instruction and supervision.
The company was fined £5000 for a breach of section 3, HSW Act. The court commented that if the company had not been in liquidation, the fine would have been at least £100,000.
A spokesperson for the HSE commented after the case that the incident could have been avoided if the company had observed the readily available guidance on bathing vulnerable people. Nursing homes and other organisations caring for vulnerable people must make sure that they fit and maintain the right kind of mixer on hot bath taps and properly supervise their staff.