Elderly Care Home Resident Lowered into Scalding Bath

A company which owns a nursing home in Essex was fined after an elderly man was lowered into a bath with the water possibly as hot as 72°C.

The company appeared at Southend Magistrates Court in June and was fined £5,000 by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and ordered to pay £5,989 in costs after admitting to a breach of section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act, 1974.
The resident Mr Michael Ginn (72) was living at West House Nursing Home in Westcliff-on-Sea run by a London based company Rootcroft Ltd when he suffered first degree burns to his feet in May 2009 and was treated at Southend Hospital.

Investigations by the HSE found no thermostatic mixing valve was fitted to the water supply to prevent the temperature getting too hot. Instead staff had been instructed to check the water temperature with a thermometer before bathing a resident, but no checks were made by management to ensure this was taking place. One member of staff told HSE inspectors that they had used a gloved hand to check how hot the water was.

HSE Inspector Sue Matthews said “Rootcroft Ltd failed in its duties and instead a vulnerable resident suffered a painful injury. This could have been worse – several fatal scaldings have occurred in healthcare settings since 2001.”

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