Independent Homecare Provider Fined £90,00 after Moving & Handling Fatality

An Independent Homecare Provider has been fined £90,000 and ordered to pay £19,247 costs to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in a prosecution by the HSE, after being found guilty at a hearing at Southwark Crown Court of an offence as provided by Section 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, following the death of 95-year-old woman in their care.

A resident at the home since 2001, the victim was unable to walk or move independently. On 28 November 2003, she slipped from a Sarita hoist, which was being used to get her out of a bath, and fractured her shoulder. While waiting for surgery on her shoulder, she contracted pneumonia and subsequently died on 2 December 2003.

Following the sentencing hearing at Southwark Crown Court, HSE Inspector Hazel McCallum said,

“All too often we hear of cases where vulnerable, elderly people are not afforded the standard of care they deserve because the systems in place are not properly followed. The tragedy is that this woman’s death was entirely avoidable.”

The care assistant who was attending the victim had been employed for around six weeks but had not received training and was unfamiliar with this type of hoist. Risk assessments and procedures for manual handling and safe bathing were not brought to the attention of care assistants and the supervision of staff carrying out lifting operations was deemed inadequate.

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