Unsecured Wheelchair User Killed

The Scottish Ambulance Service Board (SASB) has recently been fined £55,000 following an accident that resulted in a 78 year old lady’s death when she was thrown from an ambulance.

Mrs May Morris was thrown from the vehicle in a high speed collision after she had not been adequately secured by staff. The SASB admitted failing to make a suitable and sufficient risk assessment endangering the lives of wheelchair passengers using their vehicles. The SASB failed to provide a wheelchair tie down system and an occupant restraining system which resulted in Mrs Morris being inadequately secured during her journey. Furthermore the SASB failed to provide necessary information instruction and supervision to ensure that the vehicle in question was deployed only for the transportation of wheelchair users.

Mrs Morris’s wheelchair was secured only by light webbing straps to the floor of the vehicle. She herself was secured only by a nylon lap belt which was part of her wheelchair. These in adequate securing systems were contrary to SASB policy for the transportation of a person whilst in their own wheelchair.

Mr Graeme Waller from the Health and Safety Executive said ‘Mrs Morris died unnecessarily as a result of the Scottish Ambulance Service failing to assess the risks associated with the transport of patients in wheelchairs. The prosecution will draw attention to the importance of assessing and ensuring the health and safety of vulnerable people during transit as well as ensuring that vehicles used for patient transport are properly equipped and staff trained in the use of this equipment.’

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