A Manchester care home has been fined for safety failings after a vulnerable resident was badly injured when he fell from a first floor window.
The privately-run Nada Residential and Nursing Home was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the incident at its premises on Cheetham Hill Road on 1 December 2012.
Trafford Magistrates’ Court today (2 May 2014) heard the 63-year-old man, who suffers from dementia, was found on the ground under his bedroom window with fractures to his leg, knee and back. He told staff he had wanted to get some fresh air.
The court was told the risk of patients falling from open windows was well known in the care home sector, and restrictors should have been fitted to the widows to prevent them from opening more than ten centimetres.
The HSE investigation found the care home had failed to properly assess the risk of residents falling from windows, or take suitable action to prevent this from happening.
Nada Residential and Nursing Home was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £597 after pleading guilty to single breaches of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Lorna Sherlock said:
“The care home looks after people with dementia or mental health conditions and so many of its residents are particularly vulnerable.
“The 63-year-old man was badly injured in the fall but it could easily have been much worse. It simply should not have been possible for him to be able to push open his bedroom window to a point where there was a risk of him falling out.
“Nada has now fitted restrictors to all of its windows to stop them opening more than a few centimetres. If these had been in place at the time of the incident then the resident’s injuries could have been avoided.”
Information on improving safety in care homes is available at www.hse.gov.uk/healthservices.
Notes to Editors:
- The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice; promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice; and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
- Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: “It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.”
- Regulation 3(1)(b) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 states: “Every employer shall make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to the health and safety of persons not in his employment arising out of or in connection with the conduct by him of his undertaking.”
- HSE news releases are available at www.hse.gov.uk/press.