A nursing home has been fined £70,000 after an elderly lady suffocated when she became trapped between her mattress and bed rails.
The lady’s upper body had slid down to the floor between the bed mattresses and bed rails which had been installed to protect her from falling out of bed. At the trial it was revealed that the same lady had previously been trapped in the same way three weeks earlier but nothing had been done to arrange alternative bedding.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation revealed that employees in the home had not been trained recently on the safe use of bed rails, or the danger which caused the incident in question.
Employers have a duty not only to train staff, but also to adequately risk assess all of the activities being undertaken by the business.
This case illustrates the fact that a failure to do so does not only endanger employees, but also service users and often members of the wider public.
The care home in this case pleaded guilty to section 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, and regulation 3 (1) Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 which states that;
“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, for the purpose of identifying the measures he needs to take to comply with the requirements and prohibitions imposed upon him by or under the relevant statutory provisions.”
If you require any advice on Employer’s Liability Law, please contact Gregory Abrams Davidson LLP on the above number.