02 March, 2020
It has been reported by the CQC that the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution has been fined £50,000 plus legal costs, following an incident at a care home in which a resident sustained serious injuries.
In 2016, a resident fell and became stuck against a hot pipe, suffering significant burns to her back. The CQC investigation found the organisation had "failed in their duty to implement systems and processes to protect people from hot surfaces, meaning the incident could have been avoided".
The care provider pleaded guilty to failing to provide safe care and treatment, resulting in avoidable harm to a resident of the home.
Regrettably, the risk of serious burns from uncovered pipes and radiators appears to be a common problem in care homes. Care home providers must implement systems and train staff to prevent such accidents from occurring.
A college has been fined for exposing employees and subcontractors to asbestos during the refurbishment of a flat owned by the college. During the works, asbestos was discovered in the floor voids after work had been carried out in them. An asbestos refurbishment survey had not been carried out. One employee, who contaminated his gloves and clothing with loose asbestos debris, had not had asbestos awareness training and spread asbestos from his clothing outside the flat.
An investigation by the HSE found that there was inadequate planning and management of the refurbishment work. Newnham College pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 5 and 16 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. It has been fined £12,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,450.28.
A refurbishment/demolition survey is required where the premises, or part of it, needs upgrading, refurbishment or demolition. The survey will locate and identify all asbestos containing material before any structural work begins.
Under Regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, the duty holder must ensure that a suitable and sufficient assessment is carried out as to whether asbestos is or is liable to be present in the premises. If it is present, duty holders must then make a written plan to manage that risk and provide this information to others who are likely to disturb the asbestos.
A Council has been fined £9308.00 after a worker fell from a roof whilst retrieving a child's shoe. He had climbed onto the roof from a stepladder when he slipped and fell. He sustained eight broken ribs, a lacerated liver and a punctured lung.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the Council did not have a risk assessment or a safe system for working at height in place to retrieve items from the roof.
The Council pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4 (1) of Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £9,308.00 with £7,699.32 costs.
According to the HSE, working at height remains one of the biggest causes of fatalities and major injuries in the UK. In this instance, the school ought to have carried out a risk assessment and implemented a safe method of working at height. Regulation 4 (1) of The Work at Height Regulations 2005 provides that every employer should ensure that work at height is properly planned, appropriately supervised and carried out in a manner which is so far as is reasonably practicable safe, and that its planning includes the selection of work equipment is appropriate to the nature of the work to be performed (regulation 7).
A waste management and packing company has been fined after a worker was seriously injured after being struck by a falling bale of compacted wastepaper weighing approximately 500kg and becoming trapped underneath it.
The HSE has reported that its investigation revealed that the method of storing bales was unsuitable and bales were stacked in single columns up to five high with no support or 'tying in' to aid stability. The investigation also found that the practice of removing contamination from bales by hand created voids in lower bales contributing to the risk of stack instability.
Recycled Packaging Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £20,000.
After the hearing, the HSE inspector Jane Scott acknowledged that "in the waste and recycling sector the risks associated with falling objects are well known. This incident could easily have been avoided by providing a segregated workspace for operatives to clean bales before they are stacked and safe bale stacking procedures".
Further advice and guidance can be found on the HSE website here.