Regulatory Update - April

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27 April, 2020

CQC stops routine inspections during COVID-19 pandemic

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has announced that it has stopped routine inspections from Monday 16 March. It has confirmed that during the COVID-19 pandemic, "the CQC's primary objective will be to support providers to keep people safe during a period of unprecedented pressure on the health and care system" although it has warned that it may still be necessary to use their inspection powers where there is clear evidence of harm, such as allegations of abuse.

When to report COVID-19 under RIDDOR

The HSE has offered guidance when a report under RIDDOR (The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013) must be made. It has confirmed that the following should be reported under RIDDOR:

  • an unintended incident at work has led to someone's possible or actual exposure to coronavirus. This must be reported as a dangerous occurrence.
  • a worker has been diagnosed as having COVID 19 and there is reasonable evidence that it was caused by exposure at work. This must be reported as a case of disease.
  • a worker dies as a result of occupational exposure to coronavirus.

For further information https://www.hse.gov.uk/news/riddor-reporting-coronavirus

Health Board fined after three patients die in acute psychiatric ward

A Health Board has been fined following three incidents where patients died by suicide using ligature points. The patients were admitted to a general adult psychiatry ward and were acutely unwell and often not in a position to ensure their own safety.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Tayside Health Board "failed to assess, manage and control the risk of severe injury and death associated with ligature anchor points. Private bedrooms within the facility had multiple ligatures points which could have been removed to reduce the risk to patients on the ward. The Health Board failed to effectively communicate risks associated with the ligature points to staff who were required to monitor and assess patients. A previous attempt by one patient to secure a ligature to a ligature anchor point was not communicated to the staff who monitored her. She later successfully took her own life by the same method".

Tayside Health Board pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 3(1) and Section 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work Act and was fined £120,000.

Source: press.hse.gov.uk/2020/03/19/tayside-health-board-fined-after-three-patients-died-in-acute-psychiatric-ward/

Landlord receives suspended prison sentence for gas safety failings

A landlord who failed to maintain gas appliances or carry out the appropriate gas safety checks has received a suspended prison sentence.

According to the HSE, a previous tenant informed them that no landlord's gas safety checks had been carried out for three years. The landlord failed to provide any gas safety records for the tenanted property and a formal Improvement Notice was served requiring him to arrange for the gas appliances at his tenanted property to be checked and maintained. The landlord ignored this Improvement Notice.

The landlord pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 36(3)(a) and 36(2)(a) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. He was sentenced to 15 weeks in prison for each offence, both suspended for 18 months, and ordered to pay costs of £1,500.

Forbes comment

Landlords are legally responsible for the safety of tenants in relation to gas safety. In accordance with the law they must repair and maintain gas pipework, flues and appliances in safe condition, ensure an annual gas safety check is performed on each appliance and flue and keep records of each safety check. Further information can be found here.

Source: press.hse.gov.uk/2020/03/11/plymouth-landlord-receives-suspended-prison-sentence-after-gas-safety-failings/

Worker loses her thumb on a processing line

An agency worker had her thumb severed on a moving part of a processing line whilst working for a poultry processing company. According to the HSE, the worker got her thumb stuck, and was pulled around with the conveyor. Her thumb was traumatically severed. The investigation by the HSE found there was no emergency stop for the worker when she became caught in the conveyor.

Chesterfield Poultry Ltd (CPL) trading as Iqbal Poultry (IQP)pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974. The company has been fined £300,000 and ordered to pay £5,046.29 in costs.

Forbes comment

The HSE inspector Eddy Tarn commented after the hearing that "Companies must ensure that measures are in place to prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery and provide a means to stop machinery should an emergency happen."

More information on the safe use of work equipment, including stop controls can be found here.

Source: //press.hse.gov.uk/2020/03/04/company-fined-after-worker-loses-thumb/

For more information contact Ridwaan Omar in our Insurance department via email or phone on 01254 222457. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

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