The following health and safety incident could have been so much worse and could quite easily have been a fatality after a 4.5m fall from height.

A care home for vulnerable adults has been fined after a resident was injured in a fall from height.

Airdrie Sheriff Court heard how on 29 July 2019, a resident of Hillend View Care Home was found lying on the ground outside his bedroom window by a care assistant. He had fallen 4.5 metres and sustained multiple fractures including a fractured pelvis, right acetabulum and right humeral head.

Risk Assessment

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the safety chains that were place in the resident’s bedroom to be inadequate to prevent the risk of falls. The care home had not assessed the risk of vulnerable residents falling from height.

Hillend View Limited of Airdrie Road, Caldercruix pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £21,000.

The HSE commented after the hearing: “Risks of falls from windows in care settings are well documented in HSE guidance which is readily available online. This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices. Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.” (Source Health & Safety Executive)

Health & Safety Learning Points

  • This health and safety case is a warning to all care homes to check the system they have in place to stop falls from height from residents’ bedrooms.
  • There should be risk assessments in place to safeguard such issues.
  • Staff should be trained to check all exits and egress to make sure they work but also that they can’t be accessed by vulnerable residents.
  • Daily checks of resident’s windows and doors should be considered.
  • Always consider looking at HSE guidance also.

Health & Safety Support

HR Solutions’ Health, Safety and Environment division, called HSE Solutions, provides you with access to a Competent Person to help de-risk your working environment from accidents. To find out more about how our HSE Solutions service can help your business, visit www.hrsolutions-uk.com/health-and-safety or call us on 0844 324 5840.

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