Care Home Fine ‘A Warning Over Chemical Handling’

Resident Died After Drinking Toilet Cleaner


The importance for care homes to have proper standards in place regarding the control and management of chemicals has been highlighted by a Sheffield case, a specialist at Irwin Mitchell has warned.

Palms Row Healthcare has been fined £15,000 and ordered to pay costs after Newfield Care Home resident Derek Johnson died after drinking chemicals in an incident in July 2009.

Sheffield Magistrates Court heard that the deceased - who was blind and had symptoms of dementia - was taken to hospital after vomiting blue liquid. He died several hours later and it was revealed that the liquid was toilet cleaner left in his room.

A Health and Safety Executive investigation revealed Palms Row Healthcare did not have a system in place to control the handling of such chemicals and prevent vulnerable people from accessing such fluids.

Katrina Elsey, an expert at Irwin Mitchell who specialises in advising families on public liability cases of this kind, said: “Care homes have a duty to uphold certain safety standards that ensure vulnerable residents are looked after in the correct manner.

“This incident undoubtedly highlights serious concerns which all care home operators should take into account, with a view to guaranteeing that no one faces unnecessary risks.

“We would urge all care home firms to pay special attention to this case to ensure all cleaning fluids and hazardous substances are managed and handled properly.”