Care Home Prosecuted Over Accident Leading To Back Injury

Manchester Care Home Is Fined For Safety Failings

07.05.2014

A care home in Manchester has been prosecuted over a series of safety failings that led to a resident suffering a serious back injury.

The Nada Residential and Nursing Home in the Cheetham Hill area of the city was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) over an incident in December 2012 in which a vulnerable resident - a 63-year-old with dementia - fell out of his bedroom window, suffering a broken back as well as fractures to his knee and leg.

He had been trying to get some fresh air and the investigation found there were no restrictors placed on the window to protect against such an incident happening.

This issue was raised in court by the HSE, which said the risk of such falls was well known in the care sector and best prevented by having restrictors that would prevent windows opening by more than ten centimetres. Its investigation concluded Nada had not taken action to assess the risk or act to deal with it.

Commenting on the case, HSE inspector Lorna Sherlock said: "The 63-year-old man was badly injured in the fall but it could easily have been much worse.

"It simply should not have been possible for him to be able to push open his bedroom window to a point where there was a risk of him falling out."

She noted the home has now fitted such restrictors - but this came too late for the resident.

Nada Residential and Nursing Home pleaded guilty at Trafford Magistrates' Court to one breach each of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. It was fined £8,000 with £597 costs.

Falls are one of the most common causes of back injuries, with these often being avoidable accidents affecting either vulnerable individuals in care or people working at height.

Expert Opinion
This is a shocking case and highlights the life changing consequences that can occur when care homes fail to take the appropriate measures to protect residents from serious injury.

“Simple window restrictors could have prevented this incident from occurring, yet the home failed to appreciate the importance of these until it was too late for this patient.

“Sadly, this is not a one-off case as we are regularly contacted by family members of other vulnerable people who have suffered similar injuries, or worse, as a result of falling from windows or height.

“We hope lessons are learned from this case throughout the care industry to prevent anyone else from suffering unnecessarily.”
Stephen Nye, Partner