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Care service fined following teenager’s death

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Care service fined following teenager’s death

Care service fined following teenager’s death

A residential care service in New Zealand has been prosecuted and fined after a 15-year-old teenager with multiple disabilities drowned in a bath.

Nathan Booker had profound intellectual and physical disabilities. In January last year, while he was in respite care at an Idea Services facility, he drowned after being left unattended in the bath, according to WorkSafe New Zealand in a media statement.

Following the incident, Idea Services was prosecuted in the Palmerston North District Court under the New Zealand Health and Safety in Employment Act for failing to take all practicable steps to ensure no action or inaction of an employee harmed another person.

The company pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay reparation of $90,000 and fined $63,500.

“Nathan was a young man with complex needs. He was not capable of bathing himself. His care documents stated that he required ‘full support’ and his care plan said that he must be ‘supervised at all times’. He simply should not have been left alone in the bath,” said WorkSafe New Zealand’s chief inspector, Keith Stewart, in a media statement.

“If Nathan had been fully supervised and not left alone during his bath this tragedy is unlikely to have occurred. This case should serve as a wake-up call to the residential care sector to ensure that they fully assess and manage the risks of services such as bathing people with complex needs.”

For more details, visit WorkSafe New Zealand

Published on 12 March 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin.

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