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Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust has been fined following the death of an 87-year-old man with dementia.

In April 2008 the man was being bathed at the Frank Lloyd Unit, Sittingbourne, when he slipped from a hoist and fell, sustaining injuries, and died the next day, said the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in a media release.

The HSE investigated the incident and reportedly found “poor communication between the nursing staff and the agency care workers”.

It added: “… the care plan was not clear and, in any case, was not shared with the agency carers.

“There was no consideration of the risk of using a bathroom in another ward which precluded any active supervision of the agency carers.”

Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust, of Farm Villa, Hermitage Lane, Maidstone, was prosecuted and pleaded guilty for breaching section 3(1) of the UK Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. It was fined £107,000 and ordered to pay £25,000 in costs.

“This case has shown that it’s not enough to have well-intentioned management procedures if these are not followed through at ward level,” said HSE inspector Jan Combs said in a media statement. “There must be a robust mechanism to communicate care needs to all staff including temporary agency staff. Clear communication is an essential part of good management.”

For more details, visit the HSE

Published on 28 January 2016 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin enewsletter – available free every fortnight direct to your email. Subscribe online today

A company has been fined $120,000 after a worker’s skull was pierced with a steel bar.

The 18-year-old worker was operating an excavator on a demolition job in August 2013 when the incident occurred. As he filled the excavator’s sifting bucket with concrete and steel, a steel bar flew into the cabin of the excavator, pieced his skull and penetrated 10cm into his brain.

SafeWork NSW investigated and found that the excavator was operated with the glass front screen open—and that the supervisor had observed the worker operating the excavator with it open prior to the incident but failed to instruct the operator to close it.

The company, NMK Pty Ltd, was prosecuted in the District Court of New South Wales (NSW), found guilty and fined $120,000 for breaching the NSW Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

“The risk of an excavator operator being struck by a flying object and the need to shut the front safety screen during excavation is widely known and understood within the demolition and excavation industry,” executive director of SafeWork NSW (formerly WorkCover NSW), Peter Dunphy said in a media statement.

“Fortunately the worker did not suffer a significant brain injury as a result of the incident but the outcome could have been very different.”

For more details, visit SafeWork NSW

Published on 22 October 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin enewsletter – available free every fortnight direct to your email. Subscribe online today.

The owner of a roofing company has been hit with a nine-month suspended jail sentence for threatening and intimidating a WorkCover NSW inspector.

The business owner threatened and intimidated the inspector while the inspector was visiting the owner’s workplace and for a number of days after the visit, said WorkCover NSW in a media release. During the visit, the inspector had asked the owner not to work at heights unless he and his worker used the required safety equipment, WorkCover added.

Following the incident the owner was charged and prosecuted for not following a WorkCover inspector’s direction and obstructing the WorkCover inspector. He pled guilty to breaching work health and safety (WHS) laws in NSW and was fined a total of $16,000.

The owner was also ordered to pay $5000 to cover WorkCover’s legal costs.

“Inspectors are required to ensure workplaces comply with obligations under the Work Health & Safety Act. Inspectors have legislated powers to enter workplaces and assess site safety and workplace compliance. Employers need to respect this and allow inspectors to do their job to reduce the risk of serious injury or harm,” said Peter Dunphy, WorkCover’s Executive Director of Work Health and Safety, in a media release.

“WorkCover will take appropriate action, including enforcement action through the courts, with regard to any conduct that subjects its inspectors to the risk of harm to their health and safety.”

For more details, visit WorkCover NSW

Published on 18 June 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin.

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.

Hungry Jack’s has been fined $90,000 after one of its South Australian employees was severely burned and it failed to call an ambulance.

The young worker had been asked by his supervisor to filter cooking oil from deep-fryers using a mobile filter.

“During the process, the worker slipped and fell into the open top of the mobile filtration unit, which resulted in hot oil splashing onto him,” said SafeWork SA in a media statement.

“An ambulance was not called, despite the worker sustaining third-degree burns to more than 10 per cent of his body, including his right hand, forearm and right-side torso, requiring skin grafts.”

SafeWork SA prosecuted Hungry Jack’s in the Industrial Relations Court of SA under the former Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare Act 1986. The charges included failing to provide safe plant, failing to maintain safe systems of work and failing to provide a procedure which ensured that employees received proper medical treatment.

Hungry Jack’s was fined $150,000, which was reduced to $90,000 plus costs following the company’s early guilty plea and contrition.

Hungry Jack’s had been prosecuted for a similar incident that occurred in July 2003.

“Since these incidents, Hungry Jack’s has reviewed its policies and procedures for oil filtering and will now install self-filtering deep-fryers in SA,” said SafeWork SA.

“The company has also committed to spend more than $5 million replacing existing fryers with self-filtering fryers nationally.”

For more details, visit SafeWork SA

Published on 26 February 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin

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