Hospice sentenced after Legionella death

Southwark Crown Court have sentenced a Sydenham based hospice after a patient died of Legionnaires’ disease and a worker suffered life changing effects as a result of contracting legionnaires disease.

The court heard how a man was admitted to St Christopher’s Hospice (SCH) on 9 July 2012. He was taken to a nearby Hospital on the 12 August 2012.  He later died on 17 August 2012. He was subsequently found to have died of Legionnaires’ disease which he contracted during his time at the Hospice.

Later that year, December 2012, an orderly worker contracted Legionnaires’ disease while carrying out her duties at the Hospice and spent 18 days in a coma before making a recovery.

After the hearing HSE inspector Matt Raine said:

“The risks of legionella are well known in the healthcare industry. St Christophers Hospice had implemented some measures in an attempt to control legionella. However they failed to appoint a competent person to manage the risk of legionella in the Hospice’s hot and cold water system.

The failures in the management of legionella led to conditions in hot and cold water system that favoured the proliferation of legionellae. It was entirely foreseeable that there would be risk of contracting legionnaires disease for patients and employees working at this hospice.”

St Christopher’s Hospice, of Lawrie Park Road, Sydenham, London, pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 3(1) and 2(1)of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was sentenced to a two year conditional discharge, and ordered to pay costs of £25,000.

Click for further information on legionnaires  and visit our water safety services page for measures you can take to stay compliant.

Death of an Elderly Resident at Middlesex Care Home

An elderly resident of a Surrey Care Home has died from scalding injuries.  The care home, based in Middlesex has been fined.

Guildford Crown Court heard how the 89-year-old was receiving personal care from two employees of European Healthcare Group Plc at Old Wall Cottage Nursing Home. She received significant scalding injuries, and subsequently died of her injuries in hospital.

The incident, which occurred on 30 August 2011 was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).  The investigation found that the bathroom taps in were not adjusted to limit the temperature of the water to a safe level for bathing and showering.

The investigation also found that while the company had policies and procedures in place they were deficient and the company failed to effectively communicate information and instruction to its staff so that the control measures could be implemented effectively.

European Healthcare Group Plc, of Windsor Street, Uxbridge, Middlesex, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £50,000.

HSE inspector Michelle Canning said after the hearing:

“This tragic and preventable incident highlights the responsibility that all care providers have to protect the safety of people in their care. People who live in residential care and nursing homes are amongst some of the most vulnerable in our society and rely on others to provide a safe environment for them to live in.

All healthcare premises have a legal duty to control the risks of scalding injuries from bathing or showering and there is guidance that is well established and simple to implement.”

View the Quantum Compliance ‘How to monitor Water Temperatures‘  video

£500,000 fine issued to London Borough of Havering

The large fine was issued to the London Borough of Havering after a road maintenance worker sliced his leg to the bone while he was pruning trees with a cut-off saw.

Southwark Crown Court heard that Ball was cutting branches at Holly Tree Cottage in Romford on 2 March 2015 using a Sthil cut-off saw with an inappropriate blade and no safety equipment.  The blade became stuck and on pulling it free the blade ran across the top of the worker’s left leg. He needed surgery and 60 stitches, and also sustained muscle and ligament damage.

George Ball, 58, did not receive any training from the local authority, which also failed to follow health and safety procedures, Romford Recorder reported.

The investigation by the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) found that the wrong equipment was being used for the task and there was no risk assessment for the use of the saw and blade. It said a safe system of work should have been in place that identified suitable machinery for the task.

London Borough of Havering Council pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 4(2) and 4(3) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations, which covers selecting work equipment and ensuring it is only used for operations for which it is suitable.

In court Vivek D’Cruz, prosecuting, was quoted as saying:

“Mr Ball had never read or been directed to the manuals for the equipment he used in his job, including the cut-off saw that caused him such a serious injury that day. Nor did he know where such manuals were kept.

He has never seen or been directed to the risk assessments that applied to his work nor has he seen the safe working procedures. It wasn’t until after the incident where he sustained the serious injury that he was shown a training video. This video specifically stated that the blade was not to be used on the saw.”

The £500,000 fine is one of the first to be imposed on a local authority since the new sentencing guidelines for health and safety offences were introduced earlier this year. The council must also pay prosecution costs of £8,240, however is said to be considering an appeal against the penalty because it believes it is too high.

Large fire at Battersea Industrial Estate

100 firefighters have tackled a major blaze that broke out just metres away from Clapham Junction station, one of the UK’s busiest railway stations.  The fire has led to no trains being allowed into or out of Victoria Station.   Delays  were more than six hours.

Crews were called to Parkfield Industrial Estate, where flames leapt from rooftops alongside the track.  Southern Trains warned of delays across its network, but services were later restored and the fire is under control.   London Fire Brigade said some fire crews remained at the site and were damping it down.

Crews from Lambeth, Brixton, Tooting, Chelsea and Peckham to the scene in Culvert Place, after the first emergency call at 20:51 BST Wednesday 13th July.

A fire service spokesman said:

“Brigade 999 control officers have taken around 90 emergency calls to the incident.”

The brigade urged people living close to the estate to keep their doors and windows shut because of the smoke.

In a tweet, Southern Rail said delays would last into the early hours, with all lines shut between Clapham Junction and Victoria. At about 04:30 14th July however, the company confirmed all lines between the stations had been reopened.

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