Residential care home fined after resident choked to death

Health and safety news :- Residential care home fined after resident choked to death
A care home based in Fleet, Hampshire has been fined after an elderly resident who had difficulties swallowing choked to death on food which had not been cut up.

Winchester Crown Court heard how Mrs Margaret Humphreys’ family had arranged for her to stay at Marlborough House for respite care. They had left clear instructions with the home verbally and in the form of a laminated card which clearly explained how her food needed to be cut into small pieces to avoid the risk of choking.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident which occurred on 16 August 2014, found that Mrs Humphreys had been served uncut meatballs. The home failed to carry out a proper pre-admission assessment of Mrs Humphreys, which would have identified the risk of choking on uncut food.
Residential care home fined after resident choked to death

Craysell Limited, of Hoppingwood Farm, Robin Hood Way, London, pleaded guilty to failing to discharge the duty imposed upon them by Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, was fined £80,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £19,631.

HSE inspector Andrew Johnson said after the hearing: “This was a completely avoidable tragedy. The home was informed in the clearest terms that if Mrs Humphreys was presented with food that was uncut, she would choke, this crucial information was ignored.

“Had Marlborough House properly assessed Mrs Humphreys, the risk of her choking would have been identified and measures put in place to control this risk.

“This case sends out a clear message to the care home sector, illustrating the importance of listening to residents’ family’s instructions and to also properly assess and provide the same standard of care to respite residents as they would to permanent residents. This tragic case must act as a reminder of the importance of properly assessing new residents and that vital information must be properly communicated to care staff.”

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Chemical company fined £3mil after the release of toxic vapour cloud on two separate occasions

A chemical company was sentenced today after a worker was killed and one left with life changing injuries when they were overcome by a toxic vapour cloud.A little over sixteen months later there was another incident involving the same toxic chemical.

Hull Crown Court heard that in the early hours of the 5 March 2010, at the Grimsby plant of Cristal Pigment UK Limited (formerly Millennium Inorganic Chemicals), there was a build-up of Titanium Tetrachloride within a vessel. The chemical came into contact with water creating a violent reaction, which ruptured the vessel. The liquid came into contact with the air creating a large toxic vapour cloud.

One worker Paul Doyley, 48, was showered with the corrosive liquid and blanketed by the rapidly expanding toxic vapour cloud, he died on the 18 March 2010 from his injuries. His colleague Ron Ingoldby was also covered by the dense cloud, surviving his injuries but with irreversible lung damageThe large poisonous vapour cloud rapidly expanded to several metres in height and poured out from the site as a thick, dense white cloud. The wind blew the cloud out across the river Humber and closed down the shipping lanes for several hours, until the incident was eventually brought under control by the Humberside Fire and Rescue Service.

Chemical company fined £3mil after the release of toxic vapour cloud on two separate occasions

The investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company had deviated from the normal operating procedures, which led to the dangerous build-up of the chemical. Parts of the plant and its procedures were poorly designed and the company had not established robust safety management procedures and systems of work to assess and control risk and to ensure that these were actually followed.The following year, on the 27 July 2011, there was another uncontrolled release of a toxic vapour during the cleaning of a redundant vessel.

The vessel, which is normally connected to the chemical production plant, was being replaced. The old vessel was removed and stored, for around three-years, with a number of tonnes of residual Titanium Tetrachloride.

The Health and Safety Executive’s investigation found that the company made the decision to clean the vessel. The company poorly managed the design and installation of fabricated plates to seal the vessel before carrying out the cleaning process. The plates were incompatible, incorrectly designed and used inappropriate sealants that could not contain the gas created during the procedure, releasing a toxic vapour cloud.

Cristal Pigment UK Ltd of Stallingborough pleaded guilty to the following charges: Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, for the 2010 incident and also Regulation 4 of the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 1999 for the 2011 incident. The company was fined £1.8mil and £600,000 for charges associated with the incident on 5 March 2010 and fined £600,000 for the charge associated with the incident on 27 July 2011 with costs of £37,868.00.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Brian Fotheringham commented:

“The incident of 5 March 2010 caused the death of one employee and life changing injuries to another. Had the wind been blowing in the opposite direction it could also have caused a local disaster. However, the company still did not learn lessons from the 2010 incident and had another significant release of the same toxic gas just over a year later.

“This case must act as a reminder to the industry that there can be no room for complacency when dealing with such dangerous chemicals”.

Window fitter in court after worker suffered fatal head injuries

Window fitter in court after worker suffered fatal head injuries.A Southampton window installation company has been fined after a worker suffered fatal head injuries following a fall from a ladder.

Brighton Magistrates Court heard how Mark Taylor, 48, a window fitter from Southampton, was helping in the installation of UPVC windows at a 3 storey house in Brighton on the 10 September 2014. He was working from an unsecured ladder when it slipped sideways and he fell to the ground. The father of two was taken to hospital suffering from head injuries but died the following day.

The Health and Safety Executive investigation found Kevin McLean trading as South Coast Installations, failed to ensure that the work at height was adequately planned and carried out in a manner, which was safe.

Window fitter in court after worker suffered fatal head injuries

Kevin McLean trading as South Coast Installations pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations and was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay x costs.HSE Inspector Amanda Huff, said: “Mark Taylor’s family have been devastated because simple steps where not taken to secure the ladder he was using. If Kevin McLean had ensured a proper risk assessment was carried out this tragic incident could have been prevented.”

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