Head Of Training, The Healthy Work Company

November 20, 2014

Get the SHP newsletter

Daily health and safety news, job alerts and resources

Care home to pay almost £200k following resident’s fatal fall

A Welsh care home has been sentenced following the death of a 92-year-old resident, who managed to overcome a restrictor device to open a window and fall from her first floor room on 5 November 2010.

Olga Llewellyn, a resident at Brocastle Manor Care Home in Ewenny, Bridgend sustained fatal injuries falling from her bedroom window between 4am and 7am. Her body was found by care home staff.

At Cardiff Crown Court on 19 November the care home owner, Hafod Care Association Ltd, was prosecuted by HSE for failing to ensure the safety of a resident.

An investigation by HSE found that all the windows in Brocastle were fitted with the same type of window restrictors, which were unsuitable for use in a care home because they could be easily over-ridden, so that the window could open wide.

Hafod Care Association Ltd, of Culverhouse Cross, Cardiff, pleaded guilty to one charge under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £96,000 and ordered to pay £100,000 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Janet Viney, said: “This tragic incident could easily have been avoided if Hafod Care had fitted suitable window restrictors. The care home had been open for more than two years and although window restrictors were fitted, they were unsuitable because they could be easily over-ridden.

“Falls from windows are a very well known risk in the health and care sectors.  For example between 2005 and 2010 there were 21 fatal accidents from this cause across the UK.

“It is therefore essential that care homes take measures to ensure vulnerable residents are kept safe. They should carry out a risk assessment and where it identifies that individuals are at risk from falls from windows then adequate restrictors should be fitted.

“These should restrict the opening to 100mm, be robust and not able to be over-ridden without the use of a specialist tool or key. In this case the risks were particularly high because of the very low (650mm) window sill height, which would allow someone to accidentally fall from the window when opening or closing it.”

The Safety Conversation Podcast: Listen now!

The Safety Conversation with SHP (previously the Safety and Health Podcast) aims to bring you the latest news, insights and legislation updates in the form of interviews, discussions and panel debates from leading figures within the profession.

Find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts, subscribe and join the conversation today!

Related Topics

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments