£91,000 in fine and costs after care home death

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KCRH Limited, the former operators of the Laleham Residential Home in Herne Bay, has today (Friday 28 April) been fined £60,000 following the death of an employee at the premises in 2013.

Canterbury City Council, which brought the prosecution, was awarded costs of £31,000 at the sentencing at Canterbury Crown Court. KCRH Limited had pleaded guilty to two charges under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 at a hearing on Tuesday 7 February.

Joan Daws, who was a senior carer at the home in Central Parade, died after suffering crushing injuries while transporting a mobile weighing chair in the passenger lift at the home on 16 October 2013.

Following the accident, the council’s Environmental Protection team carried out an extensive health and safety investigation, working closely with Kent Police and the Health and Safety Executive, which led to the prosecution.

The proceedings were brought in respect of criminal offences of breaching the general duties owed under section 2(1) of the Act, relating to employees, and section 3(1), relating to non-employees, including residents of and people visiting The Laleham.

Sentencing today, Judge James O’Mahony concluded the breaches “amounted to systemic and long standing failure to protect the safety of residents, staff and visitors”.

The council’s Senior Technical Officer in Environmental Protection, Nick Mayne, said: “Managing health and safety risk in the workplace is of paramount importance and businesses must take it seriously. Mrs Daws would not have died had an electrical device been fitted to the lift, so her death was entirely preventable.

“We hope this case sends out a very clear message that we will take action against those that fail in their duty to keep their staff and customers safe.”