Care home fined over defective window restrictors

Topics covered: Ridouts professional advice

A care home has been fined £96,000 and ordered to pay £100,000 in costs following the death of a resident who fell from the window of her first floor bedroom as a result of defective window restrictors.

Windows at the care home had been designed at low levels to allow residents to see out when sitting down or in bed.  This posed an increased risk as the very low height of the sills (650mm) would allow someone to accidentally fall from the window when opening or closing it.  Although all windows were fitted with window restrictors, these were not suitable as they could be easily overridden and the windows could open wide.

It was found that the home manager had contacted the owners asking for double-locked restrictors to be fitted to the windows shortly after the home opened.   In her email she said that the matter was urgent and she was worried that an accident could occur.  A nurse had also said that she showed senior management that it was easy for a person to override the restrictors, the windows were wide enough for someone to fall out and that residents often opened the windows as it was warm in the home.

The home pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

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