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Council fined for elderly lady’s fall

Posted in: Public Place Accidents 

An 82-year-old dementia sufferer has sustained severe cuts and bruises after falling into an open sewer at her care home in Doncaster. The council has been fined over £7,000 for leaving the 2 meter-deep manhole unguarded at Oldfield House in Stainforth. 

An apprentice plumber had been working at the site, leaving the hole open and unattended after completing his work.  Doncaster Borough Council have apologised for breaching health and safety legislation.

Fined a total of £7,040

The recently qualified workman left the hole briefly unattended while he went inside, also leaving a nearby fire door open. The elderly lady mistakably walked through the open fire door, and fell into the open drain. She sustained only minor injuries but was treated overnight in a local hospital.

Doncaster Council pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974), for which they were fined £5,000, with an extra charge of £2,040 to cover costs. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said the council had “failed to put simple measures in place to protect residents and staff”.

  • 2009 saw 3,593 deaths as a result of falls in England and Wales
  • Around 30% of adults (over 65) will experience at least one fall a year – this rises to 50% of adults over 80
  • 20% of elderly people will require medical attention after suffering a fall, 5% of which will have sustained a serious injury

Falling can also affect elderly people on a psychological level, they can lose confidence and can become withdrawn without their independence.

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