Annie Bradley was being transported in a sling from her bed to a specialist chair at Harley House Nursing Home on 19 July 2008. During the manoeuvre Miss Bradley fell to the floor, hitting her head. The pensioner, who suffered from Huntingdon’s disease and was immobile, died the following day.
Sisters Fatima and Munira Mawji, owned Harley House at the time of the incident. They were prosecuted by the HSE for failing to ensure the safety of Miss Bradley.
Leicester Crown Court heard the hoist was in such poor condition that it could not be used safely. The stitching on the sling was worn and damaged meaning the support stays that should have supported Miss Bradley’s head could not be used.
HSE found the system of work used by the nurse and care assistant operating the hoist put Miss Bradley at risk of falling from the hoist at any time. The court was also told the training of the two employees in manual handling was limited, and the supervision and assessment of competence in manual handling was not adequate.
Fatima Mawji and Munira Mawji pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. They were both fined £50,000 and both ordered to pay £20,000 costs at Leicester Crown Court.
After the hearing HSE inspector, Dr Richenda Dixon, said:
“With properly maintained equipment, better training and supervision this incident was easily preventable.
“The risks from hoisting residents in nursing homes are well known and falls during hoisting have resulted in severe injuries, from broken bones through to fatalities.
“There should have been regular checks on the sling and the hoist, proper planned preventative maintenance carried out and both thoroughly examined by a competent person at least once in every six months. Sadly this did not happen and an elderly lady lost her life.”