Health and Safety News

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Nursing home fined for elderly man's fatal fall

Reginald GibbingsOn 15 October, Truro Crown court heard that an elderly man with dementia was able to wander into another resident's room at his nursing home and fall to his death from a window.

Reginald Gibbings, 89, fell 3.6 metres from the room at Hillcrest House, Barbican Road, East Looe on 15 July 2008.

Hillcrest House Ltd. was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £95,963 in costs in a prosecution brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). A compensation order of £2,300 towards the family's funeral costs was also made.

The court was told that Mr Gibbings had been admitted to the secure unit for elderly and mentally ill people at Hillcrest House care home, after his wife suffered a stroke at their home in Barbican Court, East Looe.

He did not settle well at the home and repeatedly stated he wanted to leave and tried to get out by forcing the secure garden gate on the day of his fall. On the 15th July 2008, Mr Gibbings entered a bedroom on the ground floor which had a restrictor fitted to prevent the window opening fully. The restrictor was defeated, either by Mr Gibbings or someone else, allowing the window to open fully. Although on a ground floor, the home is built into a banked area and the sloping gardens created a large drop beneath the window.

Mr Gibbings either fell through the window or fell trying to climb out it. He suffered multiple fractures and died in hospital two days later.

Hillcrest House Ltd. of Barbican Road, East Looe, pleaded guilty to an offence under Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.


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