A CONSTRUCTION firm in Worsley has been fined after the death of an elderly dementia sufferer at a care home.
Irene Sharples, aged 92, died in December 2, 2010 — four weeks after a heavy fire door fell on her during renovation work at Alexian Brothers Care Centre in St Mary’s Road in Moston.
Rothwell Robinson Ltd, of Holyoake Road in Worsley, had been hired by The Healthcare Management Trust, of Queen Anne’s Gate in London, to convert a ground floor bedroom and en-suite into two toilets and a store room.
The work started on November 2, 2010 and numerous tradesman visited the site over the following days.
At 7.30am on November 7 a loud thud was heard by staff and a cry for help.
When they went to investigate they found on the floor inside the former ground floor bedroom with a fire door on top of her.
It took three people to lift the door off her and she suffered a broken hip. Her condition deteriorated in hospital and she later died.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found the healthcare firm and building company had both failed to make sure the room was locked at the end of each day and also when it was left unoccupied.
The Healthcare Management Trust and construction firm Rothwell Robinson Ltd were both prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Both businesses appeared at Manchester Crown Court and admitted a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
Rothwell Robinson Ltd was fined £10,000 with costs of £7,500 The Healthcare Management Trust was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay £7,500 in prosecution costs.
HSE Inspector Laura Moran said: “Both firms clearly knew there were vulnerable residents living at the care home but they still allowed the door to what was essentially a building site to be left unlocked on numerous occasions.
“Sadly, Mrs Sharples was severely injured when she wandered into the room, presumably looking for her friend, and ultimately lost her life because of the failings of the Healthcare Management Trust and Rothwell Robinson.
“Following the incident, the companies introduced a new procedure which meant workers had to collect and return a key at the start and end of each day, and lock the door when there was no one inside.”