Health & Safety

A national private healthcare provider who run a hospital in High Wycombe have been fined £100,000 after an elderly man, who was the father of BBC reporter Fergus Walsh, died following a fall from a hospital balcony.

Mr Walsh had attended hospital for an operation. He had a private room, on the first floor, which had sliding patio style doors which led onto a balcony. After his operation he suffered periods of confusion and disorientation and was later found outside after falling three-and-a-half metres from the balcony.

The HSE investigation found that the hospital had not assessed the risks of patients falling from balconies in private rooms or taken sufficient measures to manage this risk. It was suggested that the accident could have been avoided by placing locks on the balcony doors, with keys under the supervision of medical staff. In addition to the £100,000 fine, the company was also ordered to pay costs of £29,447.

A failure to carry out adequate risk assessments is a recurring theme in health and safety prosecutions. Take some time to review your health and safety policy and procedures to ensure you are complying with the law  in your industry.

Lynn Livesey