£40,000 fine after care home death fall

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Dunkeld has been fined for health and safety failings which led to the death of a vulnerable care home resident at a property in Dundee.

Dundee Sheriff Court was told that in the early hours of 30 May 2017, a 94-year-old man fell nearly 30 feet from a second floor window of the Wellburn Care Home.

An investigation by the HSE and Police Scotland identified that the bedroom window from which the man fell was unrestricted.

HSE Inspectors found that many of the windows at the care home had not been fitted with restrictors which prevent windows being opened to an extent that a person could fall from the window.

The Diocese pled guilty to contraventions of Section 3(1) and Section 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 at Dundee Sheriff Court on 14 October 2020. They were fined £40,000 on 27 October 2020.

The court heard that the Diocese had failed to put in place well recognised and well publicised measures to protect residents who were elderly and may have been vulnerable, from an obvious risk of death or serious injury arising from a fall from height.

The care home closed in June 2017.

Alistair Duncan, Head of the Health and Safety Investigation Unit, Crown Office, said: “Thistragic incident could easily have been prevented had suitable and sufficient measures been put in place. A window restrictor would have prevented this from being able to happen.

“Hopefully this prosecution and the sentence will remind other organisations that failure to fulfil their obligations can have tragic consequences and that they will be held to account for their failings.”