A local authority has been fined after an elderly tenant suffered serious injuries in a fall.
Renfrewshire Council was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the incident involving Margaret O’Donnell, 77, at her flat in the Scottish town of Paisley on 3 February 2010.
She plummeted four feet through an access hole in her hallway that had been left uncovered by council workers who were installing a new central heating boiler at her apartment.
Mrs O’Donnell suffered a fracture in the bone at the top of the arm near the shoulder and a crack in the thigh bone.
Paisley Sheriff Court heard how the pensioner was told to stay in her living room as the floorboards in the hallway were being lifted in order to create a hatch to gain access to the pipe work and cabling.
A joiner cut a hole in the floorboards outside the living room door but left the premises without covering it when called to do another task. Not long after the rest of the installation team heard someone shouting and found Mrs O’Donnell had fallen into the hatch.
No first aid or medical assistance was sought by any of the council employees and they did not report the incident until a few days later.
Mrs O’Donnell was taken to hospital a few hours after the fall by family members and discharged that day. She returned five days later complaining of pain and on 11 February was admitted to hospital with speech impairment, possibly due to a stroke.
She was later referred to physiotherapy as she had reduced movement in her arm. Mrs O’Donnell died in 2012 of unrelated causes.
Seeking personal injury compensation
HSE concluded that the authority had failed in its duty of care.
Renfrewshire Council, of Renfrewshire House, Cotton Street, Paisley, was fined £20,000 after it admitted breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
If you’ve been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault then you may be able to claim personal injury compensation.
Accident Advice Helpline is here to help you through the process and ensure you get the money you deserve. Call us free on 0800 689 0500 or 0333 500 0993 from a mobile phone for free, no obligation advice about making a claim.
Source: Beat The Cowboy Builder
Date Published: June 6, 2014
Author: David Brown