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Care company fined £450,000 for failings that led to woman’s death

A care home company has been fined for health and safety failings which led to the death of a vulnerable woman in their care.

Glasgow Sheriff Court heard that on the night of 10 June 2016 Margaret Glasgow, a resident of Cherry Tree Court in Cambuslang, drowned in a bath.

The 59-year-old, who had severe learning difficulties, had been able to leave her bedroom and run a bath without the knowledge of support workers assigned to work within the area in which she resided.

The HSE investigation found evidence of a catalogue of failings by the company.

The Crown led evidence over the course of the trial which lasted from 9 to 25 May 2022 that showed that the company had failed to carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment to identify Margaret’s needs and the measures required to ensure her safety prior to becoming a resident at Cherry Tree Court.

The company had also failed to have in place a system of work to ensure that staff were made aware that the water to Margaret’s flat needed to be turned off at the water main at bedtime, and that they knew where the water main was and how to turn it off properly.

The company hadn’t given staff instruction on how to carry out appropriate checks on the residents under their care.

There was no check sheet which covered all relevant information relating to the care of Margaret Glasgow, or suitable and reliable equipment to alert staff to movement within Margaret’s flat.

The company subsequently introduced several new procedures at Cherry Tree Court soon after the incident thereby demonstrating that it was reasonably practicable for these measures to have been in place prior to the incident.

Alistair Duncan, Head of the Health and Safety Investigation Unit of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, said:

“The evidence led by the Crown against the Richmond Fellowship allowed the jury to come to a unanimous verdict.

“This tragic incident could have been prevented had suitable and sufficient measures been put in place.

“Hopefully this prosecution and the sentence will serve to highlight to other similar organisations that failure to fulfil their health and safety obligations can have tragic consequences and that they will be held to account for their failings."