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22nd July 2016

Fatalities in the Residential Home

Fatalities in the Residential Home My last blog mentioned a death at work in a nursing home caused by lack of bed rail management. A death at work is devastating. It affects the family and friends of the deceased, but also colleagues in the workplace. The HSE released the provisional figure for the number of workers fatally injured in 2015/16 as 144. This corresponds to a rate of fatal injury of 0.46 deaths per 100,000 workers. Additionally, there were 103 members of the public fatally injured in accidents connected to work. In a one-year period there have been 247 deaths at work. Residents in residential care homes came within the total figures for members of the public fatally injured connected to work.

Fatalities in Residential Homes

The list of the fatalities published on the HSE website for residential care note the following detail:

02/04/15Female95Fell from wheelchair on beach
04/08/15Male73Not given in statistics
12/08/15Female80Fall from height
28/09/15Female83Fall from height
30/09/15Female93Not given in statistics
22/10/15Female88Fall from height
01/11/15Female89Fall from height
14/01/16Female87Fall from height
04/03/16Female92Not given in statistics
11/03/16Female61Fall from height


There were 10 fatalities in residential homes in this period and the majority of causes was a fall from height. It is good practice that employers understand the cause of fatalities occurring in residential homes to assess and identify where they can implement any further management controls in the residential homes.


  • Ensure you have identified the highest risk areas where a potential death may occur through the risk assessment process
  • Conduct a compliance audit review to understand where there may be gaps with areas for improvement to eliminate or reduce risk
  • Conduct an inspection of the residential building checking areas such as restrictors on windows and other areas such as stairs or change in level where there is a risk of fall
  • Ensure staff are aware through information, instruction and training the potential risk areas
  • Ensure that appropriate details (cause) of fatalities that have occurred are communicated to increase staff awareness of how an incident could lead to death - Focus on root cause analysis and changes that could be implemented to prevent a fatality within the workplace
  • Ensure all specific individual risk assessment on residents remain ‘live’ and are constantly reviewed as changes occur
  • Ensure agency staff and other temporary staff have an appropriate handover and are aware of the detail in all service users risk assessments


*All information is correct at the time of publishing. Use of this material is subject to your acceptance of our terms and conditions.

Sally Beck

QCS Expert Health and Safety Contributor

Sally is a multi skilled Chartered Health and Safety Practitioner with extensive experience of health, safety, quality and environmental consulting within the different industry sectors. She is also a Registered Nurse with previous nursing experience in both the private sector and the National Health Services. With extensive experience of CQC standards she has provided support and advice in implementing and managing health and safety.

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