Health care worker fractures kneecap, HSE prosecutes

The Government’s Health and Safety Executive has prosecuted the employer of one female health care worker after she slipped and fell on a wet floor at an Ipswich hospital, fracturing her kneecap, it was recently revealed.

According to work accident claim experts, Nuffield Health Ipswich Hospital was called before Ipswich Magistrates’ Court in order to determine the hospital’s responsibility for the incident that led to Shelagh Allen’s injury.  The Mendlesham, Suffolk native had been walking on a floor that had been wet mopped by a housekeeper recently, causing her to slip and sustain multiple fractures to one of her kneecaps.

Mrs Allen’s injuries were so severe that she needed to undergo surgical procedures to repair the damage.  Her lengthy recovery left her relying upon crutches and a leg brace to remain ambulatory.

The HSE was called in to investigate the incident that led to Mrs Allen’s injuries, with inspectors discovering that Nuffield Health had neglected to protect its workers by failing to carry out a cleaning procedure risk assessment adequately.  The New Malden, Surrey-based hospital admitted breaching health and safety regulations in court after facing prosecution by the HSE, leading to a £5,000 fine.

One of the HSE inspectors involved in the initial investigation spoke after the hearing, stating that Mrs Allen’s injuries could have been avoided completely if her employer had simply used better planning to ensure the floor cleaning took place at a time that ran little risk of foot traffic across wet floors.  The inspector also said that Nuffield Health could have taken steps to restrict access to floors that had just been wet mopped as an additional safeguard.

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