Inspection, Prosecutions, and How to Minimise Risk in your Care Facility - with AHR Consultants

Insight

Published

23 June 2021

Although the care sector has been forced to adapt to ever-changing restrictions throughout the past 14 months, one challenge that remains constant is the need to protect residents and employees by maintaining health and safety compliance. To help you ensure that your facility is safe, our trusted care partner and health and safety specialists AHR Consultants have provided a round-up of recent care sector risks, alongside guidance on how to avoid them.

Financial implications of neglecting your health & safety responsibilities

In March 2021, a care facility based in Scotland was under the spotlight from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for injuries sustained on their premises. The resident, who was a vulnerable adult, had fallen 4.5 metres from a bedroom window and sustained multiple fractures as a result[1].

Upon inspection, it was found that sufficient measures were not in place to prevent a fall, with the HSE concluding that the care facility had not assessed risk sufficiently. The punishment for this avoidable incident was a £21,000 fine for the provider.

Is this a cost that you can justify by neglecting your health and safety responsibilities? In more serious cases, providers can also be at risk of imprisonment for incidents taking place on their premises, so it is crucial that you do everything possible to ensure safety.

Cover the three pillars of defensibility for better protection

When looking to protect those on your premises and avoid enforcement action, the ‘three pillars of defensibility’ are one of the most effective models to adopt.

The three pillars are:

  • Policies – Do you have a clear plan for the management of your health and safety responsibilities? You must have policies in place to outline this, written by a competent person with the right amount of knowledge and expertise
  • Risk assessments – Have you completed suitable and sufficient risk assessments for your premises? These must be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure maximum protection and compliance with any regulations which may have changed since your last assessment
  • Training – Are your staff confident with how to implement your safety practices, policies, and procedures? Is your competent person adequately qualified for their role? These are concerns which can be eliminated by engaging in bespoke training on key areas of health and safety, such as completing risk assessments and managing fire safety

While no approach can completely remove the risk of an incident occurring, these three pillars are an excellent way to minimise risk as much as possible and provide defensibility if an accident were to happen.

Over 500 CQC inspections in the past 30 days

Much like within care facilities, the impact of the pandemic has also extended to the Care Quality Commission (CQC). While their regulatory role has not changed, their approach has become more flexible and dynamic, with new tools in development to support inspections.

It is important to stress that on-site inspections will remain as the main way to update ratings, as proven by the completion of 500+ inspections in the past 30 days alone[2]. However, with the help of new tools for assessing risk, working with the CQC should become easier for operators as they seek to recover from the pandemic.

A notable inspection from March 2021 was that of a Care Home in Durham, who dropped from a rating of ‘Outstanding’ to ‘Requires Improvement’[3]. This drastic decline occurred after the inspection found that serious resident injuries were not being reported by the provider, with unsafe practices in place and policies not being followed.

This reinforces the critical need for sufficient risk assessments and training. While your care facility may have good policies in place, their impact will be significantly undermined if staff cannot implement them correctly, or there is an ongoing risk of injury from other factors.

AHR Consultants can help

As the trusted safety partner for Howden Health & Care, AHR Consultants can act as your competent person for health and safety, while also providing onsite risk assessments and bespoke training sessions. Not only does this help to reduce the risk of accidents occurring on your premises, but it also allows you to establish suitable evidence of your business’ precautionary efforts. By ensuring that you have covered the three pillars of defensibility, you can attain peace of mind in the safety of your care facility.

If you would like any further information AHR Consultants and their services including conducting an independent and objective audit/gap analysis of your premises and systems then please contact AHR Consultants at [email protected] or 0300 303 4401.