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Care provider prosecuted after disabled man died from severe scalding

Joseph Hobbin who suffered from both cerebal palsy and epilepsy and had limited movement was being assisted into a bath in his own home in Haddigton by an Ark Housing Association Limited care worker.

When the care worker lowered Mr Hobbin’s legs into the bath he suffered a prolonged epileptic fit. As the care worker tried to assist Mr Hobbin his legs remained in the water and he sustained extensive scalding to his feet and lower legs. He died 14 days later in hospital.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard Mr Hobbin required support with all aspects of day to day living, including bathing. Ark Housing Association were contracted through the Local Authority to provide his care.

It also heard Mr Hobbin had a particular love of being in the water and his support plan contained a plan for washing and dressing. This noted that he did not like his baths to be too hot.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that that Ark Housing Association staff did not receive training or instruction in relation to bath and shower temperature and the company was not aware of guidance in relation to safe bathing. The company did not provide thermometers to staff and they did not carry out adequate risk assessments in relation to the bathing of service users, including Joseph Hobbin.

Ark Housing Association Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) Health and Safety at Work Etc. Act 1974 and were fined £75,000.

Added: 17-12-2015
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