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Care homes told to improve after health and safety probe

15 October 2008

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Some 20 care homes across Somerset have been told they can improve health and safety standards after a series of unannounced inspections.

The Health Safety Executive (HSE) visited the homes during a two-week “blitz” in September, looking at areas such as hot water, hot surfaces, window restrictors, Legionella and bed rails.

Some 12 of the homes visited were served with improvement notices, mostly over a lack of controls to combat Legionella bacteria.

The HSE said it would be holding safety awareness days with local authorities across the South West in the New Year.

HSE inspector Trudi Smyth said: “Most of the homes we inspected had good controls in place where hot water and hot surface risks were concerned. Bed rail management was another area where most homes visited were aware of the risks, but many were not aware of the British Standard and not carrying out sufficient checks.

“Most of the homes did have some sort of restrictor in place on windows but there were problems with old windows which were not adequately restricted or robust and with new windows which had restrictors which could be easily overcome.

“On the issue of Legionella, many of the homes we visited lacked a specific risk assessment, management system or knowledge of the controls required.”

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