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Council fined £10,000 for bath scald

Stornoway Sheriff Court.
Stornoway Sheriff Court.

Western Isles Council has been penalised £10,000 after a vulnerable adult in its care was scalded by hot bath water.

The man was injured after he turned on the hot water tap when left alone in the bath.

The 45-year-old has moderate to severe learning difficulties. He and two others lived semi-independently in a rented house in Stornoway with support care from the council.

The injured man – who has a very high pain threshold – was scalded on his feet and buttocks as he tried to refill an empty bath on May 4 last year.

Five months earlier the council had identified the potential injury in a risk assessment but the only measure they took was for staff to fill his bath and keep checking in on him, a court heard yesterday.

The local authority pleaded guilty at Stornoway Sheriff Court.

The council admitted it failed to provide adequate training, instruction and supervision to staff and also failed to conduct a suitable and sufficient risk assessment.

The council’s solicitor Tim Langley said the local authority was “sorry he suffered injury due to its failure” but there was “no flagrant disregard for the law or deliberate cutting of corners over expense”.

He said the council is now fitting special valves to control water temperature within its properties.

Sheriff David Sutherland fined the council £8,000 and ordered the authority to pay the injured man £2,000 compensation.

The council has improved its procedures and provided training to staff.

The court was told it proposes hiring a health and safety assistant.

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