West Berkshire care firm fined for exposing staff to violence

A THEALE company has been fined £14,000 and ordered to pay £30,000 costs after it was convicted of exposing social care workers to violence and aggression.

Dimensions (UK) Ltd, of Brunel Road, Theale admitted breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, in relation to their employees and agency workers.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched an investigation at Dimensions (UK) Ltd, a not-for-profit organisation that provides support services for people with learning disabilities, after a support worker was kicked in the eye by a client on 31 December 2009.

The investigation revealed that between March 2009 and December 2010, the company did not have adequate processes in place to control the risk of workers being exposed to violence and aggression from a particular client, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

Newcastle Magistrates’ Court heard that during the period of time in question, the client posed an ongoing risk of violence and aggression, resulting in a number of occasions where staff were injured.

Speaking after the sentencing, HSE Inspector Carol Forster, said: “The risk of violence and aggression from clients with challenging behaviour is common in the social care sector. Workers can suffer not only physical injury but also psychological effects such as stress and anxiety, which can also affect their family and social life.

“Social care organisations have a duty to ensure that proper management systems are in place to control the risk of violence and aggression to the lowest level possible.”