KCRH Limited, the former operators of the Laleham Residential Home in Herne Bay, yesterday (Tuesday 7 February) pleaded guilty to two charges under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 following the death of an employee at the premises in 2013.

Joan Daws, who was a senior carer at the home in Central Parade, died after suffering crushing injuries while transporting a mobile weighing chair in the passenger lift at the home on 16 October that year.

Following the accident, Canterbury City Council’s Environmental Protection team carried out an extensive health and safety investigation, working closely with Kent Police and the Health and Safety Executive, which led to the prosecution.

The proceedings were brought in respect of criminal offences of breaching the general duties owed under section 2(1) of the Act, relating to employees, and section 3(1), relating to non-employees, including residents of and people visiting The Laleham.

In court, District Judge Barron committed KCRH Limited to Canterbury Crown Court for sentencing, where the fines imposed may be larger. A date for this has not yet been fixed.

Chairman of the council’s Community Committee, Cllr Neil Baker, said: “This was a serious accident, which could and should have been avoided had the risks of harm from using the lift been properly assessed and appropriate health and safety measures been put into place.

“Health and safety is a fundamental part of any business. Although this guilty plea will sadly not bring Mrs Daws back, we hope it highlights the extreme importance of managing health and safety risks in the workplace, and the potential repercussions if they are not.”