THE OWNER of a Southampton care home has been fined £400,000 after an eight-year-old girl was crushed by a tree.

The child was out jogging with her father when she was hit by a falling tree outside Oak Lodge Care Home in Bitterne.

She suffered serious crush injuries and her leg had to be amputated, Southampton Magistrates Court heard.

The lime tree that fell down was found to be diseased with a common fungus and had likely been rotting for several years before the tragic accident on July 8, 2021.

Bupa Care Homes (CFHCare) Limited has been fined £400,000 after failing to provide a system to manage trees on its site.

Daily Echo: The fallen tree outside Oak Lodge Care HomeThe fallen tree outside Oak Lodge Care Home (Image: HSE)

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that, over a number of years, Bupa Care Homes had failed to have in place a strategy to manage trees, including adequate risk assessment, proactive surveys, inspections, and monitoring of trees, to identify where remedial work may have been required to prevent risk of the tree falling.

HSE Inspector Natalie Pomfret said: “This was a tragic and wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the company to have in place suitable arrangements for managing trees on their premises, and failure to ensure that the trees were properly inspected and maintained.”

Bupa Care Homes pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

The company was also ordered to pay costs of £3,275 and a victim surcharge.

Rebecca Pearson, Managing Director for Bupa Care Services said: “We are deeply sorry this happened.

“We take our safety responsibilities very seriously and accept that there were failings that led to this terrible accident. We have since made improvements to our tree management policy and system across all our care homes, which includes regularly monitoring and inspecting our trees within the grounds of our homes to prevent anything like this happening again.

“We offer our sincere apologies to the family.”

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