Charity in Court After Child Lost Finger in School Door


3 mins

Posted on 11 Apr 2014

A Bolton charity has been prosecuted for safety failings after a nine-year-old boy with autism lost a finger when his left hand became trapped in a school door.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) took legal action against the charity after an investigation found the organisation had failed to make sure all of the doors at its new special needs school were fitted with finger guards. The court was told that the charity had identified the need for finger guards during the construction of its new school building but failed to make sure the guards had been fitted before the new building opened to pupils.

The charity received a conditional discharge and was ordered to pay £898 in prosecution costs after admitting a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Recommendations

The dynamic and evolving daily health and safety arrangements in schools plays an important role in ensuring a safe environment for children to learn and develop. Ensuring children’s safety is required by law and is an integral part of the Ofsted framework. Children are the responsibility of the school during school hours, including when they attend clubs and school trips.

A fundamental element of addressing and implementing safety in schools is based on common sense used in assessing and managing the risks of any school activity.

Generic and specific risk assessments are required to cover all manner of activities. Some of the areas to review and manage are:

  • Fire evacuation safety and Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans;
  • Emergencies and Incidents; 
  • First aid and supporting medical needs; 
  • Facilities Management including asbestos, Legionnella risk assessment, fixed electrical wiring testing and portable appliance testing;
  • Workplace environment safety for teachers, pupils and visitors; 
  • Managing contractors; 
  • Work at height including use of ladders and step stools;
  • Hazardous substances used in different classes;
  • Segregation of vehicles from pedestrians and on-site vehicle movements;
  • Violence to staff;
  • Manual handling; 
  • Slips, trips and falls;
  • Occupational health services and managing work-related stress; and 
  • Activity off-site visits including residential visits.

Children generally are at a different height level to adults. When completing risk assessments try and view the environment from their level and perspective. 

Doyle Clayton can support your school with ensuring the development and review of Health and safety procedures that are proportionate to the risks of all school daily activities. Please contact Sally Beck for further information.

Further information can be found on the HSE website,  in Department for Education guidance and in guidance issued by ROSPA.

The articles published on this website, current at the date of publication, are for reference purposes only. They do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your own circumstances should always be sought separately before taking any action.