All information has been taken directly off the HSE website
School fined after pupil paralysed when swing collapsed Date: 5 January 2016
A Hertfordshire school has been fined for safety failings after a pupil suffered permanent paralysis when a swing collapsed. St Albans Magistrates’ Court heard how on September 2011 a 13-year-old pupil at the school was playing on a wooden swing in an adventure playground.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found the swing had collapsed because the supporting timbers had rotted. The heavy wooden cross beam of the swing fell onto the pupil’s head and neck causing spinal injuries that resulted in permanent paralysis. Queenswood School, of Shepherd’s Way, Brookmans Park, Hatfield, was fined a total of £50,000, and ordered to pay £90,693 in costs after pleading guilty to an offence under Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Alison Ashworth said:
“This case shows how important it is that schools and other providers of play equipment maintain them in a safe condition. This tragic accident could have been avoided had the school implemented the findings of its own risk assessment.”
For more information about safety in schools log onto the website at http://www.hse.gov.uk/services/education/sensible-leadership/
College fined after tree felling injury
Date: 28th January 2016
A college in Surrey has been fined after a student was struck on the leg by a tree as it was being felled. Redhill Magistrates’ Court heard how the campus supervisor of Guildford College instructed an employee and part of the estates team, to take two work experience students to fell a tree. While the tree was being cut two students arrived to observe the operation. The falling tree hit one of the students who was observing, causing fractures to one of his legs.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive into the incident, which occurred on 5 May 2015, found that there was insufficient training given to fell the tree competently. There was inadequate supervision and the risk assessments were not sufficient and had not been followed.
Guildford College of Further Education of Stoke Road, Guildford, Surrey, pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and were fined £70,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,461.
For further information on Tree felling visit: http://www.hse.gov.uk/treework/
School in court over science experiment injury
11 January 2016
A chemistry laboratory technician lost parts of three fingers and sustained a serious internal injury while preparing a highly sensitive explosive for use in a ‘fireworks’ demonstration to a class of children.
Bristol Magistrates’ Court heard the now retired staff member lost the top joints of his left hand index, middle and ring fingers and ruptured his bowel while preparing the explosive at Bristol Cathedral Choir School. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuting told the court the laboratory technician spent 12 days in total in hospital after the October 2014 incident. Although he returned to work in February 2015, he has since retired. It was revealed that the preparation of explosive substances had been carried out in the school several times a year since 2009. The mixture in question and other substances had been used in ‘fireworks’ demonstrations.
The court also heard that other explosive substances, namely flash powder and gunpowder, were stored in the school’s chemistry storeroom.
HSE said the incident could have been avoided if the school had implemented clear management arrangements to control and review the risks posed by the chemicals used in its teaching activities.
Bristol Cathedral Choir School, of College Square, Bristol, admitted that it failed to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of its employees, in breach of its duty under Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
It also admitted failing to conduct its undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in its employment, in this case its pupils, were not exposed to risks to their health and safety, in breach of its duty under Section 3 of the same act.
The school was fined a total of £26,000 [£8,000 for the section 2 offence and £18,000 for the section 3 offence] and ordered to pay £12,176 costs.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Susan Chivers said: “Schools need to have clear health and safety arrangements in place for their staff and students.
“They should set up adequate control systems and ensure that these arrangements are clearly understood and adhered to. They should also follow recognised guidance provided by CLEAPSS (formerly known as the Consortium of Local Education Authorities for the Provision of Science Services) and similar organisations regarding the control of risks to health and safety in practical science work.”
To learn about good practice in education, please go to:
Firms fined after asbestos failings
5 January 2016
A food company and their contractor have been fined after asbestos was disturbed during building work and only identified by chance when an asbestos removal contractor attended site.
Stafford Crown Court heard no asbestos survey had been carried out by Mizkan Euro Ltd or D H Welton & Co Ltd and either company could have commissioned a refurbishment/demolition before the work commenced.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found Mizkan Euro Ltd were undertaking a project to remove tanks from a factory which required the demolition of an external wall. They failed to provide an asbestos survey to enable their contractor DH Welton to quote and plan appropriately for the work to be undertaken. However, it also found DH Welton could have commissioned a survey when they discovered that Mizkan only had access to a management survey for the building.
When the wall was demolished asbestos insulation board at the top of the wall was unknowingly broken up. A skip of demolition debris was found to contain asbestos insulation board, which had been identified by an asbestos contractor who had been called to site. For the work to be undertaken correctly, a licensed asbestos removal contractor should have been appointed to remove the asbestos under controlled conditions prior to the wall being demolished.
Mizkan Euro Ltd of Chiswick Park, Chiswick High Road, Chiswick, London pleaded guilty to breaching sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act after failing to plan and manage the work carried out under their control without ensuring that risks to health and safety are prevented. It was fined £60,000 for each charge (£120k) and ordered to pay costs of £13,589.
D H Welton & Co Ltd of Corn Street, Failsworth, Manchester admitted breaching Section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act and regulation 5(1)(a) Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 after failing to carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment as to whether asbestos was present or liable to be present during the removal of a wall It was fined £15,000 for each charge (£45k) plus costs of £4,529.