Council fined following accidents in schools
Suffolk County Council has pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety laws following accidents at two schools.
The first accident occurred on 11.10.09 when a nine year old pupil at Burton End Primary School, fell from a climbing frame in the school grounds. The child fell over 1.5 metres from the climbing frame onto concrete slabs below. He suffered a fractured skull, a bleed into his brain and was temporarily blinded. The injured child was unable to return to full time schooling for 10 weeks.
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the incident and found Suffolk County Council had failed to provide an impact absorbing surface under the climbing frame and it had failed to provide the school with enough information to ensure pupils could play on the climbing frame safely.
A second HSE investigation followed a school IT technician’s fall while he was taking down a screen at the back of a stage at Farlingaye High School on 21 October 2009. Paul Rudland shattered his arm when he fell about 4m from a temporary aluminium platform which was being pushed along while he was on the top of it.
HSE’s investigation found that the council had not provided adequate training to its employees and had failed to monitor working at height in schools.
Three further breaches of health and safety laws related to council highway department employees who, after working with vibrating machinery for several years, had developed injuries including hand arm vibration syndrome.
The council admitted failing to properly assess the risk from working with the equipment and exposing its workers to harm.
The council was fined a total of £48,000 and ordered to pay costs totalling £43,772. The injured child and council employees are also entitled to make separate personal injury claims in respect of the injuries sustained.
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