A council has been fined after a pupil was seriously hurt in a fall from a broken down lift.
Morgan Seaton was 15 when she fell more than five metres from the lift at Liberton High School in Edinburgh on December 8 2011, as teachers attempted to free her.
City of Edinburgh Council was prosecuted for serious safety failings after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard Morgan was one of four pupils trapped in the lift when it became stuck between the first and second floors.
She called the school’s office from her mobile phone and teachers quickly arrived. But rather than calling the fire brigade or using the lift’s emergency call button, staff decided to open the lift doors and try to free the pupils themselves.
They forced open the lift doors and helped one boy lower himself safely onto the first floor corridor.
Morgan then manoeuvred herself out of the lift on her stomach. But as she attempted to drop to the floor, she fell through the gap between the bottom of the lift and the floor and into the lift shaft where she fell over five metres to the basement.
Morgan suffered a serious back injury with three fractured vertebrae, bruising over her lower back and a sprained wrist. She spent two days in hospital and was unable to return to school for two weeks.
She also continued to suffer pain and discomfort in her back for several months and needed regular physiotherapy.
When fire crews arrived they found power to the lift had not been isolated, the court heard, meaning it could have resumed moving at any time during the pupils’ ordeal.
HSE found that the council has failed to ensure staff at the school were given sufficient training to deal with such incidents and that no suitable risk assessment had been carried out.
City of Edinburgh Council, of City Chambers, High Street, Edinburgh, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. It was fined £8,000.
Source: Edinburgh News