A charity has received a conditional discharge and been told to pay £898 in prosecution costs after an incident at a school in which a nine-year-old pupil suffered hand injuries and lost his index finger.
Birtenshaw, of Darwen Road in Bromley Cross, Bolton, admitted a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 over the accident at its new special needs school on 11 September 2012.
The boy, who has autism and learning difficulties, trapped his hand in the hinge of a door when he went into the ‘quiet room’ at the school only a few days after it had opened. He lost his complete index finger as a result of the accident.
Trafford Magistrates’ Court heard that, while the charity had identified the need for finger guards when the new school was built, to prevent finger injuries, it failed to make sure the guards had been fitted before the building opened.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which brought the prosecution, found that several doors had missing guards.
Birtenshaw ‘knew of finger injury risk’
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector David Norton said: “A nine-year-old boy has suffered an injury that will affect him for the rest of his life because of the failings of the charity which runs the school.
“Birtenshaw knew there was a risk of children’s fingers becoming trapped in doors as the pupils who attend the school have learning and physical disabilities, making them particularly vulnerable.
“It would have been relatively easy to walk around the school to check all of the doors had been fitted with finger guards before pupils moved into the new building, but the charity failed to do this.
“It’s vital that organisations do more than just identify risks and actually make sure measures are in place to tackle any dangers.”
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