Schools have been offered safety advice on dangerous chemicals after a class technician suffered terrible finger injuries in a chemistry class fireworks accident.
The incident happened in October 2014 at Bristol Cathedral Choir School as an unnamed chemistry laboratory worker prepared a fragile explosive, Bristol magistrates heard.
Lack of management plans
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) says the school should have brought in easy-to-follow management plans regarding chemicals used in classes.
These could have reviewed and controlled the dangers involved and prevented the accident from happening, it said.
Susan Chivers, an inspector for the HSE, says it is essential schools have clear safety arrangements laid down for pupils and employees alike and establish proper control systems, ensuring that they are easily understood and complied with.
Schools should also follow CLEAPSS advice on the management of dangers to health and safety during practical science classes and preparation.
Work accident ended in hospital
The technician lost three top joints from his left hand’s fingers in the work accident and also had his bowel ruptured.He spent a dozen days in hospital.
He had been trying to show pupils a special “fireworks” demonstration in the run-up to Guy Fawkes Night.
The man came back to school the following February and is now retired.
The court heard that the explosive substance preparation had been undertaken many times each year at the school up to five years previously.
Gunpowder, flash powder and other inflammable substances were kept in the chemistry storeroom.
£26K fine for fireworks accident
The school admitted its part in the events leading to the technician’s fireworks accident. It was fined £26,000 and made to pay costs of £12,176.
The school owned up to not taking care of its staff as much as it could and breaking Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
It also pleaded guilty to Section 3 of the same act, which pertains to not ensuring the safety of pupils as well as exposing them to safety and health dangers.
Source: Health and Safety Executive
Date Published: January 31, 2016
Author: Jonathan Brown