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Board of Governors fined after safety failings left pupil injured

15 November 2017

The board of governors at a primary school has been fined after a pupil’s fingers became trapped in a toilet door.

Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 29 September 2016, the four-year-old pupil, who had been at St Joseph’s RC Primary School for three weeks, was allowed to access the girls’ toilet alone. She was heard screaming by members of staff, who found her with her fingers trapped in the hinges of the toilet door. These injuries later resulted in partial amputation of her right middle finger.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that the finger guard on the door was missing as one had not been fitted since the toilets were converted five years previously. The investigation also found there was no system in place for checking and monitoring the door guards. Staff had also highlighted to the former head teacher that the door was too heavy for young children to open.

The Board of Governors at St Joseph’s RC Primary school, of Market Street, Mossley, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and has been fined £4000 with £1750.90 costs.

HSE inspector Lisa Bailey said after the hearing: “This injury could have easily been prevented if a door guard had been fitted and a system was put in place to maintain and monitor the guards. The risk should have been identified so that reception pupils were not permitted to access the toilets alone, or they should have been allowed to share the nursery toilets.”