Alderbrook is fined over pupil's injuries

By Laura Payne Thursday 15 November 2012 Updated: 22/11 09:59

A SECONDARY school has been fined thousands of pounds after a pupil suffered serious hand injuries during a lesson.

The 11-year-old's hand became trapped when he was using a bench sanding machine while in a design and technology lesson at Alderbrook School.

The boy had to have specialist surgery to repair tendon damage to the fingers of his left hand and he was off school for several weeks following the incident on October 6 last year.

He has had physio but still suffers pain in cold weather and does not have full movement in his fingers.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an investigation and found that although the machine had guarding in place, it was designed for use by adults which meant the gap between the disc face and table edge was big enough to trap a student's hand.

Solihull Magistrates' Court was told last week the school had made no attempt to adapt the machine to make it safe for students.

The school was fined £3,500 and ordered to pay £5,000 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching the health and safety at work act and for failing to ensure pupil safety.

Karl Raw, a HSE inspector, said: "Health and safety management for design and technology within Alderbrook School was not of the expected standard.

"Guidance was out of date, risk assessments were generic and concerns raised in a 2010 audit by Solihull Council relating to this had not been addressed.

"This prosecution is not about schools abandoning or being stopped from allowing pupils to use machines.

"It is about sensible assessment of risk given the age and maturity of school pupils."

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