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School gate company fined after child’s head is trapped

11 Jul 14 The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has prosecuted a company for failing to install adequate guarding on an electric gate that trapped a young child at a primary school in Stourbridge.

Pedmore Primary School from Google Streetview
Pedmore Primary School from Google Streetview

Dudley Magistrates’ Court yesterday (10th July) heard that on 25 September 2012 an eight-year-old boy was injured when his head became trapped between the edge of the closing gate and the gate post. The child suffered significant bruising to the right side of his head and ear.

His father was there and just managed to hold the gate enough to release his son’s head.

An HSE investigation found that the entrance gate at Pedmore Primary School had been automated by Access Control Solutions (UK) Ltd but the company had failed to fit suitable guarding.

The company had identified the need for the guarding but not fitted it because the gate, which had been manufactured by a different company, was not the exact style expected and the guarding would not fit.

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Access Control Solutions (UK) Ltd, of Boston Road, Leicester, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 18 of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 and was fined £3,300 with £773 costs.

After the hearing HSE inspector Sarah Palfreyman said: “This was an extremely traumatic event for the boy and his father. Fortunately, the youngster was back at school a couple of days later and he has not suffered any long term effects. However, it could have been a different story had he been trapped by a different part of his head, or had it happened to a younger child.

“The incident was entirely preventable. Access Control Solutions identified the need for the guard in their own job specification but when the gate arrived, it was not the type expected the guard did not fit. At this point they should have either come up with an alternative or postponed the job until the problem was rectified, especially as they were fully aware that the entrance would be used by a particularly vulnerable group – young children.

“People getting trapped is a well-known risk in the industry and HSE has produced safety notes on the subject due to a number of fatalities involving children in recent years. I would encourage all suppliers and installers of electric gates to read it.”

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