School fined after ladder fall
A North London girls' school has been fined following an incident that took place a year ago.
On May 9, 2016, a teacher was working in the drama studio of the Queen Elizabeth's Girls' School, located in Barnet, North London. The teacher was rigging lights and making adjustments to cabling and spotlights, when he fell from the ladder. A colleague, who had also been working in the room, turned and saw the teacher lying unconscious on the floor of the drama studio.
Due to the impact, the teacher suffered injuries to his elbow and wrist, along with multiple fractures to his skull. Westminster Magistrates' Court was told that the operation had not been adequately risk assessed for working at height in the studio. The court also heard that insufficient training was provided to the teachers, although there was an e-learning tool available for health and safety which included a working at height module. However, this was not made a mandatory requirement until after the incident. The school also had a health and safety policy in place, which included the requirement for a risk assessment when working at height, along with training for staff.
The school pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6(3) of The Work at Height Regulations 2005. A fine of £2,000 was charged to the school and it was ordered to pay all the prosecution costs. John Spence, HSE inspector highlighted that if the regulations had been adhered to, the incident would never have occurred.
The incident shows that it is not just companies that have to consider training and provision of PPE, but also schools and nonprofit organisations.