School fined over injuries caused by 'fireworks demonstration'
Bristol Cathedral Choir School was recently fined following the serious injury of a teacher as he prepared a 'fireworks demonstration'.
During preparation of the explosives at the school, a technician from the chemistry laboratory was injured, rupturing his bowel and losing the top joint of the ring, middle and index fingers of his left hand. Following the accident, which took place in October 2014, the teacher spent 12 days in the hospital. Although he returned to work in February the following year, he retired shortly after.
The case was heard by Bristol Magistrates' Court, following a prosecution of the school by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). During the investigation, it was discovered that since 2009, the explosive substances had been used, along with other hazardous chemicals, to produce 'fireworks demonstrations'. The chemistry storeroom also contained explosive substances, including gunpowder and flash powder.
According to the HSE, the incident may not have occurred if the risks created by using the chemicals had been properly assessed. Bristol Cathedral Choir School admitted failure to comply with Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The school had to pay costs of £12,176, along with receiving a fine of £26,000.
One of the officers from Health and Safety, Susan Chivers, stated that suitable control systems needed to be put in place, along with arrangements for health and safety of pupils and employees. This may include the use of specialist workwear or PPE.