The HSE has recently fined the Board of Governors of a Manchester school for failing to identify and act upon risks identified in relation to toilet doors.
The investigation found that there was no finger guard installed on the toilet door and that there had never been one fitted when the toilets were converted five years before. The report also said that the school had no process to check that the guards were in place. Staff had actually highlighted previously to a former Headteacher that the toilet doors were too heavy for young children to open and therefore posed a risk.
Unfortunately, this risk materialised when a four-year-old girl, who had only just joined the school, was allowed to use the toilet alone and trapped her fingers in the hinges of the door. Her injuries later resulted in her middle finger being partially amputated.
The Board of Governors pleaded guilty and were fined £4000 with £1750.90 costs for breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
HSE inspector Lisa Bailey said: “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.”
Carrying out a Risk Assessment could have identified this hazard and put in place corrective action. If you need any help with carrying out Risk Assessments, please get in touch with one of the team who will be happy to help. We also have an upcoming training course on how to conduct a Risk Assessment. For more information on this course click here.