A SOLIHULL school has been ordered by the courts to pay £8,500 after an 11-year-old pupil was injured while using a bench sanding machine.
The Year Seven pupil at Alderbrook School had been using the sander in a design and technology lesson when his hand became trapped between the rotating face of the sanding disc and the machine’s table edge.
As a result, of the incident on October 6 last year, the boy needed specialist surgery to repair tendon damage to the fingers of his left hand. Despite surgery and physiotherapy, he does not have full range of movement in his fingers and suffers pain in cold weather.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the machine’s guarding was designed for adults, leaving a gap big enough to trap a student’s hand.
Solihull Magistrates’ Court heard the school had carried out a generic risk assessment, highlighting entrapment as a potential hazard, but no attempt was made to adapt the machine for pupils.
Alderbrook School, in Blossomfield Road, was fined £3,500 and ordered to pay £5,000 in costs after admitting failure to ensure the safety of pupils.
After the hearing HSE inspector Karl Raw said: “Health and safety management for design and technology within Alderbrook 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 Guidance was out of date, risk assessments were generic and concerns raised in a 2010 audit by Solihull Council relating to this had not been addressed.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.
“In order to do this, schools need to have in place a strong culture towards health and safety with a regular review of risks and procedures. That did not happen in this case, leaving an 11-year-old boy with a very painful injury.”
Despite numerous attempts to contact Alderbrook School headteacher William Sedgwick, he was unavailable for comment.