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Firm fined after child’s head trapped in electric gate

A firm in Leicester has been in court after it failed to ensure adequate guarding was installed on an electric gate that trapped a young child at a primary school in Stourbridge.

What happened?

The court heard that an eight-year-old boy suffered injuries when his head became trapped between the edge of the closing gate and the gate post.

The boy’s father was with him when the incident occurred, and desperately tried to hold the gate to prevent it from closing further.

He just about managed to pull the gate open enough to release his son’s head, but the youngster suffered significant bruising to the right side of his head and ear.

An investigation into the incident found that the entrance gate of Pedmore Primary School had been automated by Access Control Solutions (UK) Ltd, but suitable guarding had not been installed.

Though the firm had identified that guarding was needed, it hadn’t been installed because the gate, which had been manufactured by another company, wasn’t the dimensions that was expected so the guarding wouldn’t fit.

What was the outcome?

Access Control Solutions (UK) Ltd was fined £3,300 with £773 costs, after pleading guilty to breaching the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.

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 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.”

If you have been affected by an incident such as this, and you would like expert advice, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email claims@hampsonhughes.com

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