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Two year old loses fingertips

Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council has been fined following an incident in which a two year old boy suffered severe injuries to his left hand whilst visiting Springfield park in Heywood, near Rochdale.

Fingertips severed in park gate hinge

An investigation led by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that on the day of the incident, the toddler had entered the park with his mother and three other children. The boy was playing close to the gate when the gate was closed – due to the child’s young age, he was unable to describe the event in detail, but the assumption is that the gate was pushed closed by another child.

The boy’s fingertips were inside the hinge of the gate. The ‘guillotine’ effect severed two of the boy’s fingertips.

Safety mechanism removed

Trafford Magistrates’ Court heard that a locking mechanism had been removed from the gate 12 to 18 months prior to the incident. The park had been inspected several times by members of Rochdale Council during this period, but no action was taken to replace the stopper.

Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council was found guilty of breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The council was fined £13,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,317.

HSE Inspector Emily Osborne commented:

“Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council failed to make sure health and safety at the playpark met the minimum legal standards and put children visiting the play area at Springfield Park at risk over a long period of time. The risk of trapping fingers in the gate was not identified and no prior action was taken by the council to stop this from happening.

“It is simply not good enough to not identify a serious risk and do nothing to prevent it. A guard should have been fitted over the dangerous part of the gate or the stopper should have been replaced. Instead, a two-year-old boy suffered injuries that are likely to affect him for life as a result of the council’s failings.”

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Source: Health and Safety Executive

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