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Dangerous Machine Safety Ignored for School Children

BY Douglas Cameron
Health & Safety

A pupil at Carilfield School in Edinburgh, received severe cuts to his middle and index finger while operating a band saw. HSE’s investigation confirmed the school had not completed a suitable and sufficient risk assessment and failed to supervise pupils while operating the machine.

The school was prosecuted, plead guilty to breaching Sections 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act and was fined £3,350.

HSE stated after the court case:

 “A band saw is considered a dangerous machine when used by adults, let alone children. This significant and very serious injury could have been prevented had the risk been identified and properly managed. All schools should take steps to ensure the safety of their pupils and HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

Our view

Injuries to school children are particularly wrenching. HSE issued safety guidance in 2017 relating to narrow band saws which we use when asked by our school clients to assist with this necessary assessment process.

BS4163:2014  Code of Practice Health and safety for design and technology in schools and similar establishments states  “The recommendations in this code of practice cannot ensure the health and safety of students and employees without proper training and supervision by the teacher in charge”.

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