Firm fined after electric gate crush

Firm fined after electric gate crush 25647

A Wiltshire security company has been fined after a primary school pupil was crushed by its poorly fitted gate.

Swindon Magistrates' Court heard Camera Security Services fitted an electronic closing device to a metal gate at Heathlands School in Bournemouth, but neglected to put a safety sensor on it that would have halted its movements if a person was detected in its path.

While these devices are relatively cheap and simple to install, the school's gates remained unsafe and on January 6th 2010, an anonymous three-year-old boy was trapped between the gate and a post.

Parents and bystanders were able to free the youngster before he suffered any serious injury, but his mum and dad were quite rightly upset by the incident.

After hearing about the malpractice, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched an inquiry as to why a sensor was not put in place and it was found Camera Security Services failed to see the need to install one at the school.

For this oversight, the firm was prosecuted and after a trial, it pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11 of the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 1992. 

Executives at the company were told to pay £3,000 in fines and £7,000 in costs out of its capital base.

Following the hearing, HSE inspector Stephan Axt-Simmonds commented: "Camera Security Services failed to ensure that the equipment they supplied and installed in 2008 was able to operate safely. 

"They had a clear legal requirement in this regard and should also have been mindful that this particular location, the entrance to a primary school, would be used by a particularly vulnerable group: young children."

In this case the school was not responsible for the three-year-old's trapping, but educational institutions should always do their best to ensure the safety of their pupils by checking the quality of security installations.

Mr Axt-Simmonds said businesses worried about being liable for similar crushing incidents should check guidence on the Door and Hardware Federation's website.

By Chris Stevenson