Secondary school fined after teacher suffers fractured skull in fall
A London secondary school has been prosecuted after a teacher was left with a fractured skull when he fell from a ladder while adjusting spotlights in its drama studio.
Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard that Queen Elizabeth’s Girls’ School in Barnet failed to provide the teacher and a colleague working in the studio with sufficient work at height training, despite this being a requirement of the school’s health and safety policy.
The unnamed teacher was carrying out rigging and adjustments to spotlights and cabling in the studio when he fell on 9 May last year. He was left lying unconscious on the floor with suffered multiple fractures to his skull, wrist and elbow. A fellow teacher working in the room turned to find he had fallen from the ladder and raised the alarm.
HSE’s investigation found the school had failed to adequately assess the risks from work at height in the drama studio, although its safety policy required this. Although a health and safety e-learning tool was available for teachers and other staff to use, which included a module on work at height, it was not made mandatory until after the incident.
Queen Elizabeth’s Girls’ School, of High Street, Barnet, in north London, pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. It was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay HSE’s full prosecution costs at a sentencing hearing on 27 April 2017.
After the hearing HSE Inspector John Spence said: “If the school had conducted a suitable and sufficient risk assessment of the light rigging task and ensured that employees undertook the appropriate information, training and instruction available this incident could have been prevented.”
Queen Elizabeth’s Girls’ School describes itself as a one of the oldest state girls’ schools in the country, and converted to academy status in 2013.