Child lost finger after Birtenshaw special school in Bromley Cross failed to fit safety guards on doors

Birtenshaw Hall in Darwen Road, Bromley Cross

Birtenshaw Hall in Darwen Road, Bromley Cross

First published in News
Last updated

A SPECIAL school has been ordered to pay almost £900 after a nine-year-old autistic boy lost a finger when it became trapped in a door.

Birtenshaw was ordered to pay the legal costs after a prosecution for safety failings by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

An HSE investigation found the organisation had failed to make sure all of the doors at its new special needs school in Bromley Cross were fitted with finger guards.

Trafford Magistrates Court heard that the child, who also has learning difficulties, trapped his hand in the hinge of the door when he went into the "quiet room" during his first few days in the new school building on September 11, 2012.

He lost all of his index finger as a result of the incident.

The court was told that the charity, which runs Birtenshaw School in Darwen Road along with several care homes, had identified the need for finger guards during the construction of its new school building.

However, the organisation failed to make sure the guards had been fitted before the new building opened to pupils in September 2012, and several doors were found to have missing guards.

Birtenshaw was given a conditional discharge but was ordered to pay £898 in prosecution costs after admitting a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector David Norton said: “A nine-year-old boy has suffered an injury that will affect him for the rest of his life because of the failings of the charity which runs the school.

“Birtenshaw knew there was a risk of children’s fingers becoming trapped in doors as the pupils who attend the school have learning and physical disabilities, making them particularly vulnerable.

“It would have been relatively easy to walk around the school to check all of the doors had been fitted with finger guards before pupils moved into the new building, but the charity failed to do this.

“It’s vital that organisations do more than just identify risks and actually make sure measures are in place to tackle any dangers.”

Comments (4)

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5:15pm Fri 11 Apr 14

JustBecause says...

An what was the compensation for the boy?, hopefully thousands.
An what was the compensation for the boy?, hopefully thousands. JustBecause
  • Score: 8

2:42am Sat 12 Apr 14

Comment777 says...

They should put a guard around the whole building to stop it offending people's eyes..it must be the ugliest building in the borough if not the country, a monstrosity on what was the last green space between Bolton and the village...
They should put a guard around the whole building to stop it offending people's eyes..it must be the ugliest building in the borough if not the country, a monstrosity on what was the last green space between Bolton and the village... Comment777
  • Score: -1

9:28am Sat 12 Apr 14

marco999 says...

I feel sorry for the child who lost a finger it must have been very distressing for him and of course he must live with it now for the rest of his life. I was a child in the 1970’s and grew up in the years when we travelled in cars without seatbelts, played conkers without wearing safety goggles and had little or nothing to cushion us from the knocks, scrapes and blows that children experience as they grow up. There were no ‘safety coverings’ at the playground, no plug socket blanking covers or sharp edge cushion strips at home yet we managed to come through it pretty much unscathed. My point here is not to knock this unfortunate child who lost a finger but hopefully to highlight the fact that when health and safety takes over every aspect of our lives, we’re probably more likely to become blasé about the dangers that exist all around us. Common sense used to protect us in the 70’s but nowadays we come to expect H&S to have taken care of all potential dangers and I’m not sure that’s such a good thing.
I feel sorry for the child who lost a finger it must have been very distressing for him and of course he must live with it now for the rest of his life. I was a child in the 1970’s and grew up in the years when we travelled in cars without seatbelts, played conkers without wearing safety goggles and had little or nothing to cushion us from the knocks, scrapes and blows that children experience as they grow up. There were no ‘safety coverings’ at the playground, no plug socket blanking covers or sharp edge cushion strips at home yet we managed to come through it pretty much unscathed. My point here is not to knock this unfortunate child who lost a finger but hopefully to highlight the fact that when health and safety takes over every aspect of our lives, we’re probably more likely to become blasé about the dangers that exist all around us. Common sense used to protect us in the 70’s but nowadays we come to expect H&S to have taken care of all potential dangers and I’m not sure that’s such a good thing. marco999
  • Score: 7

1:39am Sun 13 Apr 14

Darrennz says...

Holding the charity at fault is inadequate in my opinion. The building should be assessed by a suitably qualified person who needs to issue a "certificate of building fitness for purpose" prior to the building being used. It's not much use after a kid goes through a normal glass window then say that window should have been safety glass. Hindsight, prevention not prosecution.
Holding the charity at fault is inadequate in my opinion. The building should be assessed by a suitably qualified person who needs to issue a "certificate of building fitness for purpose" prior to the building being used. It's not much use after a kid goes through a normal glass window then say that window should have been safety glass. Hindsight, prevention not prosecution. Darrennz
  • Score: 5

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