Public liability insurers issue warning after child’s injury

Public liability insurers have issued warnings to their clients after one child suffered an injury in a public park.

East Lothian Council recently admitted to a breach of the1974 Health and Safety at Work Act.  The incident revolved around a child’s foot being crushed by a sculpture that had fallen.

In a public liability insurance claim against the council, the Health and Safety Executive stated that it neglected to have a system set in place for the statue’s maintenance.  Moreover the HSE stated that there was no standard inspection protocol in place for the sculpture as a preventative measure.

The council now faces fines of £6,000 for their role in the incident.  The fee was levied by Haddington Sheriff Court.

The young boy who suffered the injuries has not been named by th media in order to protect his family’s privacy.  He had been playing football in Haddington in January of last year when the accident occurred.  The sculpture, which weighed 81 kilograms, fell.  It landed squarely on the boy’s foot, which left him with several fractured bones.

The The Nungate Wheel sculpture was originally installed in June of 2000 in close proximity to a public park for children on Lemmermuir Crescent.  The Health and Safety Executive conducted an investigation of the sculpture.  Their findings indicated that a fatigue fracture had weakened the statue.  The nature of the fracture would have taken a prolonged period of time to develop, the HSE stated.  They added that if regular maintenance had ever been conducted, the boy’s injury could have been easily avoided.  In fact the HSE were clear in stating that a single risk assessment could have dramatically altered the course of events that led up to the accident.

According to 2009-2010 financial year records, the Health and Safety Executive pursued public liability claims in Scotland 93 times.

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