A 14 year old boy was hit in the head by a shot-put during a PE lesson due to safety failings by The Judd School in Tonbridge, Kent.
After taking part, the boy had left the triple jump area and was standing on the edge of the shot-put landing zone to check how far a friend had thrown. Whilst he was there he was struck on the back of the head by a shot-put thrown by another pupil.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the incident and discovered that the shot put landing area was too close to another event taking place. There were other sports taking place across the field but due to the number of children and the number of different activities the distances between the events wasn’t enough.
The boy suffered a fractured skull and swelling of the brain rendering him unable to attend school for over three months.
It is the school’s responsibility to keep your children safe whilst on school grounds, and this includes during sports and PE lessons. Health and safety legislation does require schools to manage the risk from sports activities sensibly.
In most cases this will involve making sure that equipment is suitable for the pupils involved, that grounds are properly maintained and the right level of supervision for pupils is in place. Managing the risks sensibly means that the schools and relevant teaching staff keep up to date with guidance and standards applicable to the sports that are taught.
In this case more space should have been given between the shot-put landing area and any other activity. A 4kg shot-put event should not be held where anyone would be at risk of being struck. The children throwing the shot-puts should have been supervised and a teacher should have been aware of where other pupils were standing at all times.
The Courts are mindful of allowing activities to proceed which would not interfere with what might be considered to be the usual activities associated with ‘growing up’ and childhood. That said, there is a balance to be struck and where disregard is had to the safety of children, the Courts will still step in.
When there is a Personal Injury at school to a pupil or teacher and it wasn’t their fault, the school might be liable. It could be a slip on something that hasn’t been cleared up, or a fall from gym equipment, or, as in this case, injury to a pupil by another during sports.
If you or a family member has been injured whilst they were on school premises you may wish to claim compensation for their injuries. For a free consultation call us on freephone 0800 916 0946 or contact us online and we will call you.
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