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News added on 01.08.2019

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Lack of safety mechanism led to child's death

A six-year-old boy died when a gate that he was playing on fell on top of him. Could the accident have been prevented, and who was responsible?

The young boy was playing with friends on an electric sliding gate to an underground car park in Leeds, pushing it open and closed. The gate was pushed beyond its retaining mechanism and it fell over, trapping and fatally crushing the child.

The HSE’s investigation found that Bradfabs Ltd (B), the company that had manufactured and installed the electric gate, had failed to install an endstop to the gate’s track. If a thorough commissioning check had been carried out before signing the installation off, this omission should have been discovered and remedied.

Over the course of the six years that the gate was in operation, nobody involved in inspecting or maintaining it had noticed and rectified this deficiency either.

B pleaded guilty to breaching its duty under s.3(1) Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 to ensure the health, safety and welfare of non-employees affected by its work activities. It was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay full costs of over £12,400.

Although the gate clearly was not intended to be used in this way, the fact that the company responsible for manufacturing and installing it had failed to put a crucial safety mechanism in place meant that it was responsible for this tragic accident. As well as failing to install the endstop, the company had not thoroughly checked the gate’s installation before allowing the building owner to put it into operation.

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