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Safety failings led to boy’s fall

Safety failings led to boy’s fall

A school has been fined after a teenager fractured his heel bone after falling four metres to the ground from a climbing wall.

The pupil, aged14, fell while taking part in an exercise that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the school did not have an adequate safety management system in place for. The probe by the HSE into the accident last October, also found the instructor at Manningtree High School in Essex was not competent to teach or supervise the exercise.

The teenager was one of four pupils trying their first-ever ‘lead climb’, which is a more advanced, mainly rock-climbing technique, during a PE lesson.

After the climber grew tired, the instructor told him to let go of the climbing wall, which he did. However, instead of being supported by the ropes he and the other pupils had been using, he fell unrestrained over four metres and hit the safety mat on the floor. The pupil, now 15, suffered a fractured heel bone, which was later pinned and plated.

The HSE found that prior to the lesson none of the pupils were aware what lead-climbing was or the risks involved and none had been properly trained.

Manningtree High School, of Colchester Road, Manningtree, was fined £9,000 at Colchester Magistrates’ Court and ordered to pay £1,641 in costs after pleading guilty of breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 for failing to adequately protect the pupils against the risk of falls.

Copyright Press Association 2013