School governors fined after safety failure

A primary school’s board of governors has been fined after a pupil trapped her fingers in a toilet door.

A court heard the four year old, who had only been at the school for three weeks, was allowed to access the girls’ toilet alone.

On hearing screams, staff found the pupil’s fingers were trapped in the hinges of the toilet door. The injuries resulted in part of the right middle finger being amputated.


An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found:

  • the door’s finger guard was missing – it had not been fitted since the toilets were converted five years before
  • there was no system in place for checking and monitoring door guards
  • staff had informed the former headteacher that the door was too heavy for young children to open

Guilty plea

The Board of Governors at St Joseph’s RC Primary school in Mossley pleaded guilty to breaching the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

The governors were fined £4,000 with £1,750 costs.

The HSE said the injury could easily have been prevented if a door guard had been fitted and a system was in place to maintain and monitor guards.

It added the ‘risk should have been identified so that reception pupils were not permitted to access the toilets alone or they should have been allowed to share the nursery toilets’.

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