Health and Safety Prosecutions and Litigation in UK Schools

Written by Paddy Swan

A Head Teacher’s Safety Management Toolkit Article


This article sets out some ofrepparttar background some and examples of prosecutions and litigation against UK schools.

Whilst Scottish Law and its’ Legal System differs from that in England and Walesrepparttar 109273 writ ofrepparttar 109274 enforcing and regulating body repparttar 109275 Health and Safety Executive(HSE) runs acrossrepparttar 109276 border and matters are decided inrepparttar 109277 Criminal Courts.

Litigation takes place inrepparttar 109278 Civil Courts and, inrepparttar 109279 case of Health and Safety usually revolves around aspects ofrepparttar 109280 LEA. Owner, school and teachers’ duty of care to children. Almost all of these cases are civil actions taken by parents on behalf of repparttar 109281 child for damages for injuries subsequent to accidents.


The Health and Safety Commission isrepparttar 109282 actual agency of which HSE isrepparttar 109283 executive branch have published an Enforcement Policy which sets out very clearlyrepparttar 109284 parameters for, and circumstances in, whichrepparttar 109285 HSE should take action to enforcerepparttar 109286 Health and Safety Law and Regulations.

Enforcement of H&S law inrepparttar 109287 past targeted “Directors” and “Company Secretaries” and clearly this had a business and commercial bias.

The current HSC Enforcement Policy appears to be targeting enforcement action against managers as well as Directors and now seems to be focused on bothrepparttar 109288 public and private sectors equally. This is also clarified inrepparttar 109289 Guidance torepparttar 109290 Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations which talks about “organisations” being schools, colleges, voluntary bodies, councils well as companies. Personal liability to prosecutions underrepparttar 109291 safety law has been extended to person who exercise a similar role to directors and company secretaries. This would certainly include Heads asrepparttar 109292 CEO of their schools but could also be interpreted to mean Directors/Assistant Directors, or those persons inrepparttar 109293 school employer’s organization directing and organisingrepparttar 109294 H&S function.

In short any person or any organisation can be liable to prosecution under H&S laws and regulations for a range of offences.

Staff, or others can be liable for puttingrepparttar 109295 health and safety of others at risk by acting negligently or interfering with safety equipment. Others can be liable for advising or conniving to promote unsafe acts.

However,the main area where a cold chill runs downrepparttar 109296 spine for teachers and schools isrepparttar 109297 potential for a child to be killed and a manslaughter charge to be brought.

Three points here are worth considering:

1. Allrepparttar 109298 manslaughter charges so far made have been onrepparttar 109299 basis of gross negligence.

2. HSE does not bring this charge it has a protocol withrepparttar 109300 police where both of them run TWO investigations side by side and repparttar 109301 police hand a completed file torepparttar 109302 DPP orrepparttar 109303 Procurator. In England and Wales it isrepparttar 109304 DPP who makes any charge of manslaughter and gross negligence is acknowledged by lawyers to be difficult to prove.

3. An old lawyer's adage adopted by H&S professionals is that no one has ever been prosecuted for following good practice.Follow good practice and you will be secure.

Almost allrepparttar 109305 manslaughter charges made against teachers have been involved with offsite visits.I estimate about 1-2,000,0000 school visits have been made overrepparttar 109306 same period that there have been about 6 prosecutions for mansalughter.

HSE actions are much more ikely to be for breaches ofrepparttar 109307 law and regulations.

Primary Schools and breaches ofrepparttar 109308 H&S law.

The actual numbers of prosecutions from 1999 -2003 are actually very small only about 25 in total are recorded as relating to Primary Schools onrepparttar 109309 HSE Database. The following is a breakdown of what these prosecutions were for:

Breach AgainstNumber 1999 -2004 HASAWA 8 Electricity Regs 3 Manual Handling Regs 2 Management HSW Regs 5 Construction Design Regs 3 Work Equipment 3 Other 3

So you can see thatrepparttar 109310 main features of prosecutions is for offences underrepparttar 109311 Act itself and for breaches ofrepparttar 109312 Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations. An important aspect is that many of these breaches involved contracts, so it is clear that your control of these needs to be secure.

If you are visited by an inspector they will not generally prosecute immediately. Though they say that they do use prosecution as an important lever to help driverepparttar 109313 HSC’s targets forward.

Inspectors are much more likely to give advice and information or inrepparttar 109314 case of breaches to issue improvement or prohibition orders

Good news about enforcement

Out of 75 breaches prosecuted by HSE in Primary Schools 1997 - 2003 for which records are available in HSE’s Database, none nominatedrepparttar 109315 Headteacher asrepparttar 109316 defendant. In all of them an LEA or other Employer/Contractor wasrepparttar 109317 defendant. The picture for repparttar 109318 make up of breaches is given below.

HSC/HSE says exactly what they mean and are transparent. They also produce masses of clearly written information free. References are given to a large selection of these which are relevant. No one has ever been prosecuted for following good practice. You may not haverepparttar 109319 formal documentation but if you have taken care that you have records this always helps.


Written by Amber Whitman

Rasputin was born in 1869, in Tyumen, a district of Siberia. He arrived in Saint Petersburg in 1911 and was a young guard. Even today, he is known as a shadowy and mysterious character. He apparently had weird personality traits. Doctor's and skeptics came torepparttar conclusion he must have been possessed. He had power's overrepparttar 109272 Tsarevich andrepparttar 109273 royal family, that could not be explained.

The young tsar had deadly episodes of bleeding known as hemophilia. Rasputin was able to stoprepparttar 109274 bleeding. The family though he was sent be god. Rasputin was close torepparttar 109275 Tsaritsa's closest friend, Anya Vyrubova. She had a train accident and was almost killed. Her body was crushed and mangled. Rasputin went to her and held her hand and then started to chant, "Annushka, Annushka, rise! She awoke from her coma and tried to rise. Rasputin spoke telling all she would live. He also told everyone she would be a cripple forrepparttar 109276 rest of her life and she was.

In time he tried to befriend other members ofrepparttar 109277 family without success. They did not trust him. He had no further luck withrepparttar 109278 church. He had a number of church hierarchy exiled after they turned on him. Rasputin

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