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Serious consequence for teacher’s breach of Health and Safety Law

8 November 2010

A head teacher with a 42 year untarnished teaching career was convicted of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA) after taking students on to the school roof to show them renovation works. One student fell suffering serious, permanent injury. The head teacher was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £22,708. He must pay both sums within six months or will face up to a year in prison.

In addition to employers’ duties under the HSWA, employees are under a duty to take reasonable care of their own and others health and safety. This case is a stark reminder that one “grave and uncharacteristic judgement” which leads to a breach of health and safety at a school can cause serious repercussions that can attach to the individual employee responsible, and not necessarily the employer.

It is important that all school staff know and understand their legal obligations regarding health and safety to prevent circumstances such as these from occurring again.

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Partner and Head of Education

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