Council hit with £48,000 fine for safety failings

Nadine Craig outside Selkirk Sheriff Court after Scottish Borders Council were fined �48,000.
Nadine Craig outside Selkirk Sheriff Court after Scottish Borders Council were fined �48,000.
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HANDING down a £48,000 fine to the council, Sheriff Kevin Drummond described a breach of health and safety law which led to the disfigurement of a school pupil as a “serious failure”.

Galashiels Academy student Nadine Craig was left in hospital for 10 days and was off school for six months after being dragged into an unguarded lathe by her scarf during a class in 2007.

At Selkirk Sheriff Court on Monday, Sheriff Drummond said the gravity of the breach led him to a fine of £72,000, but he reduced it to £48,000 for the early plea.

He said: “The degree of risk was substantial and it was one which was allowed to continue over a significant period of time.

“The fact that schoolchildren were, in fact, permitted to be involved in the operation of machinery in these circumstances was a serious failure.”

He said the lathe was routinely used without a guard, which could be bought for £260, but did note that the local authority did not accept that the teacher was not given the necessary resources to carry out a risk assessment on the equipment.

“It was wrong of him to fail to comply and it was wrong of the authority to allow it to continue,” he said.

A council spokesman said SBC had expressed its “unreserved apology” to Miss Craig, and accepted its responsibility.

He added: “A full safety review of technical classes in all secondary schools was carried out immediately after the accident.”