Schoolboy suffers broken neck after being crushed by falling goalposts during PE lesson

The Mirror is reporting that a schoolboy had his neck broken during a PE lesson when he was crushed by a falling goalpost…

Alan Ramsay, 12, suffered three serious fractures when he was knocked unconscious after the goal tipped over when he tried to swing from its two-metre high crossbar.

Teachers and classmates looked on in horror as he lay on the floor for three minutes. unresponsive with bones sticking out of his mouth and neck.

His shocked mother raced to Liberton High School, Edinburgh, to find her son covered in blood before he was rushed to hospital.

The school is still raw from the death of Keane Wallis-Bennett, who died after a free-standing modesty wall near showers in a changing room collapsed on top of her as she got ready for PE.

He remains in hospital recovering from three serious fractures and damage to a blood vessel in his brain, which left him at the risk of a stroke…

Alan faces at least two months in a neck brace.

Doctors are still analysing the damage to his blood vessel, which could increase the risk of a stroke if untreated…

A spokesman for the city council said: “We wish Alan a full recovery and the school are offering every support to him and his family to ensure his education continues while he is off.

“We take all incidents of this nature extremely seriously and immediate action has been taken to prevent anything similar happening.

“The school has carried out a full risk assessment of all gym activities and other schools and community centres have been instructed to carry out an immediate review of similar equipment.

“The Health and Safety Executive has been informed…”

More at: Alan Ramsay: Schoolboy suffers broken neck after being crushed by falling goalposts during PE lesson


I guess the school could be in trouble over this but, in principle, what determines who might be at fault in a situation where someone is deliberately misusing equipment? Please give us your insights in the comments or via Twitter…


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  1. It depends whether the HSE finds that the school has been in some way negligent. They’ll check the risk assessments to make sure they were carried out in a competent manner, they’ll look to see that the goal had been secured in the ground according to the manufacturers instructions and they’ll look to see If the most recent inspection of the goal had found a structural fault that hadn’t been attended to. There is only so much that can be tested away from the factory anyway, so there might not have been any way to determine that there was a potential fault. The experts will decide.

    Swinging from crossbars is a common activity at every level, including the Premier League, and the manufacturers will have allowed for that in their design but this incident appears to have been caused by the goal not being fixed securely in the ground, so that’s where HSE will probably look.
    Was the goal not concreted-in properly or was it a mobile one, designed to be held down by pegs or by other means? We don’t know all the facts yet so it would be wrong to make assumptions.
    The law does not say that just because there has been an incident that somebody must automatically be to blame; it is there to ensure that everything that could reasonably be done had indeed been done beforehand.
    ‘Reasonably practicable’ is the term used. 
    Everyone associated with H&S, school sports, PE lessons and school playtimes should know all this by now, and there has been updated guidance on the HSE website for all play activities and off-site school trips since 2012.
    A brand new risk-benefit assessment template, appropriate for all sporting, PE and play activities, is available to download for free on the Play England, Play Scotland, Play Wales and Play Board NI websites to help you through the entire process, step by step.

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