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Yorkshire school fined after teaching assistant falls through roof and breaks her back

A Yorkshire school has been sentenced for a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act after an employee fell through the ceiling of the school hall, causing a major injury.

Bradford Magistrates’ Court heard that in September 2019, a teaching assistant at Todmorden Church of England Junior Infants and Nursery School had accessed the loft space in the school and as they entered, they fell around four metres through the fragile ceiling which resulted in a broken back.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that when the teaching assistant was searching for a spare desk in the loft space, she fell due to the area being only partially boarded, meaning that the fragile ceiling gave way.

This incident resulted in the victim suffering a broken back that left her in hospital for three weeks. She is still in recovery awaiting further operations.

Todmorden Church of England Junior Infants and Nursery School, of Burnley Road, Todmorden, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 6 (3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

The school has been fined £4,000 and ordered to pay a surcharge of £181 and £747.80 costs.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Charlotte Bligh commented: “The school failed to take suitable and sufficient measures to prevent events like this.

“This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices”

Speaking after the sentencing the chair of Governors, Mrs Lynn Stansfield said: "The school deeply regrets the circumstances which led to the teaching assistant’s accident on September 18, 2019.

"Following the accident, the school took steps to rectify matters and has at all times co-operated with the HSE investigation. This member of staff remains a well-respected work colleague and our thoughts, love and best wishes are with them and their family."

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