Ceiling Collapse Injures 15 Children – HSE Impose Fine
Failure to consider structural load bearing can have catastrophic consequences
A recent incident involving a school trust being fined by the HSE has highlighted the importance of assessing the load-bearing capabilities of storage areas. The incident occurred when fifteen Year Three children, aged 7 and 8, and their teacher were injured after a classroom ceiling collapsed due to excessive weight.
The incident took place at Rosemead Preparatory School in London. The school had been using the attic above a classroom as a storage area, including tables and chairs, without giving sufficient thought to the weight of the items being stored.
In November 2021, the weight became too much for the ceiling to bear, leading to its collapse during a busy school period. The children and teacher in the classroom at the time suffered injuries from falling debris, with some being rushed to hospital for treatment.
Following an investigation, the HSE determined that Thurlow Educational Trust had failed to adequately assess the load-bearing capabilities of the storage area. This negligence led to the endangerment of the children and the Trust was fined £80,000 and ordered to pay £7,116.31 in costs at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 29th August 2023.
Assessing the load-bearing capabilities of a storage area is of utmost importance, requiring regular inspections, considering the structural integrity of the building, and ensuring proper storage practices to prevent incidents like this from occurring.
This incident serves as a reminder for organisations to take their responsibilities seriously when it comes to maintaining a safe environment for everyone. The consequences of neglecting load-bearing assessments can be severe, as evidenced by the injuries suffered by the children and teacher in this unfortunate incident.