Hampshire County Council has been fined almost one and a half million pounds after a six-year-old girl suffered a life-changing injury whilst playing on an unsecured street bollard.
Bournemouth Crown Court heard how in December 2015 the child was visiting Lymington with her family when she climbed onto the cast iron hinged bollard on a cobbled pedestrianised street.
The bollard fell to the ground taking the child with it. As a result, she suffered serious, life-changing head injuries that were initially life-threatening and spent six months in hospital in a critical condition.
The extent of her brain injury will not be fully known until her brain has developed.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the bollard was damaged and not appropriately secured. The matter had previously been reported to Hampshire County Council before the incident and monthly scheduled inspections had failed to identify this.
The investigation also found insufficient information, instruction and training were provided to the council’s highways department personnel conducting ad hoc and monthly inspections, and the inspection guidance was misleading.
Hampshire County Council was found guilty after a trial of breaching Section 3(1) of Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 was fined £1.4 million. They were also ordered to pay full costs of £130,632.
Jeremy Sirrell a Partner at Palmers and Health and Safety expert said: “As a result of negligence from the Council, a child has been left with life-changing injuries when the incident could have been easily prevented. The case highlights the importance of taking urgent action to prevent injury when alerted to damaged property.”
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