Council fined £1.4m after bollard seriously injures child

Hampshire County Council has been fined £1.4m after a six-year-old girl playing on an unsecured street bollard suffered a life-changing head injury. The child climbed onto the cast iron hinged bollard, which then fell to the ground taking her with it. As a result, she suffered serious, life-changing head injuries -- the full extent of which will not be known until her brain has matured.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found the 69kg bollard was damaged and not appropriately secured, and that it had been reported to Hampshire County Council prior to 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 of breaching Section 3(1) of Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. In addition to the fine, it was ordered to pay full costs of £130,632.

HSE inspector Angela Sirianni said: “Councils have a duty to adequately assess and control risks to members of the public from street furniture.

“A child has been left with life-changing injuries as a result of what was an easily preventable incident. Council inspections failed to identify this risk over a long period of time and then, when alerted to the damage to the bollard, failed to take the urgent action required to prevent injury.”

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