Page last updated at 19:32 GMT, Monday, 26 January 2009

Council fined after boy impaled

A Greater Manchester council has been fined 25,000 after a four-year-old boy was impaled on a tree branch during a nursery school outing.

The boy, one of 20 children on a Clockwork Day Nursery outing to Stamford Park on 7 June, 2006, slipped down a water channel on to the tree.

Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council pleaded guilty to two charges under health and safety legislation.

It was fined 25,000 and ordered to pay 23,565 costs.

Catherine Willars, an inspector at the Health and Safety Executive, said after the Manchester Crown Court hearing, both the council and the nursery failed to carry out adequate risk assessments.

There is an obligation to protect vulnerable people from dangers
Catherine Willars

She said: "Children as young as four years old were allowed to play away from an 'agreed' area, unsupervised, for lengthy periods.

"This resulted in a group of children trying to cross the water channel during which a young boy lost his footing at the edge of the running water, slipped and, with nothing to hold on to, fell 24m down a steep slope into a culvert filled with debris."

"There is an obligation to protect vulnerable people from dangers, " she added.

"This was a serious incident that could have easily been avoided had simple, sensible precautions been taken by the nursery and the council."

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