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Parents may sue over heating duct collapse

Heating duct collapse injures pupils


Parents are threatening to sue over a heating duct that fell on pupils taking an exam in the sports hall of their school.

Four Year 9 pupils at Minster College on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent suffered serious head, neck and back injuries, and they and seven other children received medical checks in hospital.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has found that steel wires attaching the ducting to the hall roof failed, causing a section to collapse.

Victoria Sullivan, whose son was among the four seriously injured, says that nine parents are now planning to sue on the grounds that the hall should not have been used.

Headteacher Alan Klee commented: "They are not alone in wanting answers, but we must wait for the Health and Safety Executive to finish its investigation and report its findings."

He said it was "very lucky" that more of the 157 students who were in the hall at the time were not hurt. All 11 injured pupils have now left hospital.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

David Urpeth, National Head of Workplace Injuries at Irwin Mitchell, said: "This was a terrible accident, the circumstances of which are currently under investigation.

"Whatever the cause, something obviously went very wrong leading to terrible injuries being sustained.

"Whist we don't know the exact cause of this accident, generally, the owners/occupiers of property are responsible for the safety of those lawfully on their premises.

"As a result, I often pursue compensation claims for people injured in schools, shops and restaurants."