Lawford Kidd, Personal Injury Solicitors

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Local authority prosecuted after near drowning

Essex County Council has been fined for safety failings after a child with severe learning and physical disabilities almost drowned in his school’s swimming pool.

The 9-year-old boy was pulled from the water blue in colour and needed resuscitation after the incident during a school swimming session.

The council was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found that it had failed to provide schools with adequate information and guidance on how to safely manage and run their swimming pools.

Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court head that the boy and the rest of his class had been in the pool without adequate supervision. After coming round at the pool side, he was taken by hospital where he had to stay for 26 hours. His mother, speaking in a statement taken as part of the HSE investigation, said that her son was now frightened of water and was generally not as happy as before.

Magistrates heard that the council, as the employer, should have provided the school with sufficient information to prepare operating and emergency plans for the swimming pool, and should have taken steps to ensure the guidance had been followed.

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