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In short: School exposed pupils to gunpowder risk

A Bristol school has admitted failings under Sections 2 and 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act after a chemistry laboratory technician’s bowel was ruptured during an incident in October 2014.

Bristol Cathedral Choir School | Image credit: ©Rose and Trev Clough and licensed for reuse
Bristol Cathedral Choir School | Image credit: ©Rose and Trev Clough and licensed for reuse

The technician, who has since retired, also lost parts of three fingers while preparing an explosive for a fireworks demonstration for a class at Bristol Cathedral Choir School. 

It was revealed that explosive substances were regularly handled and prepared at the school, with gunpowder and flash powder kept in its chemistry storeroom. 

The technician spent 12 days in hospital as a result of the accident, which the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said could have been avoided if the school had clear management arrangements to control and review the risks posed by the chemicals used in its teaching activities.  
The school was fined £26,000 (£8,000 for the Section 2 offence and £18,000 for the Section 3 offence) and ordered to pay £12,176 costs.


Keeley Downey was the former assistant editor of IOSH Magazine. Previously she was editor of Biofuels International, Bioenergy Insight and Tank Cleaning Magazine

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  • Is it the failing of the

    Permalink Submitted by Kate on 18 January 2016 - 07:45 pm

    Is it the failing of the school or of the local authority who are usually the ones to be responsible for the provision of health and safety guidance? Too often educational establishments, schools particularly are overlooked when it comes to good and effective health and safety management.

  • Was the school licenced under

    Permalink Submitted by Andrew Kurdziel on 20 January 2016 - 02:11 pm

    Was the school licenced under the explosives act to store gunpowder?


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