17 December, 2018
Bridgend County Borough Council has been fined after a boy ran into the path of a school bus and was killed.
In 2014, the boy had finished school and was crossing the road to board his bus home when the collision with a minibus took place. The HSE found that the layby created before the school opened in 2008 was not large enough to accommodate all the school buses at home time. As a result, some of the school buses had to park on the other side of the road, which had no pavement, leaving children to board in the middle of the road while other vehicles were able to travel in both directions between the waiting buses. Coach drivers described the area as a "free for all", with others describing it as "chaos".
Sadly, the Council's health and safety advisor had identified this risk in 2008 but the advice was not acted upon as it was deemed too late to change the design. There had also been a number of near misses since the school opened but the incidents had not been officially reported or discussed by the school.
Following the accident, the HSE ordered the Council to modify the bus layby to make it big enough for all children to board buses from the pavement. The HSE also brought a prosecution against Bridgend County Borough Council. The Council was fined £300,000 and ordered to pay costs of £29,228.
This is a tragic accident, which could have been avoided. Lessons must be learnt from this accident, schools ought to review traffic arrangements within their grounds, and where possible design layouts to ensure pupils are separated from moving traffic. It is also imperative that traffic management is continually and actively monitored and risk assessed. A system for reporting and discussing health safety incidents should be implemented to ensure that incidents are investigated so that risks can be eliminated to avoid future accidents.