TWO boys who were electrocuted by a live wire protruding from a college swimming pool hairdryer are lucky to be alive, a judge said.
One was flung to the floor and both suffered burns plus electricity entry and exit wounds in the terrifying incident.
Their ordeal could have proved fatal – yet when safety concerns were raised at £11,000-a-term Bradfield College, they were not acted on, Reading Crown Court was told.
On Monday, September 12, Bradfield College Enterprises Ltd was fined £26,000 after admitting failure to ensure safety at the pool.
The court heard one boy was knocked off his feet and lay, shaking, in the swimming pool changing room.
The other suffered chest pains and both were taken to hospital.
Both children, who can not be identified for legal reasons, suffered burns from the incident in November 2013, caused by a bare piece of live copper wiring protruding from the hairdryer’s power cable.
Mark Watson, prosecuting, said: “Although the defect had been reported on October 29 and given a response priority of between two and seven days, no action had been taken until eight days after.
“One boy had a burn entry and exit wound and was thrown to the ground and required physiotherapy for a knee injury.”
The judge, Mr Recorder Featherby, said: “Paramedics were called and they were both taken to a local hospital. Both boys were electrocuted.”
He added that staff at the school had an inadequate understanding of the risks and dangers involved and went on: “The hairdryer had been defective for just over a week before this incident.
“No repairs were effected between that date and the date of the incident... the hairdryer should have been repaired or taken away completely. The incident could have led to a fatal electric shock.”
The pair were not pupils at the school but were there for Bradfield College’s outreach programme, the court heard.
Bradfield College Enterprises Ltd admitted breaching its duty under health and safety legislation.
Mark Balysz, defending, said in mitigation: “I publicly apologise on behalf of Bradfield Enterprise Ltd to the two boys for the electrocution they suffered.”
The college released a statement following the judgement and fine, which stated: "Bradfield College Enterprises Limited (BCEL) greatly regrets this incident. At the time BCEL took full responsibility for what occurred and apologised to the families involved.
“We have cooperated with the authorities throughout their investigation.”
The statement added: “A thorough review of the electrical infrastructure and appliances at the Sports Centre was immediately carried out and changes made.
“The centre conforms fully to the strictest safety requirements and is subject to regular health and safety audits conducted to national standards by external auditors.”