Sixteen year old Ryan Edwards suffered burns to his left eye during a chemistry class at Glendowie College three weeks ago.
Apparently he and his partner weren’t wearing safety glasses during the lesson, his was one of the many injuries that befall students in New Zealand every year. Whether it be notoriously unsafe playground equipment, deadly outward bound activities, piles of dangerously stacked wood, explosions or violence, NZ schools are not safe havens for kids.
Whilst you reflect on the apparent lack of a safety culture in acountry whose education system favours natural selection, you should read the reports of Ryan Edwards ‘accident’ in the press. Notice how they focus on him not wearing safety eyewear, never are there any questions about why he needed to carry a bottle of concentrated acid around the classroom. Why the bottle was stoppere andnot fitted with a pump. Why it was not kept in a fume cabinet, and why there is no official investigation underway.
Ryan’s was an accident waiting to happen, eyewear would have been a last line of defence, we think it is time schools reviewed their safety policies and are subject to regular auditing.
During 2011 the cost of school injuries in NZ amounted to $22 million, with 56,776 children injured at school. When you consider that school is supposed to be a safe environment for children some of the following injury data may surprise you. It would be reasonable to question whether schools are taking all reasonable care of their charges. source
More than 7000 pupils were injured after hitting or being knocked over by an object. Being struck by a person or an animal resulted in 6838 injuries, and 5107 pupils tripped or stumbled.
Four pupils suffered electric shocks, 21 were hurt by fire and 12 were injured by an explosion, blast or implosion.
Five pupils were hurt after eating fungi, 41 pupils had something give way under them, 53 were exposed to the elements and 397 were hurt when a stack or bulk goods collapsed on them.
The most costly injury was injury to a pupil was $33,414 and the most costly single injury to a worker at school was $71,491. The ACC refused to say what those injuries were.