The Most Common Accident & Injury Claims in Schools, Colleges and Universities

3rd February 2016

The Most Common Accident & Injury Claims in Schools, Colleges and Universities

It’s a sad fact that the number of claims for injuries sustained by students being made against schools, colleges and universities by parents or the students themselves is on the rise.

Often the injuries were incurred purely by accident and it’s up to the school or college administrators to reduce the risk of accidents occurring wherever possible.

The most common accidents leading to injury and subsequent claims are:

Slips, Trips & Falls

According to the HSE, 55% of all major accidents in education facilities are caused by slips or trips, resulting in almost 2,000 in 2014 alone.

The most common – and obvious – places for these types of accidents to happen are in corridors, outdoors in playgrounds – especially on play equipment – car parks, other areas open to the elements and on stairs.

They can also happen in classrooms, especially where bags are left lying around or cables for TVs and computers are not adequately secured, canteens and heavy traffic areas such as entrances.

Less common, but potentially more dangerous, are falls from open windows. While slips and trips are difficult to avoid, this type of accident is easily avoided by fitting windows that only open part way or by installing window restrictors.

Defective Equipment

Accidents caused by defective equipment is another very common way children can get injured and can be avoided – responsibility lies squarely on the shoulders of the administrators and maintenance staff in schools, colleges and universities.

As we know, children like to play around on equipment that isn’t meant for that purpose, so it needs to be kept as strong and well maintained as possible.

Poorly maintained equipment like chairs, desks and gym equipment can lead to serious injury for children and should be checked on a regular basis and repairs or replacements carried out whenever necessary.

Even play equipment in playgrounds, which is meant to be played on needs to be kept to a high standard as again, they are a common way for children to get injured.

Accidents Involving Doors

As you can imagine, an education facility has a lot of doors. This presents an increased risk of injury, either through pupils being hit by opening or closing doors or through getting fingers trapped between doors or in hinges.

Finger trapping injuries are the most common accidents caused by doors, while injuries caused by being hit with a door can be more serious.

School and college administrators should look to reduce the risks by ensuring proper order is kept in classrooms and corridors and can install finger guards on doors to prevent finger trapping.

Sports Injuries

The very nature of playing sports leaves us all open to the possibility of suffering an injury but this risk is increased in schools due to the number of people involved, the level of supervision required and, in some cases, the quality of equipment provided.

That is why sports injuries are amongst the most common experienced by pupils in schools, colleges and universities, especially in those sports that do require equipment, such as cricket, tennis and the like.

With well maintained equipment, well trained staff and high levels of supervision, the risk can be reduced.

Food Poisoning

This may come as a surprise, but the number of claims made against schools and colleges for food poisoning is quite high. While not technically an injury or accident, the number of children who suffer food poisoning at school makes it worth mentioning.

Obviously by maintaining a high level of hygiene in kitchens and other food preparation areas, as well as in canteens, the risk of food poisoning is greatly reduced.


Lastly, many solicitors still list asbestos exposure as one of the most common claims they are asked to pursue.

There are very few school buildings remaining that contain asbestos but still the claims come through, likely historical from people suffering asbestos-related illnesses contracted at school through exposure in older buildings and premises.

Speak to our experts about the range of safety solutions we can provide to cut down the risk of accidents and injuries in schools, colleges and universities.

To find out more about increasing the safety of your school, speak to one of our safety experts on 0161 413 0766 or Request a FREE Risk Assessment Survey for your school now.