Foreseeable, my eye!

(two puns for the price of one there. Read on.)

Paintbrush injury pupil set to receive pay-out

BBC News, Scotland.
A council has been held responsible for an accident which left a 10-year-old pupil with "catastrophic" brain damage.

Thomas Brown, now 18, attended Ladywell School in Motherwell when he fell on a paintbrush which pierced his eye.
The Court of Session in Edinburgh ruled that North Lanarkshire Council failed to prevent a foreseeable risk of harm.
As one who constantly moans about the health & safety and compensation culture, there are times when you have to sit back and say fairs fair. A child has received a terrible injury that will be with him for the rest of his life and it could have been prevented. Good luck to him.

This is not one of those times.

It seems the judge and the child's parents have a definition of the word "foreseeable" that does not tally with my own. This is the accident that should have been foreseen:

They were kneeling or crouching on the floor painting four sheets of paper which had been stuck together. The paper was too big to fit on a desk.
A girl stood up and bumped into Thomas, causing him to topple over and fall onto the paintbrush of a third child.
The pointed end of the foot-long thin brush went into his left eye.
 That would have a high comedic value if it weren't so tragic. Child bumps into other child who falls onto third child's paintbrush which goes in his eye. The possibility of that scenario ever occurring again is remote enough to be negligible. Yet it should have been foreseen. By who? Wizards?

It seems people not being psychic is becoming something of a problem these days.

The court heard that the accident had left him with no sight in his left eye and he had also suffered "a number of permanent disabilities", including poor concentration and memory and significant fatigue.

In the action, it was alleged the accident had affected Thomas's chances of finding a job and that it was unlikely he would be able to live independently in future.
That is truly a sad state of affairs. However it was simply a tragic accident, with no blame to be placed. Accidents like this do happen. That's why, in a caring society, we have things like disability allowance. It's not just for drunks.

Compensation to the tune of 2.5 million of taxpayers money is not the correct response.
Mr Brown's father, Christopher, is seeking damages of £2.5m. The court will rule on the level of compensation at a later date.
Neither is curtailing the fun and creativity of all the other children, just in case this unlikely anomaly ever happens again.

Lady Dorrian was told that since the accident the local authority had issued a "safety flash" warning, stopping children working on the floor and banning the use of long paintbrushes.
When I was at primary school we worked on the floor with long paintbrushes. That was thirty years ago and it's just being banned now?

*Update*
Thanks to Longrider for commenting. Apparently this is actually an open and shut case and the school was to blame.
He points out that "Unforeseeable" is different to "unlikely" with the use of one time honoured saying, "You'll have someones eye out with that".
However, H&S rules and regulations have changed incredibly since I was at school. They are a lot more stringent and take a lot more scenarios in to account. Before H&S got out of hand, "unlikely" scenarios would not have been included in risk assessments and not have been subjected to massive payouts encroaching legislation. Long pointy paintbrushes have been used for at least the 35 years of my existence, possibly a lot longer. It is only now that we live in a society that deems it necessary to stop using them because of the risk of unlikely accidents.
On further reflection he is correct. This is an open and shut case when you look at the law as it stands now. The question is, is that a good thing or a bad thing?

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