By Cara Sulieman
COUNCILS across the UK are paying out hundreds of thousands of pounds in compensation to people who get their fingers trapped in doors.
Almost 5,000 incidents were reported across the country in the last three years, with £652,761.82 paid out in compensation.
Politicians and other groups have branded the payouts “ridiculous” and are asking why these incidents are still happening when they are so easy to prevent.
The survey of all the UK’s local authorities, carried out by Fingershield, only received replies from 172 councils – with others saying that they did not hold the information – meaning that the real cost of trapped fingers could be considerably more.
The largest single payment was a whopping £14,083.12 paid out to one pupil in the Highland Council area for the damage caused.
But Leeds council are counting the biggest cost of this injury, shelling out £55,727 in compensation for trapped fingers in schools, nurseries, care homes and leisure centers in the last three years.
And North Yorkshire weren’t far behind with a hefty £51,415.89 compensation bill.
Mark Wallace, from the Taxpayer’s Alliance, thinks that the amounts paid out are ridiculous and that councils should be spending their money on more important things.
“Out of hand”
He said: “It’s ridiculous. The compensation culture has got so out of hand that some people some happy to claim such large amounts of taxpayer’s money.
“Now compensation claims have become so popular councils have a responsibility to be tougher and to take more care of taxpayer’s money.”
A number of safety measures have been put in place following the accidents, and Highland Council are installing hinge guards on all doors in the council’s schools to prevent such a large payout from happening again.
A spokesperson for the council said: “The council already fits “fingerguards” to doors in new and refurbished school nurseries and has done so for some time.
“We now plan to retro fit these to all other existing nurseries and lower school areas.”
Perth and Kinross Council are also planning on fitting hinge guards into every nursery and primary school in the area.
Chris Higgins, the spokesman for Fingershield, said: “It is shocking how much has been paid out in compensation due to door related finger and hand entrapment accidents.
“This is so easily preventable with a finger guard, once installed you can ensure that your doors will be finger trap free.”
The childhood mishap hit the headlines in 2007 when a six-year-old girl in Warsop had the tip of her finger chopped off when a school fire door slammed shut.
Notts County Council is yet to agree the compensation amount with Kaitlin Gregson’s family but it is likely to be substantial.