I fell down a partially covered manhole on Saturday in the school car park where my son has his swimming lessons. I stood on the lid whilst putting a bag in the car boot and it flipped over. I dropped in as far as my ass and got wet feet but didn’t hit the bottom. I’ve got some cuts and bruises but I’m otherwise OK if a little shaken. If my son had fallen down it things would be different as I doubt he would have even touched the sides. Also, the lid would have flipped back so if I hadn’t seen it happen I wouldn’t know where he had gone.
I told the caretaker and between us we replaced the cover and coned it off. He was keen not to make a big health and safety deal out of it and even accused me of blowing it out of proportion and “having an attitude”, but said he would tell his boss. The manhole is on the edge of a construction site and a temporary fence straddles it, but half of it projects into the car park. The cover is a lightweight affair that can easily be kicked off, not some heavy cast iron job.
After much thinking over the weekend I have emailed the school this morning and told them what happened. I’ve told them that I’m not taking it any further but want assurance that the area has been made safe permanently by moving the fence so that the manhole is entirely on the other side of it.
I hope I don’t drop anyone in the crap, but if a child went down it I don’t want to think about what would happen.
What would you have done?