08th Aug, 2021 Read time 2 minutes

Company and director convicted after diving lesson

A health and safety inspector has praised emergency responders for rescuing six children who became unwell during a SCUBA diving training session.


After twelve kids from Manchester Grammar School inhaled tainted compressed air during a pool training session, Aqua Logistics Limited and its sole director Geoffrey Gordon Shearn were condemned today for their failings.

According to Wigan and Leigh Courthouse, the school kids were ill on the 26th of June 2017 while participating in an on-site scuba diving lesson in the school swimming pool. Carbon monoxide poisoning was suspected in twelve students who were brought to the hospital. One 14-year-old boy was placed in an induced coma, while another student was in critical condition.

The diving training staff had obtained refills to SCUBA cylinders supplied by Aqua Logistics Limited, according to an inquiry conducted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Greater Manchester Police. The high-pressure compressor system had been improperly installed and maintained by Aqua Logistics Limited and its sole director, Mr Shearn. Due to a fire in the filtration system, YU Diving, which taught the school students basic SCUBA diving techniques, received contaminated air.

Aqua Logistics Limited, of Enterprise Centre Two, Chester Street, Stockport, admitted to violating section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. They were fined £9,300 and forced to pay costs of £11,000.

Geoffrey Gordon Shearn, a sole director from Stockport’s Chester Road, was found guilty of violating section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. He was given a 12-month community order and told to pay £5,000 in costs, as well as 100 hours of unpaid work.

“This case shows the necessity of ensuring that compressed breathing air sold to the public is safe,” HSE specialist diving inspector Richard Martins said after the hearing. The quality of the air given is critical to life’s survival.

“Suppliers of breathing air to the diving community and general public should ensure that their equipment is properly installed and maintained, as well as that the air delivered is tested on a regular basis. The school employees, diving instructors, and Manchester emergency services all responded quickly, barely escaping severe tragedy.”

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