8 Nov 2011

Scrum machine death prompts sports gear storage warning

6:05 am on 8 November 2011

A coroner looking into the death of a six-year-old girl is advising schools to ensure sports equipment is stored safely.

Christina Mealamu died from a head injury after a scrum machine fell on her during a family touch rugby tournament at Tamaki College in 2009.

Coroner Katherine Greig found the machine had been moved by students into an unstable position and this contributed to the girl's death.

However, Ms Greig says she does not place any blame on the students as there was no indication their actions could be dangerous.

She has suggested all schools take steps to ensure equipment is stored safely and be vigilant about identifying potential hazards.

Ms Greig noted that Tamaki College has already taken steps to change the way large sporting items are stored and how they are issued.

Hastings Boys' High School Principal Rob Sturch says most schools are already aware of the hazards involving sports equipment.

He says ensuring the safe storage of equipment is common sense.

"I think it's more a matter of good practice and good policy to ensure that when this equipment does go out it's used safely and the keep of it is satisfactory."

Christchurch Boys' High School Principal Trevor McIntyre says he is constantly aware of safely on his sports grounds.

He says schools are required to do risk analysis of their site on a regular basis and keeping sports equipment safe is no different from looking out for unsafe stairs or unstable seats.