Fairground owner ignored warning from HSE about dangerous roller-coaster ride…
The owner of a fairground near Preston has been prosecuted after a young teenage girl was badly injured after falling from a ride there.
The 12 year-old accident victim fell around seven metres to the platform below after she was flung from the High Roller ride on 2 July 2011.
She sustained multiple injuries in the fall including fractures to her pelvis and spine, a lacerated bladder, a broken finger and some bruising on her lungs. She also has scarring as a result of cuts and bruises to her skin.
In June 2010, a year before the young girl was injured, the HSE had issued a nationwide safety alert after a similar incident occurred on the same type of roller-coaster ride at a fairground in Halifax – on that occasion a disabled teenager was injured after falling from the ride. The alert was intended to prohibit fairground owners from allowing members of the public to sit in the end seat of the ride unless safety guards had been installed.
Leyland Magistrates’ Court heard that the fairground owner had received a copy of this warning when HSE Inspectors visited his fairground, then based in Manchester, in July 2010. However when the HSE investigated the incident that led to the young girl’s fall they discovered that she had been sitting on the end seat of the ride and despite the warning, the fairground owner had failed to install the safety bars.
The fairground owner pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to take the necessary action to ensure the safety of the people who used the ride. He was fined £18,000 and ordered to pay an additional £12,000 in costs on 15 February 2013.
HSE Inspector Mike Lisle spoke after the hearing:
“The 12-year-old girl may well be affected by her injuries for the rest of her life because the fairground owner did not act on the safety alert issued by HSE.
“He was given a copy of the warning in person by a HSE inspector nearly a year before the incident, but the young girl was still allowed to sit in the end seat of the ride.
“He had failed to fit new safety bars to the ride, despite having over a year in which he could have arranged for this to be done. As a result, passengers were likely to have been put at risk for several months.
“Safety alerts are issued for a reason and there’s no excuse for them not to be followed. This prosecution should act as a warning to business owners of the potential consequences of ignoring them.”
Author: Julian Roberts
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