Stabilizing mechanism in amusement ride fails leaving 22 passengers stranded…
The owner of a fairground in Skegness has been prosecuted after 22 people, many of whom were young children, were trapped as a result of a malfunctioning amusement ride.
The 22 passengers had to be rescued by the emergency services after the incident on 30 August at Skegness Pleasure Beach. Although none of the people on board the fairground ride sustained serious injuries, seven had to be treated in hospital with three of them staying there overnight. It is feared that many of them will be traumatised by the event for some time to come.
The subsequent investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident discovered that several safety failings contributed to the incident as the ride was poorly maintained and not in a safe condition for use by the public.
Skegness Magistrates’ Court heard that the ride malfunctioned after the car leveling mechanism failed, leading the car to become unstable and collide with the surrounding platform. A gearbox was found to be unusable as it had not been oiled, while a bearing in the gearbox came loose and jammed the stabilising mechanism. This led to the tilting of the passenger car until it eventually collided with the ride platform at an angle of around 80 degrees, leaving the passengers inside stranded and frightened.
The beach amusement company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £8,000 in addition to prosecution costs of £8,000.
HSE Inspector David Kivlin spoke after the hearing:
“This was a frightening incident for many people that day and it could have been easily prevented. There was just not enough oil in the gearboxes.
“There was specific instruction from the ride manufacturer and the gearbox manufacturer relating to the lubrication of the gearboxes. HSE would expect the company to have checked that gearbox oil levels were correct before installation. As the oil levels were insufficient, there was, therefore, an inevitability about this incident.
“The injuries suffered by those on the ride that day could have been much worse. It was a traumatic experience for everyone on board and some are now unwilling to go on fair rides or in lifts.
“As the ride’s owner and operator had a duty to ensure the ride was maintained in good working order. The company significantly failed in that duty. “Incidents on fairground rides are rare and infrequent if equipment is safe and correctly maintained.”
Author: Julian Roberts
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