A 15 year old girl fell approximately 7.5 metres off a climbing wall in Essex causing bruising to her internal organs, neck, back and muscle tissue. She still requires regular physiotherapy sessions. The incident occurred in March 2014.
Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court fined the council £10,000 and ordered to pay £2,599 in costs, and a victim surcharge of £120 for breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act, 1974.
This followed a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation which highlighted a number of safety failings.
The court heard that the teenage climber was being belayed by an eight year old who had only attended the climbing wall three times and was using equipment for the first time. The instructor was found not to be competent enough to hold this type of climbing session.
Furthermore, no anchor or sand bag had been used as a counter balance and no safety knots were introduced to prevent the climber falling to the ground.
After the case was heard, Glyn Davies from the HSE said:
“Climbing activity sessions should be an enjoyable and challenging experience for young people, but activity providers must ensure their activity sessions remain safe as far as is reasonably practicable.”
“In HSE’s opinion it was foreseeable that an accident of this type could occur. The resulting injury from such a 7.5m fall could have been much worse.”