Guildford Crown Court has fined a well-known theme park in Surrey £150,000 and ordered to pay £21,614 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into how a four year old girl suffered severe head injuries has revealed significant safety failings.
The youngster from Kent was confined to hospital for a month after suffering a fractured skull, bleeding to the brain and broken ribs after falling approximately four meters through a gap in a fence while queuing for a ride with her parents.
The HSE reported that part of the fence was rotten and had fallen away the morning of the incident. Furthermore, the whole structure displayed signs of weakening.
The investigation revealed that the fence had both brown and white rot and the wood had not been treated with an appropriate outdoor wood preservative.
The court heard that although the theme park received thousands for visitors every year, the management failed to have an adequate system in place to check and maintain fences and barriers.
After the case was heard, HSE Inspector
Karen Morris said:
“This was a disastrous and horrifying incident for the child and her parents. They had travelled from their home in Kent for a fun day out together at this well-known attraction only to find themselves hours later in an intensive care ward with their daughter.”
.“This incident shows the importance of implementing robust systems for checking and maintaining all aspects of rides, and this includes the walkways and fencing associated with queuing and where people gather.”