15 February 2013
A fairground owner has appeared in court after a 12-year-old girl was badly injured when she fell from a ride at Lostock Hall Carnival near Preston.
The girl fell several metres from the end seat of the High Roller ride, as it swung through the air, and landed on the platform below.
She suffered fractures to her pelvis in five places, a lacerated bladder, cracked bone in her spine, broken finger and bruising to her lungs. She also sustained numerous cuts and bruises, and still has significant scarring.
The owner of the fairground, Gary Gore, 52, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following an investigation into the incident on 2 July 2011.
Leyland Magistrates’ Court heard that HSE had issued a nationwide safety alert following a similar incident on the same type of ride at a fairground in Halifax in June 2010 where a disabled teenager fell from the end seat. The 19-year-old was left with bruising down her side and cuts to her face.
The alert banned fairground operators from allowing passengers to sit in the end seats of similar rides until safety bars had been fitted.
The warning was distributed through the Showmen’s Guild – the national association for fairground operators – and Mr Gore was also given a copy when a HSE inspector visited his fairground at Heaton Park in Manchester in July 2010.
However the court was told the 12-year-old girl from Penwortham, who was injured at Lostock, had been sitting in an end seat on the ride and no additional safety barrier had been fitted.
Gary Gore pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to ensure the safety of passengers on the ride. Mr Gore, of School Street in Bury, was fined £18,000 and ordered to pay £12,000 in prosecution costs on 15 February 2013.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Mike Lisle said:
"The 12-year-old girl may well be affected by her injuries for the rest of her life because Mr Gore 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.
"Mr Gore 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."
More information on fairground safety is available at www.hse.gov.uk/entertainment/fairgrounds.
Notes to editors
- The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice; promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice; and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
- Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: "It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety."