A Leicestershire theme park has been prosecuted after an eight-year-old boy’s birthday celebrations turned into an agonising ordeal when he broke his leg on a ride.
The Derby youngster was out for a birthday treat with his family at Twin Lakes Park near Melton Mowbray when the incident happened on 14 April 2013.
Leicester Magistrates’ Court today (2 Feb) heard he and his parents were on the Jester’s Revenge, a spinning barrel ride, when his left foot became twisted and trapped as a result of his shoelace becoming tangled in a bolt.
He had to have his leg straightened which left him with a full, heavy cast from his thigh to his toes. It was therefore a struggle to get out of bed so he was bedridden for eight weeks. It took several months for his leg to heal during which time he needed 24 hour care.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that the bolt was protruding from the base of the column which holds the central disc that riders turn to make the barrel spin. The bolt had always stuck out by around two centimetres and was part of the ride design.
BB & B Leisure Parks Ltd, which owns Twin Lakes, had tried to cover up the bolt head by wrapping agricultural self-adhesive tape around the pole but this was prone to wearing through by rubbing against people’s shoes as they used the ride.
Although daily checks on its condition were in place it could wear through very quickly as it was too soft and flexible.
BB & B Leisure Parks Ltd, of Blackawton, Totnes, Devon, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £13,500 and ordered to pay costs of £30,000.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Neil Ward said:
“BB& B Leisure Parks should have tackled this risk far more robustly than they did. Fairgrounds and their individual rides contain a lot of machinery and therefore potentially significant risks. There can be no scope for anything less than 100 per cent safety, particularly when so many people and children will in constant and close contact with the rides.
“The company should have found a better solution – which it did after the incident. It had some smooth plastic collars made which fit over the bolts so that there isn’t an entanglement risk, and that are sufficiently robust that they won’t wear through quickly. It was a simple, low-cost measure that could have prevented a painful injury to a young boy enjoying his birthday.”
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.”