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£30k penalty for injuries at fun fair
9:45am Thursday 21st February 2013 in News
A FAIRGROUND owner from Bury has been ordered to pay £30,000 in fines and costs 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.
Owner of the fairground, 52-year-old Gary Gore, of School Street, Bury, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), following an investigation into the incident on July 2, 2011, and the case was heard at Leyland Magistrates Court.
He 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. He was fined £18,000 and ordered to pay £12,000 in prosecution costs.
The court heard the HSE issued a nationwide safety alert following a similar incident on the same type of ride at a fairground in Halifax in June, 2010, when a disabled teenager fell from the end seat. 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 Gore was also given a copy when a HSE inspector visited his fairground at Heaton Park in July, 2010.
However, the court was told the 12-year-old girl injured at Lostock had been sitting in an end seat on the ride and no additional safety barrier had been fitted.
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.
“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.”
After the case, Gore stated: “Myself, and all of my family and employees, deeply regret the accident. Our fun fair is a local, family-run business and has always been committed to ensuring that customers attending our fun fairs are able to enjoy themselves without risk of harm.
“This was the first serious accident we have had in 30 years in the fairground industry and since the accident, steps have been taken to reduce the risk of such an accident happening again. We are the owners of this ride, but it was operated by our employee at the time who has now been dismissed.
“Our thoughts are with the young lady involved in the accident and her family. We would like to wish her a good recovery and all the best for the future.”