19 February 2013
Horrific fairground accident to lead to compensation pursuit?
Multiple injuries sustained during a horrific accident at a fairground could lead to a schoolgirl being granted compensation for her ordeal.
The unnamed 12-year-old sustained fractures to her pelvis in five places, a cracked bone in her spine, bruising to her lungs, a lacerated bladder and a broken finger when she fell from a ride at Lostock Hall Carnival near Preston in July 2011.
At the time of this incident, the youngster was on the High Roller attraction when she was thrown out of the end seat of the ride as it swung through the air and fell several metres to the platform below.
An investigation conducted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) established that Gary Gore, owner of the fairground, was to blame for the incident and he was subsequently prosecuted for his negligence.
During a case heard at Leyland Magistrates' Court, it emerged that the HSE had issued a nationwide safety alert to fairgrounds after a comparable incident occurred at a location in Halifax in June 2010.
This notice from the safety watchdog informed fairground operators that they were no longer legally-permitted to allow revellers to be positioned in the end seats of similar rides until proper safety bars had been fitted.
This warning was issued to all professionals in the industry through the Showmen's Guild - the national association for fairground operators - and Mr Gore was handed a copy of the ruling when an HSE inspector visited his fairground in Manchester 12 months before the incident in Lostock.
However, the High Roller ride had not been adapted accordingly, which resulted in Mr Gore admitting to a breach of the Health and Safety Act 1974.
Mike Lisle, inspector at the watchdog, explained that the young girl "may well be affected by her injuries for the rest of her life" because of Mr Gore's failure to comply with safety legislation.
"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," he added.
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Posted by Francesca Witney