Head Of Training, The Healthy Work Company

May 21, 2015

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Fair ride owner failed in his duty to protect child “flung from ride”

The owner/operator of a fair ride has been sentenced after a nine-year-old girl was flung from her carriage after the safety bar opened. An investigation found that the ride was operating 50 per cent faster than its maximum design speed and secondary locks for the safety bars, which keep riders in their cars, were not in use.

Northampton Crown Court heard that the youngster was thrown from the Twister ride when the safety bar flew open. She was slammed into a metal safety barrier in the incident at Holowell Steam Rally and Heavy Horse Show in Guilsborough, Northamptonshire, on 3 November 2012.

The girl, from Kent, who had been attending a bonfire night event with her family, suffered severe internal bruising and was off school for two weeks and not able to join in PE lessons until the next term.

The HSE investigation into the incident found the ride, which was owned and operated by Patrick McGeough, was operating 50 per cent faster than its maximum design speed of 11 rpm which increased the ejection force on the riders and secondary locks for the safety bars, which keep riders in their cars, were not in use.

A prohibition notice and a direction to leave undisturbed was served preventing the ride’s further use until it had been inspected and faults rectified. An improvement notice was also served requiring Mr McGeough to fit a means to ensure the ride could not be operated beyond its safe maximum speed. Both notices were complied with.

Patrick McGeough, 28, of Greetham Inn Lane, Greetham, Rutland, admitted breaching section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. act 1974 and was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay costs of £1,500.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Neil Ward said: “Members of the public quite rightly expect fair rides to be safe. This one was not and it led to a traumatic incident for a young girl and her family.

“The incident could however easily have been prevented. Operating the ride beyond the speed it was designed to be run at, and without the secondary locks in place was a recipe for disaster.

“Patrick McGeough had a duty to ensure his customers were kept safe on the ride but he failed in that duty.” 

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