Melton theme park owner prosecuted after boy is hurt on ride

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The owner of a Melton 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.

Devon-based BB & B Leisure Parks Ltd, which owns Twinlakes Park, 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.

Leicester Magistrates’ Court heard today (Monday, February 2) that the boy was out for a birthday treat with his family at Twinlakes Park when the incident happened on April 14, 2013.

They were on the Jester’s Revenge, a spinning barrel ride, when the boy’s left foot became twisted and trapped as a result of his shoelace becoming tangled in a bolt.

The boy, from Derby, had to have his leg straightened which left him with a full, heavy cast from his thigh to his toes. He was bed-ridden for eight weeks and 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 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.

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.”

More to follow.