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Theme park and contractor fined after five-year-old injured

A child was injured at Lightwater Valley Theme Park when her leg became trapped whilst on a rollercoaster.

A five-year-old from New Zealand was on holiday with her family visiting Lightwater Valley Theme Park on 5 June 2012, when her leg became trapped whilst on a rollercoaster.

York Crown Court heard that whilst on the “Ladybird” rollercoaster ride, the girl’s right leg came out of the carriage and became trapped between the carriage and the platform edge as the ride returned to its starting point.

The carriage advanced the full length of the platform while the girl’s leg remained trapped. This caused severe injuries to her foot including ligament, cartilage and nerve damage.

A HSE investigation found Mr David Geary was contracted by the theme park to carry out an assessment on the rollercoaster and failed to adequately identify the risk of entrapment between the carriage and the platform.

Lightwater Valley Attractions Ltd of Liverpool pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The company was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay costs of £17,000.

David Geary of Cardiff was also found guilty of breaching Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. He was fined £7,500 and ordered to pay costs of £2,500.

The case highlights the need to conduct full and proper risk assessments to deal with foreseeability of injuries.

More information can be found in Fairgrounds and amusement parks: Guidance on safe practice.