Owner fined after fairground-ride fall

A FAIRGROUND-owner from Bulwell has been fined after a 12-year-old girl injured her leg when she was thrown from a faulty ride.

Henry Evans (34), of Stock Well, appeared at Birmingham Magistrates Court where he pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety laws. He was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £2,000 in costs.

The youngster, Megan Harrison, was on a Tagada ride at Star City in Birmingham. She fell three metres through a gap in a barrier gate while the ride was tilting.

During a prosecution brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the court heard that the accident happened on October 28 2009. The child suffered a seven-centimetre cut along her shin.

The wound has still not fully healed more than two years later, the court was told. The girl suffers from aches around the scar, which throbs in winter. She does not take part in any sports where she might bang her leg and has a fear of fairground rides.

The Tagada is a round ride, driven by two rams, which tilts up to three metres in the air and bounces its riders as it lifts and spins them.

The HSE investigation found that a horizontal rail in the barrier gate had been missing for several months.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Pam Folsom said: “This was an entirely avoidable accident that resulted in a serious injury to a child. This is more than just an afternoon out that was spoiled. A child has suffered lasting effects.

“Fairground operators must inspect rides for faults every day before allowing people to use them. In this case, the gap in the gate had been there for several months before the incident, so the ride had clearly not been checked properly during this time, which there simply is no excuse for.

“Free guidance on safe practice at fairgrounds and amusement parks is available from HSE.

“All operators must follow this carefully to ensure they don’t put members of the public — often children — at risk.”