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Chessington fined £150,000 for four-year-old girl's injuries

13-01-2015

Photo shows the gap in a fence where the four-year-old girl fellChessington World of Adventures has been sentenced for safety failings that led to a four-year-old girl suffering life-changing head injuries when she fell from a raised walkway while queuing for a ride.

The youngster, from Kent, fell nearly four metres while waiting in line for the Tomb Blaster ride with her family at the theme park in Surrey on 7 June 2012. She suffered a fractured skull, bleeding to the brain and broken ribs and was in hospital for a month. She still needs extensive rehabilitation treatment and specialist support.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated and prosecuted Chessington World of Adventures Operations Ltd. after finding the girl had fallen through a gap in a wooden fence.

A hearing at Guildford Crown Court (9 Jan) heard HSE had identified that a rotting paling in the fence had fallen out on the morning of the incident, having been dislodged,  and that the whole fence showed evidence of serious weakening.

However, despite the fact that the theme park attracts tens of thousands of visitors a year to the site in Leatherhead Road, HSE said that Chessington did not have either an adequate system of checking and inspecting the fencing or a maintenance process to ensure faults were identified and rectified.

HSE told the court that an adequate maintenance regime and reporting system would have captured details of regular repairs and identified problems and trends. But without these, management were unable to see any pattern developing and address it properly.

Chessington World of Adventures Operations Ltd. was fined £150,000 and ordered to pay £21,614 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

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