Activity Centre Prosecuted over School Trip Accident

Kingswood Learning and Leisure (Group) Ltd in Norwich was fined £12,000 with £10,690 costs at Cromer magistrates Court on 15th August 2008. They pleaded guilty to breaching section 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 following an investigation by the Health & Safety Executive into an accident on 28th April 2007.

Fun turned to horror when an eight year old boy, Mickey Carter-Browne from Silsoe, was injured while on a school trip to the Kingswood Activity Centre at West Runton. He suffered a broken ankle and bruising to his pelvis, upper leg, left ankle and arms after falling 6 metres from a climbing wall.

Following an investigation into the incident it was found that a screw on the karabiner, a metal, spring clipped ring that attached to the harness, had not been tightened. This allowed the karabiner to open when weight was applied, causing Mickey to fall. The HSE also identified that insufficient training and supervision procedures were being provided for the activities being carried out at the centre.

HSE Inspector Steve Gill said that “This was an unfortunate incident which could have been prevented had the correct safety procedures been followed and the staff undertaking the activities properly trained and supervised.

“It is important to remember that the adventure activities sector as a whole has almost always demonstrated good practices in risk assessment and management, allowing activities to take place safely and enjoyably.

“HSE firmly believes that children must have the opportunity to participate in adventurous activities such as climbing, which are fun, healthy and provide experience and education in risk management. Statistically, one incident does not alter the good track record of an overall safe and well-managed sector.”

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