Fairground ride operator fined for safety failings

A fairground ride operator from Hampshire has been fined for safety failings after two members of the public fell from a ride at Andover Carnival.

Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court heard how John Searle from Hook Hampshire, was one of the ride controllers at the carnival operating his Music Trip (Miami trip) ride.

The ride had been running a short time when the lap bar became loose and rose upwards. Two members of the public slipped under the lap bar and fell around two metres suffering cuts and bruising.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident which occurred on 20 July 2014 found that the passenger restraint mechanism (lap bar) was not fully effective. The lap bar had not been Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court   properly adjusted, which meant that it was possible to operate the ride with the lap bar partially open. In addition, there was evidence of poor maintenance, as the lap bar padding was worn and loose and one of the seat pommels was missing.

John Searle, of The Shack, London Road, Hook, Hampshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, and was fined £865 and ordered to pay costs of £1,808.

HSE inspector Karen Morris said after the hearing:

“This should be a warning to other ride operators that it is simply not acceptable for people to be ejected from rides. Rides must be adequately maintained and properly adjusted to ensure that riders are not put at risk. Fairgrounds should have an illusion of danger but an underlying assurance of safety.”