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£1 million fine for the former owners of Drayton Manor theme park

View profile for Pauline Smith
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GBP1 million fine for the former owners of Drayton Manor theme park

Over the last few years there have been a number of high profile stories about accidents in theme parks causing catastrophic injuries. The HSE have recently successfully prosecuted Drayton Manor Park Limited (now in administration) for causing the death of an 11 year old schoolgirl on one of their water rides in 2017.

The child was on a school trip and was riding the Splash Canyon water ride, when she fell out of the inflatable raft, which is carried along the ride route by conveyor belts.  The girl managed to wade to the conveyor belt at the end of the ride, but was then carried along into deeper water and drowned.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc, Act 1974, and was fined the sum of £1 million.

The company is now owned and operated by Drayton Manor Resort Limited. The HSE investigation found that despite previous incidents of people falling from the water rafts, the company had not put sufficient risk assessments in place to stop this from happening, that there was insufficient CCTV to identify if someone had fallen from a raft, and most worrying of all, no system of rescue in operation in the event that someone did fall.

The HSE are the body that enforces health and safety legislation in the UK at theme parks and fairgrounds. They work closely with not only the owners and controllers of the parks and fairgrounds, but also those involved in the manufacture and design of rides, and those responsible for regulating and inspecting them.

Whilst the legislation that governs safety at this type of venue is strict, it is up to the owners and operators to put those measures into place, and sadly, as can be seen from this tragic example, not everyone is responsible enough to ensure that they are doing all they can.

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