Last reviewed 7 December 2020
Following an incident where a child was thrown from its Twister ride in May 2019, Lightwater Valley Attractions Ltd has been fined £333,344 and ordered to pay costs of £16,183.
The theme park, based in Ripon, North Yorkshire, had pleaded guilty to breaching s.3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974 after the child suffered serious head injuries.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that, although the theme park’s procedures for the Twister ride stated that those between 1.2 metres and 1.5 metres tall must wear seat belts, several children under 1.5 metres in height were not wearing seat belts on this ride.
This was seen in CCTV footage over several days and mentioned in statements by members of the public.
On examination of the restraining systems by HSE, many belts were not functioning correctly. On several occasions, the final position of the lap bar restraint allowed significant gaps to remain in the containment and did not fully contain smaller passengers.
The boy and his mother, who was in the car with him, were not told they had to wear a seat belt.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Andrea Jones said: “A child suffered life-changing head injuries at Lightwater Valley theme park. Our investigation found that the theme park did not implement suitable operating procedures and monitoring of ride operators in relation to the ride restraints”.
This was an entirely avoidable incident, she continued, with several children put at risk and Lightwater Valley has now been held to account for its failings.
York Magistrates' Court was told that the ride no longer operated and that the park viewed the accident with “great sadness”.