A local council has been prosecuted for breaching safety rules after a youngster’s finger was amputated following an electric shock at a skate park.
The incident happened on 31 December 2011 when the 13-year-old boy, who does not wish to be named, was at Newport International Sports Village with friends.
He tried to switch on floodlights at the park without realising they were powered by an electrical cabinet that had been forced open and vandalised, with electrical parts at 240v left exposed.
His left index finger had to be amputated and he also needed a skin graft on his middle finger.
Accident claims awareness
Anyone with knowledge of accident claims and organisations’ safety obligations, may not be surprised to hear the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) pursued an investigation into this incident.
The HSE identified serious safety failings and went on to prosecute Newport City Council at Cwmbran Magistrates’ Court in a case heard on 23 September 2013.
Magistrates heard the electric cabinet controlling the lights was situated next to the park and it was secured with fixings at the top and bottom of the door and a hasp and staple secured with a padlock.
A park ranger had identified the cabinet was damaged on 23 December 2011, but no action was taken to repair it.
The cabinet had previously been vandalised on three other separate occasions, the court was told.
Safety risks ‘not properly judged’
Newport City Council failed to properly judge the risks and therefore did not implement control measures such as making the cabinet more secure or installing a residual-current device (RCD), the court was told.
It was also found the skate park should have been more effectively supervised and there should have been a warning displayed on the cabinet.
The council was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9,477 after it pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
The skate park has now moved to Tredegar Park and the sub-station is located in a secure building with the floodlights controlled remotely.
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