A playground inspector has been fined after a boy was seriously injured in a playground swing accident. The seven-year-old was playing with a group of friends, supervised by an adult, at Cherry Lane Adventure Playground in Crawley, when the rope swing he was on collapsed. The wooden frame of the swing broke, hitting him on the head, Worthing Magistrates’ Court was told. The young boy suffered life-threatening head injuries and was airlifted to hospital following the incident in April 2014. He has since made a full recovery.
Swing risk noted as ‘low’
Glynn Hughes, a self-employed inspector accredited by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), was the person responsible for carrying out checks at the playground. He was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for failing to identify that the swing was rotting during a number of inspections he undertook.
An investigation found that Hughes described the condition of the swing as ‘excellent’ during an inspection in 2013. Just seven weeks before the accident, he reported the risk posed by the swing as ‘low,’ despite having previously raised concerns over its stability.
Rot ‘should have been reported’
The court heard how thorough inspections of wooden play equipment are vital to preventing accidents, but in this case there were serious safety failings. The HSE concluded that the rot was foreseeable, had occurred over a long period of time and should have been spotted by the inspector and reported to the operator of the playground, Crawley Borough Council. Hughes pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. He was fined £1,120 and ordered to pay costs of £3,600.
Source: Health and Safety Executive
Date Published: September 18, 2015
Author: Jonathan Brown