A council has been fined after a little girl was injured when a park ranger’s vehicle collided with her pushchair. The incident at the Robin Hood Festival in August 2011 left the three-year-old with bruising to her head and leg. Two employees of Nottinghamshire Council were in the lightweight all-terrain vehicle at the time.
The workers were using the vehicle to travel around the venue, Sherwood Forest, while emptying litter. They lost control and collided with the child, who was seated in a pushchair, Mansfield Magistrates’ Court heard.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the council had not undertaken a suitable and sufficient risk assessment for the work. Had it undertaken such an assessment, the HSE say that another method of collecting litter would have been used.
The court was also told how council had previously received Improvement Notices from the HSE in relation to undertaking risk assessments. Nottinghamshire County Council pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 3(1)(b) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. It was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,597.
Duty of care
Councils have a duty of care to protect the general public at all times. They are charged with the provision of different facilities and services, bringing them into close contact with the public on an almost daily basis.
Their responsibilities range from looking after parks and roads to services such as water supply and refuse collection, meaning they are vulnerable to public liability claims from nearly every member of the community.
Claims against councils are therefore commonplace. They range from personal injury to damaged property, like when a council-operated or owned vehicle damages a car or the fencing around a property.
Source: Health and Safety Executive
Date Published: July 28, 2015
Author: Jonathan Brown