Council fined over child’s head injury

Blackpool Council has been fined after a young boy severely injured his head when part of a swing collapsed on him at a park in the seaside town.

The 10-year-old suffered multiple injuries in the incident on 6 June 2011, which could affect him for the rest of his life.

He was hospitalised for eight days where doctors treated his crushed and fractured skull. The impact was so fierce that he also lost vision in his right eye.

Blackpool Magistrates’ Court heard how the tyre swing at Claremont Park was connected to an arched metal beam overhead by four chains which hung down from a suspension mechanism.

The boy was underneath the swing when the rotating mechanism gave way, striking him on the head.

Failed to act

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into what happened found the council had been warned that the swing needed urgent attention.

It was first told that the swing needed ‘urgent attention’ by an engineer from Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (Rospa) in March 2010 – over a year before the incident occurred.

Blackpool Council used the Rospa engineer to carry out quarterly inspections of its playground equipment.

Following the inspection, a recommendation was made to contact the manufacturer for further advice. This warning was repeated in the next three inspection reports but the council failed to act on it.

Head injury claim

Head injuries can be very serious, even if it was only the slightest bump. In extreme cases they can have a catastrophic effect on an individual’s life.

Seeking personal injury compensation can therefore help with care costs or medical bills. Accident Advice Helpline can assist with head injury claims, ensuring people get what they deserve if the accident wasn’t their fault.

The HSE investigation concluded that poor repair work carried out on the swing in 2009 was likely to have contributed to its deterioration.

Blackpool Council, of Corporation Street, was fined £18,000 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £20,000 after pleading guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

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