Two fined after Silverstone accident

30 September 2010, 17:20 | Updated: 30 September 2010, 17:24

The accident happened during the British Grand Prix weekend in 2008.

The court heard that two people were thrown from the ‘Tagada’ fairground ride at Silverstone on the day of the 2008 British Grand Prix, when the seating collapsed.

Michael Searle, from South Ockendon in Essex, who owned the ride, pleaded guilty to breaching section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.  He was fined £3,000 and was also ordered to pay £1,000 in costs at Aylesbury Crown Court. 

The director of Fairground Inspection Services Ltd, Michael Rodgers, of Pymm Leys Lane, Groby in Leicestershire, pleaded guilty to breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.  He was fined £3,000 with £2,000 costs. 

His company, which is registered at Plot 10, Five Counties Caravan Park, Stretton Road, in Leicestershire, pleaded guilty to the same offence and must pay a £7,000 fine with £2,000 costs.

The Tagada is a ground-level spinning machine that bounces its riders as it turns. The court heard that on 6 July 2008 two members of the public were thrown off as it spun at speed. Both suffered back injuries and bruising but have since recovered.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the ride failed due to corroded structural steel work on the seating. The corrosion was significant and clear to see, and should have been identified by the ride owner, Mr Searle, and during an inspection visit by Mr Rodgers.

HSE Inspector, Karl Howes, said: “Fairground rides should be exciting but safe. Everyone on this ride faced a real risk, because the owner and inspector failed to comply with the law.  The two injured men were fortunate because they could easily have suffered more serious injuries."

He added: “It is the responsibility of those who operate or inspect fairground rides to ensure they carry out their duties thoroughly by identifying and repairing corrosion and wear on the equipment. This incident should remind all ride operators and ride examiners that public safety on fairground rides is of paramount importance.”