A global supplier of children’s playground equipment has been fined £75,000 after a nine-year-old boy broke his arm and finger at Magna Science Adventure Centre.
Kompan Ltd, a UK subsidiary of the Kompan Group of Denmark, was fined at Sheffield Crown Court and ordered to pay over £17,000 costs after it admitted breaching a health and safety law.
The court heard in 2011 a nine-year old boy who was visiting Magna on a school trip became entangled in a safety chain which had been fitted to a spinning net in the outdoor playground.
The chain was fixed whilst the spinning net rotated.
As it rotated, the boy from Lincolnshire, became trapped in the chain which tightened around his hand and wrist.
As a result his upper arm and his middle finger were broken.
He also suffered a bent lower arm, which required surgery to straighten it.
Adrian Monkhouse, environmental health officer for Rotherham Borough Council, carried out a lengthy investigation found there had been three similar previous accidents involving the safety chain at other playgrounds in the UK.
The court heard that while action was taken to reduce and remove the risk at the other accident sites, Kompan did not warn its other customers, including Magna, about the risk of entanglement.
Following the accident at Magna, Kompan Ltd eventually removed all chains fitted to spinning nets across the UK.
The court heard the firm had a previously ‘unblemished safety record’, and had carried out a ‘root and branch’ overhaul of management and procedures to prevent a reoccurrence of the accident.
Speaking after the hearing, councillor Maggie Godfrey, Rotherham Council’s cabinet member for neighbourhoods said the substantial fine was ‘obviously a strong warning’ to the makers of playground equipment.
She added: “This was a very serious accident in which a young boy was badly injured in a popular local playground.
“It has taken a long time to come to court but we need to ensure that all equipment is as safe as it can be.”
Stuart Ballard, Operations Director, at Magna said: “We were extremely sorry that someone was hurt using our play area. We carry out regular inspections of all our play equipment, but this accident was caused by a defect in the design. As such health and safety authorities have taken action through the court against Kompan Ltd, the company responsible for design and installation. As soon as the accident happened we removed the equipment from use and fully assisted the authorities with their investigation.”