Council fined after boy injured on dangerous swing

Young Jamie Jackson after he was injured while playing on the swing in June 2011.
Young Jamie Jackson after he was injured while playing on the swing in June 2011.
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Blackpool Council has been ordered to pay out almost £40,000 after a boy was seriously injured on a park swing.

Jamie Jackson, who as nine at the time, suffered serious head injuries after he was hit by a metal plate on the swing set.

Blackpool Council admitted failing in its duty of care to Jamie in making sure the swing, on Claremont Park, North Shore, was safe to use.

The accident took place in June 2011 when Jamie and four friends were playing in the park on the cantilever type swing.

Suddenly the top plate came loose and fell on him.

He suffered a depressed skull fracture and a brain injury which required an eight day stay in hospital.

Blackpool Magistrates Court heard yesterday the council had been warned the swing needed work doing on it on four separate occasions.

Craig Morris prosecuting for the Health and Safety Executive which investigated the accident, said: “The council had a system in place where each three months an outside body, the safety organisation ROSPA, would look at council playground equipment.

“Four consecutive reports in 2010 and 2011 by ROSPA said the top plate was not working properly and required urgent attention.

“Had these warnings been acted on this accident would not have happened.”

Angus Withington, defending, said the council wished to apologise to Jamie and his parents Lisa and Greg for an accident which should not have happened.

He told magistrates: “The council prides itself on safety issues in their playgrounds. They are determined this will never happen again.

“What happened is unacceptable.”

He said one council officer had responsibility for play equipment safety but four times he failed to act on the ROSPA reports.

The staff member has been disciplined and no longer has anything to do with playground equipment.

Jamie’s parents have started a civil claim for compensation for their son and the amount to be paid to him is to be agreed shortly.

The council was fined £18,000 and was ordered to pay £20,000 costs.

Council leader Coun Simon Blackburn said: “I cannot imagine the upset and distress the Jackson family have experienced and I want them to know Blackpool Council is truly sorry. Thankfully Jamie has recovered well but his accident could have been avoided and that is our fault.

“We thought we had an inspection regime that would ensure faulty equipment was quickly replaced or repaired.

“Unfortunately that was not the case and we accept full responsibility for the events that lead to this accident.”

Coun Blackburn said play equipment in council parks was now visually checked by staff on a daily basis and by engineers every week as part of a “robust inspection regime”.

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