Health and safety chiefs have criticised Blackpool Council after a child was left with serious injuries by a faulty swing.
As reported in yesterday’s Gazette, the council 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 when Jamie Jackson, who was nine at the time, was hit on the head by a metal plate in a swing set at Claremont Park, North Shore, in June 2011.
He was in hospital for eight days, suffered a crushed and fractured skull, and the loss of vision in his right eye.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the council had failed to heed four warnings over the state of the swing set prior to the incident.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Michael Mullen said: “The advice couldn’t have been clearer, and was repeated in several quarterly reports, but the council failed to do anything about it.
“We are satisfied the swing was entirely safe when it was first installed in the park, but the council allowed its condition to deteriorate following a poor repair in 2009.
“There was simply no point in the council paying for a specialist engineer to inspect its playground equipment if it wasn’t going to act on the advice.
“If the swing had received urgent attention, as recommended, then the horrific injuries the boy suffered could have been avoided.”
Council leader Coun Simon Blackburn has apologised to Jamie’s parents over the incident.
He added: “I want to reassure parents we have reviewed of all our procedures and put in place an even more robust inspection regime.
“We ensure that every piece of playground equipment in every park is visually checked every day and an engineer also checks the equipment on a weekly basis.
“We also continue to exceed national standards of good practice by commissioning independent surveys from ROSPA every year.”
Click here to read more on this story: COUNCIL FINED AFTER BOY INJURED ON DANGEROUS SWING