500 Injured in UK theme Parks in 2015/16

Statistics have emerged indicating that the UK currently holds a particularly dismal record of safety at it’s theme and amusement parks. The new figures reveal that over 500 people per year suffer injuries from malfunctioning rides leading to us to ask, is it time for the government to look into the safety records and regulations of UK parks to ensure this number drops?

 

Two major incidents

Over the last 12 months, Sincere Law has commented on two serious incidents in two UK theme parks. Last year, it was well documented the extent of the injuries suffered by those on board The Smiler rollercoaster at Alton Towers, when it malfunctioned and crashed, causing multiple passengers to require amputations. More recently a crash at M&D’s theme park in Scotland occurred when a car derailed causing multiple injuries to passengers which included children, many of them being kept in hospital for weeks.

In both cases, park officials were adamant that the safety standards were being adhered to and that they were freak accidents. These, plus a host of other injuries at local funfairs reported in the last 12 months, has in total led to 500 injury cases in the UK. This is up from a reported 489 in the 2014/15 season (of which around 120 were serious enough to require an investigation).

The Smiler ride required multiple riders to have amputation injuries

 

Tighter legislation?

Given the potential risks of injury (particularly among the larger rollercoasters and thrill rides) to those on board, the statistics create a worrying picture. Ideally the UK would like to have a zero injury rate but with increasing numbers year-on -year, could beg the question “do we need tighter health and safety regulation on theme parks?”.

Doing so could be problematic when dealing with small, travelling funfairs. This is because the owners of these can attempt to avoid investigation and fines easier than the static theme parks like Alton Towers, Thorpe Park or M&D’s. There is also the fact that theme parks are already subject to stringent health and safety laws.

Sincere Law’s Head of Catastrophic Injury, Chris Walker, believes that it is the tightening of safety laws AND the management of staff that could be the key to lowering the number of injured.

He pointed out that a lot of injuries are the result of faults not being picked up when checking a ride.

“Many injuries sustained at theme parks are often due to mistakes made when inspecting rides. This element of human error is the biggest risk when it comes to safety in theme parks. To lower the number of injured each year, there must be safeguards in place to hold people accountable for not carrying out proper checks and also ensure that these errors do not happen in the first place”.

Theme park accidents can cause a host of serious injuries

Will theme parks learn the lessons of the past few years and combat the rising number of injured in the 2016/17 season? Only time will tell.

Having dealt with clients facing this situation previously, Sincere Law can ensure that, in the instance that you or someone close to you suffers a serious injury at a theme park, you will receive the right level of support and care you need to recover.

For more information or to get some free advice without obligation call us today on 0800 092 2896 (lines are open from 9am to 7pm).

Alternatively you can get I touch using our contact form or arrange a for us to call you at a more convenient time using our request a callback feature.

 

M&D’s Pays Over £100,000 In Compensation Over 5 Years

M&D’s, otherwise known as Scotland’s Theme Park,  saw a particularly serious incident this past week, as seven children and two adults were injured on one of the rollercoasters. It has since arisen that the safety of the park may be called into question, as it has been revealed that the park has paid more than £100,000 in compensation in the last 5 years following safety breeches.

 

Latest in a long line

The latest incident (which took place on the 26th July) involved one of the rollercoasters coming loose and derailing while in motion. In total 10 people were taking to hospital; one woman was discharged after being assessed, while six children were taken to hospital. Of the children hospitalised, three were kept in for observation while three were in a serious condition. The remaining passengers were adults who were taken to Glasgow Royal Infirmary for further observation.

When questioned, the park’s Director, Mr Douglas Taylor, insisted the park and its rides were safe for use. He said that rides were “safety checked on a daily basis” and underwent “a thorough independent inspection every 12 months”.

On ride footage of the tsunami rollercoaster

£100,000 over 5 years

Unfortunately for the park, this incident is not isolated, as a series of safety breaches over the last 5 years has forced the park to pay out over £100,000 in compensation to various victims of similar accidents.

Past incidents include the two rescues. Back in March eight people required rescuing when firefighters were called, after a rollercoaster came to a standstill. A second rescue back in 2011 involved the same rollercoaster affected this past week (the tsunami); when it broke down and left 11 passengers stranded for over 2 hours.

Staff at the park have also spoken of past incidents of injury, including rides behaving “erratically” and coming to a quick halt, injuring those on board. One such incident involved the log flume, where a passenger was thrown into a barricade wall. All incidents have resulted in large compensation payouts to victims totaling just over £100,000.

 

“Public Liability Nightmare”

Rollercoasters are expected to be built to operate safely. They work day in day out when in season and expect to run hundreds of times continually every day. Situations such as those where ride passengers have been thrown or carriages have disconnected can cause huge liability problems for park owners.

The nightmare for M&D’s in this incident involves the fact that the majority of those injured were children. In the UK, the majority of visitors to parks are aged under 18 with families and groups of young adults being the most common customers. Damage to a child’s body can be much more severe than the same injury to a developed adult.

Sincere Law’s Head of Catastrophic Injury, Chris Walker, spoke to us about the risks involved when a theme park ride fails:

“Theme parks require most stringent safely guidelines of any public premises. The risks involved, should safety standards not be kept, can be life changing if not fatal as we saw last summer with the crash at Alton Towers, where a group of young people required amputations.

Bearing in mind the  fact so many young people without fully developed bodies attend parks each year, safety should be held in the highest regard, no questions asked. Not keeping patrons safe can create a public liability minefield as M&D’s may be about to find out following the aftermath of this latest incident.”

M&Ds facing srious injury nightmare after crash

While the victims in the latest incident are still recovering and the relevant authorities are investigating, we cannot determine the extent of damage to the park and those involved this incident has caused. Should injuries to the children in hospital prove serious, we could see heavy implications for M&D. Regardless of the outcome; the incident has proven to be another to add to the increasingly common occurrences at Scotland’s Theme Park.