Council fined after accident leaves teenager without finger

Published: 26/09/2013

Newport City Council has been fined £5000 and ordered to pay £9,477 in costs for failing to manage the safety at a skate park after a teenager suffered a personal injury.

The 13-year-old had tried to turn on the park’s floodlights but was unaware they had been vandalised the week before. As a result he suffered an electric shock which resulted in him having to have his left index finger amputated and a skin graft on his middle finger.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspection found that the door of the electrical cabinet which controlled the flood lights had been forced opened and vandalised. The damage was identified by a park ranger but no repairs were undertaken.

As a result a court deemed the Council had ‘failed to judge the risks properly’ and neglected to put ‘greater security measures’ in place. It also suggested there should have been ‘better supervision’ of the skate park and the electrical box should have had warning signs.

Joanne Carter is the HSE Inspector:

“This was an extremely serious incident that has had disabling long term effects on a young teenager.

“Anyone close to or touching the exposed live parts was in danger of serious injury from electric shock. The fact that the cabinet was located in a damp environment could also have made a shock more severe.

“It is disappointing that the health and safety management by the Council didn’t address the risks that manifested. They failed to put in systems to control the risk, did not communicate the risks to employees and did not inspect the cabinet. Nor did they improve the mechanical protection of the cabinet or mark it as being an electrical danger.”

Content correct at time of publication

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