Worker’s roller coaster fall at Legoland leads to court

The operators of Legoland have been prosecuted for safety breaches after a worker fell from a walkway on a roller-coaster ride, breaking his shoulder and several ribs.

Merlin Attractions Operations Ltd, registered in Poole, Dorset, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after it investigated the incident at Legoland in Winkfield Road, Windsor, Berkshire, on 1 June 2011.

Reading Magistrates were told today (7 Feb) that the 42 year-old worker, from Bracknell, fell more than three metres as he was working to remove two damaged roller coaster trains from a track. He has since returned to work.

The court heard the employee was one of a team taking part in a lifting operation to remove the damaged parts from the Dragon Coaster ride when he stepped on to a section of walkway that had been removed and replaced, but not secured in position.

The HSE investigation found that despite the serious injury the man suffered, the work continued in the same way the following day in order to complete the task. A risk assessment by the company stated that harnesses and lanyards should have been used, but this was not followed.

Merlin Attractions Operations Ltd, of Market Close, Poole, was fined a total of £23,200 and ordered to pay full costs of £12,115 after admitting two breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

After the hearing, an HSE Inspector said: “This incident and the injury to the worker were avoidable and show the importance of using safe systems of work when carrying out tasks at height.

“It is quite unacceptable that the day after someone was injured in this way, more work is carried out to complete the task, and allowed to continue in the same way with inadequate fall protection or fall prevention measures in place.

“The dangers of falls from height are well known, and Merlin Attractions Operations Ltd was placing employees at unnecessary risk.”