Operator of runaway Ripley inflatable slide convicted

Victor Lusher.
Victor Lusher.

The owner of a runaway inflatable slide which broke from its moorings has been convicted of breaching health and safety requirements.

The operator of an runaway inflatable slide which broke free from its moorings in high winds and flew through the air at a car boot sale in Ripley, injuring six people, has been convicted of breaching health and safety requirements.

Following a two day hearing at Harrogate Magistrates Court, Victor Lusher was found guilty of two offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act of failing to ensure the safety of members of the public and failing to maintain the slide in good repair.

Mr Lusher is due to be sentenced on Tuesday, April 21.

The court heard that the incident took place on Sunday, April 28, 2013 at Ripley Cricket Club.

The inflatable slide, which had been inadequately tethered to the ground, broke free from its anchors while two children were on board.

The slide rolled over hitting several people and vehicles in its path, as well as knocking into stalls before it was deflated.

Following the incident four people required hospital treatment.

The police impounded the inflatable and the Health and Safety Executive began an investigation, which was subsequently transferred to Harrogate Borough Council as the local enforcing authority.

It was established during the course of the hearing that Mr Lusher had used insufficient anchor points to tether the inflatable, the slide was already damaged, and that weather conditions were such that the slide should not have been set up on the day.

Nicky Garside is Head of Safer Communities at Harrogate Borough Council.

She said: “This was a very serious incident which could so easily have resulted in major injuries.

“Fortunately the injuries sustained by the children on the slide and those hit by the slide were relatively minor.

“However, as the operator had failed in his duties to ensure the safety of the members of the public in attendance, he needed to be held accountable for his actions.

“This prosecution sends a very clear message to operators of inflatable equipment that they must ensure that it is in good repair, inspected annually by a competent person and operated in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.

“Failure to do so could have serious consequences and Harrogate Borough Council will take the appropriate action against anyone who fails in their responsibilities.”