Thursday, 24 October 2013

Karting Company Found Guilty Of Health And Safety Breaches

The company in charge of a raceway in Caxton when a teenager died during an out-of-hours go-karting accident in 2009 has been successfully prosecuted for health and safety breaches.

Peterborough Raceway Limited pleaded guilty to a breach of section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 at Peterborough Crown Court today (24 October).

The Manager of the track at the time, Paul Shinn, also pleaded guilty to a breach of Regulation 3(1)(b) Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

Suzanne Cornwell was fatally injured when her scarf got caught in the axle of her kart in December 2009. Following the conclusion of a Police investigation and a coroner's inquest, South Cambridgeshire District Council commenced a prosecution under Health and Safety legislation.

Council investigators found that there had been a lack of health and safety risk assessments in respect of its go-kart track which could be attributed to the Company and a lack of staff training.

In addition, the safety briefings provided by marshals were inadequate and on occasion, there were inadequate numbers of marshals on duty. Generally, the premises and equipment at the site were in a poor condition. There was no evidence of a good health and safety culture being in place.

A sentencing hearing will be held on 4 November at Peterborough Crown Court.

Cllr Mick Martin, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s cabinet member for environmental services, said: “This was a tragic accident and first and foremost our thoughts have been with the family throughout this difficult time and I hope the conclusion of this process will help them in some way. It was right, proper and in the public interest for us to pursue this case under Health and Safety legislation as, in our view, there were very clear shortcomings from the company in their practices.

“We hope our action sends a clear message to other companies that they need to take their responsibilities very seriously.”

Peterborough Raceway Limited closed the Caxton track after the accident and no longer operates the site.