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Leisure centre firm fined £45,000 after burns at swimming pool

by Redmans Solicitors on December 12, 2013

The owner of an Essex leisure centre has been heavily fined by the Crown Court after a child suffered serious burns in an accident at its premises in 2012.

Leisure Connection Limited was fined £45,000 and ordered to pay substantial costs after a toddler was severely burned at their leisure centre in Great Dunmow, Essex in February 2012.

On the day in question – 18 February 2012 – the toddler slipped and fell on his bottom at the leisure centre. He unfortunately fell on a drain which had recently been cleaned with sodium hydroxide and that hadn’t been rinsed down properly afterwards. This caused the chemical – which is designed to dissolve grease and hair in drains – to burn through the toddler’s skin, causing him third-degree burns to his buttocks and the back of his right thigh. This injury meant that the toddler had to be rushed to hospital, where he stayed ten days and was obliged to undergo a skin graft. It is not currently known whether the toddler’s family has made a claim for personal injury after the accident.

The Health and Safety Executive subsequently investigated and found that the company had failed to put a safe system of work in place for cleaning the drain, including a failure to delineate whose responsibility it was to clean the drain and how the drain should be cleaned. It was further found that the company had failed to properly train staff in the use of the chemicals. The HSE therefore recommended that a prosecution of the company go ahead.

The case came before the Chelmsford Crown Court on 5 December 2013. Leisure Connection Limited pleaded guilty to a breach of s.3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £45,000 and ordered to pay the prosecution’s costs to the sum of £20,746. Neither the firm nor its criminal defence solicitors appear to have commented on the matter after the release of the verdict.

An HSE Inspector, Kim Tichias, stated after the court released its sentencing: “Leisure centre operators have a duty to ensure that members of the public of all ages can enjoy their facilities safely. This includes putting the appropriate training and system of work in place to manage the risks of using cleaning chemicals.”

Marc Hadrill, a personal injury solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “Organisations have a duty to not only protect their employees from harm to their health, safety and welfare, but also have a general duty to members of the public to ensure that their premises are as safe as reasonably practicable in the circumstances.”

Redmans Solicitors are employment law solicitors and can help injured workers claim personal injury if they’ve been injured in an accident at work

Please note that Redmans Solicitors were not associated in any way with this case

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