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£5million fine following Alton Towers roller coaster crash

28 September 2016

Following the Smiler roller coaster crash at Alton Towers on 2 June 2015, Merlin Entertainments has been fined £5million for health and safety breaches resulting in significant physical and psychological injuries.

16 people were injured, a number of them very seriously, when their carriage on the Smiler roller coaster ride at Alton Towers collided with an empty carriage. Four people sustained life-changing injuries: Leah Washington and Vicky Balch both had to have a leg amputated, while Joe Pugh had to learn to walk again and Daniel Thorpe sustained serious leg injuries.

Commenting on the sentence that resulted in a £5m fine handed down to Merlin Entertainments, Louise Ward, policy and standards director at the British Safety Council, said: “This was a tragic incident in which a number of people suffered significant physical and psychological injuries. Our thoughts today are with all of those who were affected by this incident.

“The British Safety Council has always championed the need for a transparent and consistent approach to sanctioning for health and safety offences, where the penalty applied is proportionate to the circumstances of the offence. To that end, we supported development and implementation of the sentencing guidelines for health and safety offences in 2015. It will be important to review how the legal arguments presented during this case have added definition to the framework.

“We hope that the publicity associated with this high profile case will help business leaders to understand the factors that they need to consider in order to effectively manage health and safety risk in their organisations.”