Thanet District Council’s Public Protection team has successfully prosecuted South Events Limited following a scaffolding pole falling and injuring three members of the public at the Southbeats Festival at Quex in September 2016.
The most serious injury was to Erin Griffiths, a 16 year old girl who required hospital treatment for a head injury.
On Tuesday, November 14, South Events Limited pleaded guilty at Canterbury Magistrates’ Court to two offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
They were ordered to pay £6,500 for failing to follow the correct contractor vetting procedure and £650 for failing to report the incident to the HSE (RIDDOR) in time.
The court also awarded costs of £8,469.19 to Thanet District Council which must be paid within 28 days.
The amounts total £15,739.19.
Cllr Fairbrass, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Community Safety & Environmental Services said:“There is a common misconception that the HSE carry out these types of investigations but Thanet District Council’s Public Protection team spent a year conducting a full investigation into this incident.
“There was no obligation to undertake this enforcement action but clearly it was in the public interest to do so. The management and monitoring of site operations is crucial and this injury could easily have been prevented if the organisers followed their own procedures. Hopefully this prosecution will change their behaviour and deter future non-compliance by traders.
“Our thoughts are always with the victim and they are entitled to know that when things go wrong, the person with responsibility for their safety will be held to account.”
Miss Griffiths said:”Overall I am pleased with the result from the hearing, it’s just a shame the incident happened in the first place, at a festival where I was supposed to be having fun. The accident caused me great pain, from highly painful headaches, back pains and trouble sleeping which affected my schooling at a vital part in the school calendar.”
“It still continues to worry me if my persisting pain will have greater effects on me in the future. I wished the organisers showed more concern for me after sustaining the injury as it honestly made me feel very insignificant.”
“Most importantly I hope that this has taught the organisers to take health and safety more seriously in future events- as fortunately the incident could have had a very different outcome.”
The festival prompted a raft of complaints from Birchington residents and businesses about antisocial behaviour, drunkenness and drug taking. Some businesses closed early to avoid problems.
Last year, Thanet District Council dealt with 120 RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrence Regulations) reports and this financial year, it has dealt with 99 so far.