Legoland Windsor fined after worker fell from ride

Legoland entrance
Image caption The worker broke his shoulder and several ribs but has since recovered

The owner of Legoland in Berkshire has been fined £23,200 and told to pay £12,115 in costs after a worker fell from a ride while carrying out repairs.

Reading Magistrates' Court heard the 42-year-old man fell more than 3m (9ft) as he tried to remove two damaged roller-coaster trains from a track.

Merlin Attractions Operations Ltd admitted two breaches of health and safety regulations on 1 June 2011.

But the firm maintained "a prosecution was wholly unjustified".

Merlin Attractions Operations, based in Poole, Dorset, said it "chose to plead guilty and draw a line under this incident".

The court heard the worker, from Bracknell, broke his shoulder and several ribs but has since returned to work.

'Injury avoidable'

He was one of a team removing the damaged parts from the Dragon Coaster ride at the Windsor park and fell when he stepped on to a section of walkway that had been replaced but not secured.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that a risk assessment by the company stated that harnesses and lanyards should have been used, but this was not followed.

HSE Inspector Karen Morris said the injury had been avoidable.

She said: "It is quite unacceptable that the day after someone was injured in this way, more work is carried out to complete the task, and allowed to continue in the same way with inadequate fall protection or fall prevention measures in place.

"The dangers of falls from height are well known, and Merlin Attractions Operations Ltd was placing employees at unnecessary risk."

A spokeswoman for Legoland Windsor said the health and safety of employees and visitors was its "primary concern".

She said an internal investigation showed the park had "taken all reasonable steps to ensure the safety" of workers but that the HSE had "taken no account of our excellent safety record, procedures and culture".

"This was in our opinion an unfortunate accident for which a prosecution was wholly unjustified," she said.

"Given the circumstances we believe this is neither fair nor reasonable.

"However, the regulations in question give little scope for any defence and therefore the company chose to plead guilty and draw a line under this incident."

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