Alton Towers Fined £5million For The Smiler Crash
Merlin Attractions Operation Limited, who own Alton Towers, have been fined by Stafford Crown Court for the Smiler crash, which occurred in June 2015. This decision was made by the Court following criminal investigations into the Health and Safety procedures which were in place at the time of the accident.
It was put in front of the Court how engineers dealing with the Smiler ride, carried out an override on its computer after it had identified a fault in the system, and how pressure had been put upon the park’s staff to ensure the ride was continually running, without having received the full training and information for its operation.
When considering the case in general, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) stated that whilst there were ‘a number of human errors’, ‘the fault is with the employers’. This is further to Merlin Attractions previously admitting that Health and Safety regulations surrounding the matter had been breached.
The investigations, which were a separate matter to the civil claim for the victims’ injuries, concluded that the accident was in fact avoidable and that the company had failed to adequately risk assess the ride, provide sufficient training for staff, and ensure that there was a safe system of work in place, amongst other failings.
The chief executive for Alton Towers, stated after the hearing that they had ‘let people down with devastating consequences’ and that they ‘had made sincere and heartfelt apologies to those who were injured.’
Since the incident, the company have made a number of amendments to its Health and Safety practices, including its training procedures and the actual equipment, in order to help reduce the risk of such an accident occurring again in the future.