HSE to prosecute Alton Towers owner

The owner of the Alton Towers theme park is to be prosecuted over an accident on the Smiler rollercoaster in which 16 people were injured, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has announced.

Merlin Attractions Operation Ltd, the owner of Alton Towers, is to be charged under the Health and Safety at Work Act following an accident in June 2015 where a carriage ploughed into another stationary carriage on the same track. Five people were seriously injured as a result, with two of them having leg amputations.

If you operate a business where members of the public use the premises, it is always wise to look at your insurance coverage to protect yourself against claims in the event of an accident. A good public liability insurance policy will ensure your business is covered if someone injures themselves on your property and decides to seek compensation from you.

Neil Craig, Head of Operations for the HSE in the Midlands, said: “We have today informed Merlin Attractions Operations Ltd that it will be prosecuted for breaching health and safety law.

“This was a serious incident with life-changing consequences for five people.

“We have conducted a very thorough investigation and consider that there is sufficient evidence and that it is in the public interest to bring a prosecution.”

A statement by Merlin Attractions Operation Ltd said: "We have cooperated fully with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) throughout their investigation while continuing to support those who were injured in the accident.

"The company completed its own investigation and published the results in November, accepting responsibility for what happened. We have also kept the HSE fully informed of the subsequent actions that we have taken to ensure that something like this cannot happen again.”

Merlin Attractions Operation Ltd will appear at North Staffordshire Justice Centre, Newcastle-under-Lyme, on 22 April 2016.