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Holiday firm pleads guilty after employee crushed at East Mersea caravan park

Date issued: 15 September 2017

The operator of an East Mersea holiday park has admitted to a breach of Health and Safety legislation, after one of its employees was crushed underneath a caravan.

The case against Park Resorts Ltd (now part of Parkdean Resorts), which was heard at Colchester Magistrates' Court yesterday (14 September 2017), was brought by Colchester Borough Council Health and Safety officers.

The company, which operates 37 Caravan parks across the UK, including Coopers Beach Holiday Park, Church Lane, East Mersea, was prosecuted following an incident on 29 January 2016 when a 67-year-old maintenance man was crushed underneath a caravan being moved between different areas of the site.

The employee became trapped underneath the rear of the caravan while trying to free a corner steady (leg) which had become stuck, while it was being prepared to move. Fortunately the caravan was quickly lifted off the employee, who was not seriously injured.

The company pleaded guilty after charges were read out in court relating to its failure to follow its own safe system of working for moving and siting caravans, using untrained employees to assist with the move, and inadequate paperwork.

The company admitted to one breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) 1974, in failing to discharge a duty under Section 2(1) to ensure so far as is reasonably practicable the health, safety and welfare of employees at work, which is an offence under Section 33 (1) (a) of the HSWA.

The case has been adjourned until Monday 18th December 2017, for sentencing at Colchester Magistrates' Court.

Cllr Tina Bourne, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Communities, said: "This could so easily have been a fatal accident, and serves as a dreadful reminder that laws which enforce health and safety standards exist for good reason and that flouting them can have serious, sometimes even tragic, consequences.

"Our Health and Safety officers take a dim view of those who fail to put safety first, matching this commitment with an excellent track-record of successfully prosecuting individuals and organisations whose actions, or inactions, lead to injury or endanger life."