English Heritage rapped for safety failings at Yarmouth Castle

Daily Echo: Yarmouth Castle. Picture by Christine Matthews Yarmouth Castle. Picture by Christine Matthews

SAFETY failings at an Isle of Wight castle have resulted in English Heritage receiving its first recorded Crown Censure in its history.

A 12-year-old boy was badly cut when a glass floor panel shattered and cut his leg when he visited Yarmouth castle back in September 2011.

The boy had jumped on a glass viewing panel, which had been walked on by thousands of people for many years before, after his friends and brother did the same.

The injuries to his leg resulted in him needing two operations, which he has since recovered from.

The incident was reviewed by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), and they found that the panel was not made of toughed or laminated glass, and that English Heritage had not assessed the risk of the panels breaking at Yarmouth castle or any of their properties since 1984.

The Crown Censure is the equivalent to a criminal prosecution, and following the incident, English Heritage took immediate action to cover all similar glass floor panels whose strength could not be determined easily, or cordoned off panel areas and used warning signs to alert the public.

Stephen Williams, the Head of Southern Division for HSE, who chaired the Crown Censure meeting, said: “Our investigation into the details of this young boy's injuries at Yarmouth Castle found that the failings by the English Heritage were serious enough to warrant this course of action, and, in other circumstances, prosecution.”

“The evidence brought to light by the HSE investigation would be sufficient to provide a realistic prospect of conviction of English Heritage in criminal courts.

“This Crown Censure is the maximum enforcement action that HSE can take and should serve to illustrate how seriously we take the failings we identified.”

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