The 8 year old girl was preparing to leave an evening gymnastics class in South London after school, when the manual sliding gate became disengaged from its rollers and crushed the girl. The 1.7 metre gate was installed in a few months prior in February 2018, after the original gate was destroyed by a delivery lorry.
The gate had been designed, manufactured and installed by Metalart Fabrication. However an investigation found that the mechanism that was in place to prevent the sliding gate from overrunning and falling over as it was opened (a small stop welded to its guiding rail) was 'an accident waiting to happen' as the company had failed to fit suitable end-stops. When the gate was opened in May 2018 (the date of the incident), the gate gained momentum and it overrode the stop and caused the gate to topple over the child.
Metalart Fabrication admitted breaching section 6(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work Act, which puts a duty of any person who designs, manufactures, imports or supplies any article for use at work or any article of fairground equipment to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the article is so designed and constructed that it will be safe and without risks to health at all times when it is being set, used, cleaned or maintained by a person at work.
During the trial, the were fined £19,327, including full costs of £1,147 and a victim surcharge of £180.
Following the incident, Metalart Fabrication did make changes to the gate's stop mechanism the morning after the incident and a specialist from the HSE verified its safety.