The owner of a company that supplies marquees and tents (Jose’s Marquees) has been fined £528 after the guy ropes securing a circus tent snapped causing it to collapse injuring three adults and five children in the New Forest.
Southampton Magistrates Court heard that a gust of wind went through the tent and eighteen of the guy ropes snapped. The HSE investigation found that the owners of the tent had taken it to Jose’s Marquees to be inspected and to have the guy ropes replaced 8 months prior to the incident. However, the guy ropes supplied by Jose’s Marquees were not made of suitable material and therefore did not have a safe working load, meaning they snapped under stress.
Josie Routledge of Jose’s Marquees was found guilty of breaching Section 6(1)(a) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, which places a duty on suppliers to ensure the product they are supplying is safe for use for its intended purpose and will not cause harm to members of the public.
Fortunately the circus was not open at the time of the collapse, but had there been a performance in progress, this incident could have resulted in a far higher number of serious injuries.
If you are putting on an event over the summer months, ensure that you hire or purchase equipment from reputable retailers, this includes the provision of marquees. Ensure that the marquees and equipment are setup by competent people and where using contractors for this work, ensure that you have obtained a copy of their risk assessment to ensure you are happy they won’t be putting you, staff, students and visitors to your event at risk.
If in any doubt, please contact Mike Young on Ext. 1388. If you aren't happy with the way a contractor is going to manage a task from looking at their risk assessment, this gives us the opportunity prior to the day of your event to come to agreement with the contractor over the way we would like them to carry out the task.