Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Marchwood firm fined after man loses foot due to accident

The scene of the accident at Rock UK adventure centre at Carroty Wood
Image caption Josh Senior was attempting a simulated parachute landing

A firm has been fined for health and safety breaches after a man was seriously hurt when he used a faulty rope for a simulated parachute landing.

Joshua Senior, 25, fell nine metres (29ft) at Rock UK adventure centre at Carroty Wood, near Tonbridge, Kent.

He suffered a broken back, was paralysed from the waist down for six months and lost his right foot following the accident in August 2010.

Marchwood firm Pfeifer Rope and Tackle Ltd has been fined £20,000.

The company has also been ordered to pay £6,348 costs after admitting breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 at Southampton Magistrates' Court.

'Life-changing injuries'

The court heard Pfeifer Rope and Tackle Ltd had supplied batches of rope to Rock UK for use in a device called a parafan, which simulates parachute landings.

The parafan is designed to slow the person's descent to that of a real parachute landing.

Mr Senior fitted the first rope of the new batch and carried out tests prescribed by the manufacturer before performing the final test using the parafan itself.

But Pfeifer Rope and Tackle Ltd had used the wrong components when making the batch.

As Mr Senior, an experienced outdoor activity instructor from Tunbridge Wells, jumped from the climbing tower, the rope parted from his harness and he fell to the ground.

The court was told the firm had failed to perform a simple check on the rope.

Steve Simmons-Jacobs, HSE specialist inspector, said: "It is only a matter of chance that this was not a fatality."

"As it is, Mr Senior has suffered life-changing injuries and has now been fitted with a prosthetic foot."

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