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Firm guilty over go-kart death failings

Posted in: Public Liability 

18-year-old Suzanne Cornwell lost her life in 2009 when she her scarf became tangled in the axle of her go-kart – the company in charge has pleaded guilty to health and safety failings. The teenager from Hardwick had been with friends at Cambridgeshire raceway when the accident occurred in December 2009. Both the company in charge, Peterborough Raceway Ltd, and the manager of the time, Paul Shinn, have both pleaded guilty to breaches of health and safety.

The accident occurred when Miss Cornwell attended an ‘out-of-hours’ go-karting session with friends on the 10th of December.  Her scarf managed to tangle into the kart’s axle, causing her to suffer severe neck injuries and fall into a state of unconsciousness.  Miss Cornwell was immediately rushed to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, but she sadly died the following day.

Poorly trained staff and lack of risk assessment

Since the incident, South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC) prosecuted the firm under health and safety legislation following a police investigation and inquest.  The investigation uncovered that staff had not carried out thorough health and safety risk assessment, and were poorly trained.  The track was also found to be in “poor condition” with not enough marshals on duty and the public briefing was also recognised as inadequate.

The company has apologised to the family of Miss Cornwell, and the track was closed by Peterborough Raceway Ltd in Caxon just after the accident occurred.  The site no longer operates.

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