Former Trampoline Park Directors Face Jail for Health and Safety Offenses
Two former directors of a trampoline park, Flip Out Chester, have admitted health and safety offenses that could lead to potential jail sentences.
The charges stem from incidents in which visitors suffered fractured spines while using the park’s facilities in 2017.
The case has shed light on safety concerns at unregulated trampoline parks and garnered reactions from those who experienced life-changing injuries.
Health and Safety Offenses Admitted
David Shuttleworth and Matthew Melling, both aged 33, pleaded guilty to health and safety offenses related to their roles at Flip Out Chester.
The charges stem from an investigation into 270 accidents over a seven-week period between December 2016 and February 2017. The offenses include failing to prevent visitors from being exposed to risk.
Injuries and Trauma
The incidents that prompted these legal actions occurred when visitors jumped into a foam-filled pit, leading to fractured spines.
Liza Jones, one of the victims, recounted her experience, describing the pain and potential paralysis she could have faced. She emphasized that despite the presence of rules at these centers, visitors may not be as safe as they believe.
Another victim, Lucy Jones, shared her harrowing experience, having landed in a seating position as instructed but still ending up with a fractured vertebra in her spine.
Her ordeal resulted in a five-hour operation and a lengthy rehabilitation process.
Directors’ Resignation and Prosecution
Shuttleworth and Melling resigned as directors of FO World Chester Ltd, the operator of Flip Out Chester, in 2018 and 2020, respectively.
The trampoline park’s operator, FO World Chester Ltd, was dissolved in the previous year, with Flip Out Chester now under new ownership.
Council Investigation and Strong Words
The prosecution came as a result of an investigation by Cheshire West and Chester Council. Christine Warner, the council’s cabinet member for homes, planning, and safer communities, expressed strong disapproval of the park’s safety practices, highlighting their disregard for safety regulations.
Safety Concerns at Trampoline Parks
The rise of indoor trampoline parks has been significant, with over 100 such attractions in the UK. However, this growth has also led to an increase in personal injury cases.
Many individuals have suffered injuries, including broken backs and life-changing fractures, while using these facilities.
Flip Out’s Response
A spokesman for Flip Out, which operates 30 centers in the UK, stated that the incidents in question were related to a specific piece of equipment, which was immediately closed.
The company also noted that its systems and procedures have evolved significantly since the incidents.
As the legal proceedings progress, the case sheds light on the importance of safety and regulation in the burgeoning trampoline park industry.