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Friday, 30 June, 2000, 23:09 GMT 00:09 UK
Fairground safety checks ordered
Fairground
Safety checks have been ordered on up to 800 rides
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has ordered checks on up to 800 fairground rides after two fatal accidents in May.

This move follows concerns about Barry Ramsey, an independent inspector who examined the rides.

The HSE has banned him from inspecting fairground rides and an investigation into his work is under way.

Mr Ramsey is appealing against the ban.

Fatalities investigated

A schoolgirl celebrating her 12th birthday was killed in the first accident.

Stacey Rowe fell 35 feet from a ride at Redruth, Cornwall.

Two other people died in a separate accident at a fairground in west London.

The Showmans' Guild is working with HSE officials to identify up to 800 rides which Mr Ramsey inspected.

The rides' owners have been warned that they hold the legal responsibility for their customers' safety.

Small travelling fairs must be checked and provided with a licence by the local authority, with larger theme parks licensed by the HSE.

There were 397 accidents on fairgrounds and amusement parks in 1998-99 around the UK but there were no fatalities.

Widespread safety checks

Investigators have conducted over 2,000 safety checks on fairs and fairground operators in the past year.

Between March 1999 and last April, HSE officers made 2,030 checks - either by visit or by contacting operators.

That is more than their target of 1,500 - and the HSE also hopes to have checked on every fair, every owner and every piece of equipment by the end of the year.

The executive can issue notices demanding improvement work be carried out urgently or close the ride or the fairground altogether if it is ruled to be dangerous.

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