Two company directors who pled guilty to health and safety offences have been fined and received community orders after nearly 300 people were injured at their trampoline park in a seven-week period.

11 broken backs and 120 facial injuries were among the injuries sustained by customers, including children, of Flip Out in Chester between December 2016 and February 2017. The park was a franchise operated through a company, but that did not prevent the directors attracting personal liability. Both directors admitted that the company had breached its duties under section 3 of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 ("the Act"). That section requires all employers, in this case the company, to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that members of the public are not exposed to risks to their health and safety as a result of the business' operations.

The directors also admitted that they were guilty of an offence under section 37 of the Act. That provision of the Act allows a director or other senior manager to be prosecuted personally when, as was accepted by the directors here, offences committed by a company are attributable to the neglect of the directors.

The court heard that risk assessments and safety checks were not carried out, specifically in relation to a foam pit, with injuries occurring daily from the day after the premises opened. Council investigations into the company began when the steady stream of injuries became apparent to the nearby hospital, which resulted in the park being shut down and criminal charges being brought. The court found that the directors showed a "cavalier" attitude to health and safety, with no effort being taken to reduce risks to customers and no investigations carried out once injuries started to occur.

The directors were found to have been negligent as opposed to deliberately flouting health and safety legislation. Despite that they were still ordered to pay a fine of more than £6,000 each plus court costs running into tens of thousands of pounds and were sentenced to 250 hours of community service.

This is a cautionary tale for all directors. Operating a business through a company does not prevent directors and other senior managers being held personally liable. There is an increasing trend for prosecution of individuals, both north and south of the border. Directors must therefore ensure they are aware of their legal duties to ensure the safety of not only employees but also members of the public. The court in this case made it very clear that directors' ignorance of their duties is no excuse.

If you require any assistance in relation to your health & safety obligations, please contact Clare Bone, Victoria Anderson or your usual Brodies contact.


Eve Gilchrist


Victoria Anderson

Senior Associate

Clare Bone

Partner & Solicitor Advocate