Dreamspace case highlights health and safety concerns | 30 March 09
THE recent tragic Dreamspace case has highlighted the importance of ensuring health and safety procedures are strictly followed at all types of events, according to a leading law firm.
Two people were killed and 27 were injured after the Dreamspace artwork was caught by a gust of wind and blown into the air at Chester-le-Street’s Riverside Park in July 2006.
Artist Maurice Agis, who designed the giant inflatable artwork, was fined £10,000 at Newcastle Crown Court after being convicted of breaching the 1974 Health and Safety Act in relation to the tragedy.
A jury failed to find a verdict on separate manslaughter charges against Mr Agis, 77, of Bethnal Green, east London.
Brouhaha International, which organised the tour of Dreamspace, was fined £4,000 and Chester-Le-Street District Council, which helped organise the event, was fined £20,000 after both admitted health and safety breaches.
James said: “Sadly, the Dreamspace case reinforces the fact that you should have thorough and complete risk assessments for projects of this type and that these assessments are tailored to each individual set of circumstances.
“For example, an assessment on an activity which normally takes place in an indoor location needs to be looked at again if the activity is moved outdoors.
“Even changing between different outdoor locations brings in a list of different factors which need to be taken into account.
“The Dreamspace case also reminds us that health and safety applies equally to art and leisure activities just as much as in the chemical or manufacturing sectors, where the issue tends to more at the front of people’s minds.”