What can Go Kart Businesses learn from Capital Karts death?

15 year old girl dies after Go Kart Track accident, Go Karting Track pleads guilty.

A go karting business has been fined following the death of a 15 year old girl, after her hijab got caught in the drive axel of a go kart.

Ruwaida Ada, 15, was resuscitated at the venue but died in hospital of hypoxic brain injury and asphyxiation. Capital Karts Trading was found to blame, and ordered to pay over £120,000.

It was found that various safety procedures were missed, and the death was easily preventable if safety measures had been observed. It is expected that this incident will spark a closer look at the safety regulations involved at indoor go kart tracks.

We review the safety oversights made on the part of the go karting business, and how this death could have been avoided. We also review how other business should look to improve their safety measures and avoid disaster.

Why were Capital Karts Trading found to be negligent?

Safety checks and mechanical checks

It was found by the Council’s health and safety officers, that the kart Ruwaida used was faulty. It did not have a guard that should have covered the axle gear and drive belt.

There was a failure to ensure maintenance of the vehicles and there were no checks the morning of the incident. In fact, Ruwaida’s kart had not been checked for nearly a month directly preceding the incident. Ultimately the business failed to provide suitable safe equipment for riders.

Loose clothing

It is protocol that all loose clothing be removed. Ruwaida was permitted to continue wearing her hijab under her race suit. Although loose clothing is specifically stated in the business’s health and safety document, it was not upheld on the day.

Signage and poster did display that loose clothing was not permitted, however this is not a suitable enough safety procedure, and staff members did not draw attention to the posters on the day, nor did they enforce the rules or tell riders of the risks posed by the karts.

Communication across the business

Health and safety officers found that there was no communication between receptionists, marshals or race directors. As a result, when an incident occurs, the karting business would be slow to react, and there was no cross-examination of duties.

Health and Safety Management

It’s clear, although the health and safety documentation was present, not enough was done on the part of the business to ensure the procedures were followed.

Training was needed for staff members who were either negligent in their duties or did not know the safety requirements involved in their role.

Gary Jones, Operational Director for Enforcement, Regulatory and Community Safety at Barking and Dagenham Council, said: “It’s clear that not enough was done to prevent this tragic accident. I hope this sends a strong message to similar businesses on how important it is that they implement measures to make sure that they have in place proper systems to ensure that something like this never happens again.”

How can Kart Tracks and Other Businesses Reduce the Likelihood of an Incident

Documentation and Signage is not enough.

Some businesses believe that putting up a sign at their venue is enough to claim to have adequate safety procedures. Although signage is recommended, it is not enough on it’s own. Staff need to remind users of hazardous company equipment, such as vehicles, and of the rules and safety procedures around operation.

“The quality of written manuals and procedures is irrelevant without proper systems to ensure the implementation and monitoring of measures to control risks” – Said Gary Jones.

Upholding Health and Safety Standards

All business owners should review their health and safety procedures. They then should put themselves in the shoes of the customer and assess whether their team is doing enough in upholding safety standards.

Regular compulsory training should be provided annually, as well as training for new members of staff.

Consider Outsourcing to a Health and Safety Service

Analysis of your health and safety procedure is important and requires a specialist. Creating health and safety documentation can be time consuming and difficult. Businesses should consider outsourcing the work to ensure they receive a full and comprehensive investigation of their offering. This way, business owners will know what they are doing well, and what they need to be doing more of in order to remain fully protected.

The best way to make sure you’re fully protected and compliant is to appoint a “competent person” with the relevant experience, knowledge and qualifications. For many businesses, particularly those with increased risk of injury, having an internal H&S Manager isn’t enough and they may need the support, guidance and audit/challenge from an external source.

Health & safety and risk management specialists such as Sentient work closely with businesses, such as Go karting organisations, and can provide a designated ‘competent person’ for businesses to minimise your risk of experiencing a serious incident.

Three reasons why Businesses should Consider using Sentient’s Health and Safety Outsourcing Service

Excellent services

Sentient provide a range of services, including a health and safety audit, policy documentation and templates, HR packages for business and training for employers and employees.

Sentient will work closely with business owners and HR managers to ensure all the pieces are required to have an operational and sustainable health and safety policy. They will then also help you implement that policy, through training for staff, documentation, procedural changes and improvements, and risk assessments.

Managing an incident post-event

Sometimes, no matter how prepared you are, freak accidents can happen. Sentient will be there to take over the management of an incident by providing template emails to copy from and reduce your risk exposure. They will also guide yu through difficult situations including mediation, dismissal and PR.

Subsidised for Romero Insurance Clients.

Romero Insurance clients receive Sentient’s services subsided because of our partnership. We believe in the power of Sentient, and we believe all our clients should utilise their services to improve their offering and reduce their risk exposure.

Opting for a subscription with Sentient provides business access to their bank of templates and drafts, as well as a 24/7 direct line to a health and safety expert who can provide immediate guidance.

Various Training seminars are available to attend, designed for both employers or employees. These are also subsidised by Romero – view Sentient information for more on how to get involved.