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Activity worker’s foot amputated after parachute failed

August 19 2013

An outdoors activity worker who suffered serious personal injury when he used a defective rope for a simulated parachute landing has been left permanently disabled.

Joshua Senior, 25, plunged nine metres at the Rock (UK) adventure centre in Carroty Wood, near Tonbridge, Kent.

Instead of allowing Mr Senior to descend in a measured way, the rope supplied by Pfeifer Rope & Tackle Ltd simply unravelled as he stepped off a platform for a practice descent.

Mr Senior, an experienced instructor, suffered a broken back and was paralysed from the waist down for some six months.

He slowly regained some use of his lower limbs but as he was regaining movement, it became clear his ankle had been crushed and his right foot had to be amputated.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated prosecuted Pfeifer Rope & Tackle Ltd for serious safety breaches at Southampton Magistrates’ Court.

The court was told the company had supplied batches of ropes at the request of Rock (UK) to use in a ‘parafan’ device – which simulates parachute landings.

However, because the company had used the wrong components when making this batch of rope eye-end terminations, as Mr Senior jumped from the climbing tower on which the Parafan was fitted, the rope parted from his harness and he fell to the ground.

Pfiefer Rope & Tackle Ltd, of Marchwood Industrial Park, was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay £6,348 in costs.

After the hearing, HSE Specialist Inspector Steve Simmons-Jacobs said: ”It is only a matter of chance that this was not a fatality. As it is, Mr Senior has suffered life-changing injuries and has now been fitted with a prosthetic foot.

“Companies must realise that their systems may be critical to the health and safety of the people who use their products.”

If you have suffered an accident at work call PM Law on 0114 220 1782 or click here