A tiger cannot change his stripes

Published: 28 Jun 2016

A zoo in South Cumbria has been fined £255,000 after it pleaded guilty to health and safety breaches after a tiger escaped through an unlocked gate and killed an employee.

The 24-year old Sarah McClay was attacked in the keeper’s corridor of the tiger enclosure in May 2013, suffering multiple injuries and was later pronounced dead in hospital.

An EHO for the local authority told the jury that there was a gap of around 20mm on the spring-loaded bolt which could not be held back and would bang against the frame.

David Gill, the sole director of the South Lakes Safari Zoo, pleaded guilty of failing to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of his employees. Mr Gill, who had faced separate charges on the same allegations, accepted that the risk assessments did not sufficiently address the risks of failing to maintain the door.

The company entered guilty pleas to violating the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and was fined £255,000 and ordered to pay £150,000 in costs.

If you are unsure if your risk assessments are upto date contact us for advice.