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Serious injury results from misuse of confetti canon

Will Hatchett12/07/2017 - 16:18

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Confetti canon designed to be used outside
Confetti canon designed to be used outside

An accident in which a woman in a Liverpool night club was blinded in one eye has led to a warning about the incorrect use of special effects equipment.

Liverpool Crown Court was told how Kitty Dollah was seriously hurt when a cannon was discharged during a Boxing night celebration in 2013, at the Liverpool’s ‘super club’, Cream, in Wolstenholme Square

On the night in question the cannon, installed by Knowsley-based Effects.co.uk Ltd, was positioned on a raised stage area directly in front of members of the public in an enclosed courtyard.

The shot hit Ms Dollah in the face at virtually point-blank range, knocking her off her feet, and leaving her covered with blood. She sustained significant facial injuries and now has lost the use of her right eye.

The accident was investigated by Richard Parkinson, Liverpool City Council, commercial team EHO, who told EHN Extra: ‘The special effects equipment used at the event was a “stadium shot” confetti cannon. It was designed, as the name suggests, to be used only in large outdoor venues and not in a nightclub. The recommended distance from the public is at least 25 meters.’

Judge Elizabeth Nicholls, at Liverpool Crown Court, described James McMahon and Tory Harper, who run Effects.co.uk Ltd, as ‘naive and cavalier’ in relation to the accident.

She said: ‘The shot knocked a number of people over and caused serious injuries to Ms Dollah. She couldn’t eat properly and had to eat food supplements. It was a horrendous state she found herself in. Not only was there pain and discomfort, but a considerable psychological impact.’

Effects.co.uk Ltd was ordered to pay a fine of £16,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) Health and Safety at Work Act (etc) 1974. The company was also ordered to cover the legal costs of the prosecution, amounting to a further £16,000.

Peter Horgan, defending, said: ‘This company has taken on board what happened and has striven to ensure any repetition of such any incident will not occur.’ He offered apologies to Ms Dollah on the company’s behalf.

Mr Parkinson said: ‘The manufacturer’s manual for the equipment clearly states “Make sure that the surroundings of the stadium shot are free of people or moving object”.

‘This was a completely avoidable incident. Had the special effects company followed their own health and safety risk assessment and the manufacturer’s instructions it would never have happened.’

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