A zoo in Cumbria has been fined after a member of its staff was attacked and killed by one of the tigers in the zoo’s big cat enclosure. At the time of the incident, the facility’s owner laid the blame on the woman who was killed, prompting quite a bit of criticism.
The case concerning the former South Lakes Wild Animal Park was heard at Preston Crown Court where the company was fined £255,000 after admitting its failure to adhere to the Health and Safety at Work Act. It acknowledged that it had not ensured employees were operating in a safe workplace and also that members of the public were at risk. The incident occurred in May 2013 when the 24-year-old zoo keeper was attacked by a Sumatran tiger after entering the tiger house.
The owner of the zoo said that the keeper had a great deal of experience of taking care of the tigers and in an interview suggested that instead of following the relevant procedures set down by the zoo, she had simply walked in amongst them. After she was attacked, the zoo keeper was flown to Royal Preston Hospital in an air ambulance, but medical staff were unable to save her.
Employers who fail to ensure that their staff have a safe working environment are in breach of health and safety regulations and may be held liable in the event of an accident. They are also responsible for ensuring that members of the public are not at risk. A solicitor who is familiar with these regulations may offer advice regarding the legal options that are available to someone who has been injured.