On Tuesday 12 February 2013 the Snowy-Owl chairlift at the Lecht Ski Centre suffered a de-ropement which resulted in three adults and five children being injured.
Following the incident the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) undertook an extensive investigation involving specialists including those with expertise in cableways the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) and the manufacturers of the lift.
This investigation concluded that the incident occurred when an intermediate sheave (a unit connecting the rope to the tower) sustained damage which allowed the rope carrying the chairs to disengage causing the chairs to drop.
The investigation also concluded the chairlift had been subject to appropriate levels of inspection and maintenance and the operator had discharged his legal duties in terms of health and safety legislation. Therefore, based on current evidence, it is not HSE’s intention to recommend further action to the Crown Office Procurator Fiscal Service.
Following the incident the Snowy Owl chairlift was fitted with additional safety features beyond that required or recommended by the manufacture or the relevant Standard.
The findings of the HSE investigation have been communicated to the industry through its inspection process and via the Association of Scottish Ski Areas. In addition, a copy of the HSE’s investigation has been passed to the Department for Transport for their consideration.