Month: May 2014

Oil firm in court after employee’s fall

Carrs Billington Agriculture (Sales) Ltd, which trades as Wallace Oils, has been in court for safety breaches after one of its employees fell from the top of a tanker.

What happened?

David Strong, from Carlisle, had climbed on top of the tanker after his morning delivery run, to check the remaining fuel level with a dipstick.

He then lost his balance and – as the tanker didn’t have a guard rail – he fell over three metres onto the concrete floor below, breaking his arm in the process.

A court heard that the Cumbria-based oil firm had failed to properly evaluate the risks involved in checking the fuel in this way, and so failed to ensure satisfactory safety measures were in place.

What was the outcome?

The firm plead guilty to a breach of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, and was fined £9,330 and ordered to pay £360 in costs.

HSE Inspector, Matthew Tinsley, said:

“A worker at Wallace Oils could easily have suffered fatal injuries because
the company failed to make sure its employees were safe.

“The risk of falling from the top of tankers is well-known in the industry.
Despite this, the company’s failure to assess the risks resulted
in workers regularly climbing onto the top of vehicles
to check fuel levels before refilling.

“There were several other ways this work could have been carried out
safely – the simplest being emptying the tank first so workers
always started with an empty tank.

“If this working practice had been captured in the company’s procedures
and drivers had been adequately instructed and trained at
the time of the incident then the employee’s
injuries could have been avoided.”

If you have been affected by an accident at work, and you would like expert advice, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email claims@hampsonhughes.com

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Thousands of frail and elderly NHS patients sent home at night

An analysis of recent figures has revealed that thousands of frail and elderly patients are being sent home from hospital late at night or in the early hours of the morning.

What were the findings?

The figures show that over 150,000 patients, including 18,500 over 75-year-olds, were sent home from hospital between the hours of 11pm and 6am over the past year.

There have also been concerns that dementia patients are often being sent back to their care homes late at night, during hours where medical staff are unable to notify the homes if there have been any changes in care.

In one case, Michael Atkinson, who had suffered from a stroke, was discharged from the Royal Bolton Hospital at 3.30am. The 64-year-old was later found in a cricket field, in freezing temperatures, and in a very confused state.

The hospital claims that Mr Atkinson left before transport could be arranged, but is investigating the reason why he was discharged at such an hour.

What can be done?

Campaigners say that many of these late-dismissals are due to the pressure placed on hospitals to free up beds for urgent A&E cases.

Chairman of the Patients Association, Dr Mike smith, said:

“They have people in A&E lying in corridors, they have got to
be admitted and they have no beds.

“It’s for the convenience of staff and the person they are admitted but
at the gross detriment to the person they are chucking out.”

Though senior doctors have questioned some of the findings, NHS England has labelled the practice unacceptable, and said that patients should be discharged only if they want to go home and it is safe for them to do so.

A spokesman for NHS England said:

“Discharging patients at night without appropriate support is
unacceptable, particularly if a patient is vulnerable.

“Where a patient wishes to leave late at night it should be accommodated
only where it is clinically appropriate and with the
support of family, friends or carers.”

If you, or a loved one, have been affected by medical negligence, and you would like expert advice, contact the Hampson Hughes Solicitors Medical Negligence Team today on 0151 242 1025 or email medicalnegligence@hampsonhughes.com

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HIV and Hepatitis C sufferers demand fairer compensation from NHS

HIV and hepatitis C sufferers, who were infected through negligent NHS blood transfusions, are campaigning for fairer compensation for those whose lives have been torn apart by the diseases.

What happened?

In the 1970s and 80s over 4,500 people were infected with HIV and hepatitis C from contaminated blood. More than 2,000 of those infected have since died from the diseases.

The Caxton Foundation was set up by the Government to provide financial assistance to victims, but many sufferers are furious at how the scheme operates, and have increased the pressure on the Prime Minister to review their plight before more victims die.

Investigations into the scheme

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Haemophilia and Contaminated Blood has since launched an investigation into how The Caxton Foundation and two other similar schemes that offer financial support to victims operate.

APPG co-chairs, Jason McCartney and Diana Johnson, said:

“There is a great deal of concern about the way that the
Skipton, Caxton and Macfarlane schemes operate.

“The All-Party Group will shortly be calling for evidence from the
beneficiaries of these funds about their experience of using
them. We have already been contacted by many MPs with
constituents who have had a poor experience
when dealing with these funds.”

Currently The Skipton Fund pays victims an initial £20,000 when they develop chronic hepatitis C, then pay a further £25,000 to any victims who develop advanced stages of the disease, such as cirrhosis or cancer.

If you, or someone you know have been affected by a botched blood transfusion, and you would like expert advice, contact the Hampson Hughes Solicitors Medical Negligence Team today on 0151 242 1025 or email medicalnegligence@hampsonhughes.com

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Owner fined after fairground ride collapses

Two teenage boys were seriously injured when a fairground ride collapsed, landing the owner in court.

What happened?

Conor Baker and Danny Keogh, both 16-years-old, were riding the Mega Bounce Frog attraction at Abbey Park in Leicester when the ride collapsed, sending the two of them flying from the car.

A court heard that crowds of people at the fair saw the car tip up, throwing one boy out and slamming the other into the protective barrier around the ride.

An investigation into the incident found that, not only had the ride been poorly maintained, but a clip and pin securing the car to its operating arm had fallen out.

The investigation also found that one of the retaining pins and clips from the boys’ car was found tapered and damaged on the deck of the ride. Additionally it found that the clip had been pushed into an off-centre hole that didn’t satisfactory grip the pin.

Furthermore a second tapered pin was found on the ride which also had an off-centre hole, along with two defective seatbelts. The HSE has since served a prohibition notice, preventing further use of the ride until adequate safety changes have been made.

Danny Keogh sustained extensive injuries, including a collapsed lung, broken arm and deep wounds to his side. He was treated in intensive care where a total of 88 staples were used in his surgery.

Conor Baker was also treated for multiple injuries, including broken teeth, a broken nose, lacerating to his face and a significant blow to the head.

What was the outcome?

The fairground owner, William Norman Roberts, was fined £6,500 and ordered to pay costs of £5,000 after admitting to breaching the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

HSE inspector, Neil Ward, said:

“The unsafe condition of the ride resulted in very serious injuries to
two young men who had gone out to celebrate
finishing their GCSE exams.

“The outcome could have been much worse. It was a horrifying and painful
experience for Conor and Danny and extremely distressing for
their families, friends and members of the public
who witnessed the incident.

“The public rightly expects rides to be safe. The safety-critical defects
identified on this machine were very troubling. The inconsistencies
in the pin ends were obvious and the pins and clips were
safety-critical components that should have been
thoroughly checked on a daily basis.”

If you have been affected by an accident that wasn’t your fault, and you would like expert advice, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email claims@hampsonhughes.com

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Construction firm fined after fall leaves employee paralysed

A construction firm has been ordered to pay over £100,000 compensation after an employee was left paralysed from the waist down when he fell from an unguarded window space.

What happened?

The 38-year-old was part of a team of workers transforming two Victorian hostels into four single town houses.

Throughout the project windows were removed, and an investigation into the incident found that this was done in an ad-hoc and uncontrolled manner.

No measures had been put in place to prevent employees falling through the empty spaces left by the windows, and in some cases there were open voids for a period of four to six weeks.

The victim fell through one of these voids while attempting to connect a temporary electricity supply. He lost his balance and fell 8 metres onto a concrete basement floor below.

The incident has left the employee, who is from Beckenham, unable to walk, and he will have to overcome physical and emotional trauma as he adjusts to life in a wheelchair.

What was the outcome?

Habitat Construction LLP, plead guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and was fined £110,000 and ordered to pay £16,620in costs.

HSE inspector, Toby Webb, said:

“We found a catalogue of working-at-height risks throughout the site, including
the use of simple netting as edge protection to a deep
excavation and the removal of windows without
installing appropriate protection.

“The unguarded windows posed a clear and extremely serious risk, not only
for this unfortunate worker but for others at the site
who worked near what were effectively open voids.

“Sub-contractors were also placed in danger because there was nothing to
stop equipment or debris from falling from the window spaces.

“The onus was on Habitat Construction to ensure appropriate safety measures were in place, but the company clearly failed its legal responsibilities in this regard.”

If you have been affected by an accident at work, and you would like expert advice, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email claims@hampsonhughes.com

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Print company fined after employee loses finger

Ashford Colour Press Limited has been in court after an employee lost one finger and seriously injured another whilst carrying out unsafe maintenance work on a book binding machine.

What happened?

Leharna Bull was attempting to clean the milling blades on a large binding machine, and had removed a fixed guard in order to access the parts.

Simultaneously, one of Ms Bull’s colleagues was changing a milling bag where paper dust is collected. This caused the machine to be restarted while she was still working with the fixed guards open.

Before she had time to react, the moving blades caught her fingers. She has since had to have the middle finger of her right hand amputated as a result of the incident.

What was the outcome?

An investigation identified that there were clear failings with the guarding on the machine she was operating on, and had the work been better planned the incident could have been avoided.

Ashford Colour Press Limited pleaded guilty to breaches of the Provision and Use or Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, and was fined a total of £13,000 and ordered to pay £1,278 in costs after pleading guilty to single breaches.

Alec Ryan, an HSE inspector, said:

“This was an easily preventable incident that has left a young worker
with an irreversible hand injury. The system of work was
inherently unsafe because it should not have been
possible to operate the machine with
angerous moving parts exposed.

“It is vital that all maintenance work, however routine, is properly planned and
assessed, and that suitable protection measures are implemented. That
is especially true when you are dealing with powerful equipment
like the binding machine that injured Leharna.”

If you have been affected by an accident at work, and you would like expert advice, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email claims@hampsonhughes.com
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Engineering company fined after employee’s injuries

Cope Engineering Ltd has been in court after one of its employees suffered serious injuries when he was dragged into moving parts of a machine.

What happened?

Peter Wilson was working at the Manchester-based plant, when he reached over to adjust the machine. As he did, the sleeve of his overalls was caught by the screws on a rotating three-metre-long cylinder, pulling him in and twisting him around.

Despite a colleague pushing the emergency stop button and cutting Mr Wilson’s overalls to stop them from becoming more entangled, the 58-year-old sustained injuries to his back and knee, and required 12 stiches in his arm.

He was off work for seven weeks as a result of the accident.

An investigation found that the firm hadn’t ensured that satisfactory measures were in place to prevent access to dangerous parts of the machine.

A court later heard that the firm had since made changes to its working practices, including operating the machine at the slower speed, changing employee’s clothing and removing protruding screws from the cylinders.

What was the outcome?

The firm plead guilty to a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, and was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £3,767 costs.

HSE Inspector Helen Mansfield said:

“Workers at the factory were put at a significant risk of their clothes
becoming entangled on a daily basis so it was almost inevitable
that someone would eventually be injured.

“Cope Engineering should have carried out a proper assessment of the risks faced by
workers, and then acted to tackle the dangers. If the measures the company
implemented following the incident had been in place sooner,
then Peter’s injuries could have been avoided.”

If you have been affected by an accident at work, and you would like expert advice, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email claims@hampsonhughes.com

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Sexual abuse victim fights for compensation

A woman who was sexually abused by her stepfather for over a decade is attempting to overturn laws that prevent her from claiming compensation from public funds.

The current law

The current criminal injury compensation rules state that a claim may not be brought where the victim was born before October 1979, and where the abuse was carried out by an individual living under the same roof.

The restriction was originally introduced in an attempt to ensure that the perpetrator doesn’t benefit from any compensation that the victim is awarded.

The case

The 51-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was abused by her stepfather between the ages of 5 and 17 years, from 1968 and throughout the 1970’s Her stepfather was jailed for eleven and a half years after being convicted of rape and indecent assault.

Speaking about the current law, she said:

“It’s not fair to discriminate like this. My case is not about the money,
it is about the principle, because this is wrong.

“These rules simply don’t make any sense. If someone is raped by a stranger
the rules allow them to receive criminal injuries compensation.

“But I had that every day, it wasn’t simply a one-off event, and I am not entitled.”

Though there have been challenges to these rules in the past on the grounds of human rights, this will be the first attempt to overturn is under the new Equality Act, on the basis that the victim is being discriminated against on the grounds of her age.

If you, or a loved one, have suffered from sexual abuse, and you would like expert advice, we can help.
Our experienced Criminal Injuries & Abuse Team will ensure that your case remains confidential, and that all guilty parties are held accountable.

For further information, please contact Greg Neill on 0151 242 1061
You can also contact us via email: gregneill@hh-law.co.uk

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Widow receives compensation after husband’s bowel cancer was wrongly diagnosed

Melissa Cutting has been paid £50,000 in damages, after her husband’s deadly bowel cancer went undiagnosed for two years.

What happened?

Chris Goodhead, 41, first visited his GP back in April 2005 after experiencing some rectal bleeding. At the time his GP, Dr Asim Islam, diagnosed him with piles and prescribed cream and suppositories.

Two years later, in April 2007, his symptoms worsened, and Mr Goodhead visited a consultant. A physical examination and further tests revealed that he had a tumour in his bowel, 20 tumours in his liver and lymph nodes, and that the cancer had spread to his pelvis.

The father of four received treatment at home for 19 months, before he died in January 2009.

What was the outcome?

Despite Dr Islam denying any responsibility for Mr Goodhead’s death, Judge Dame Patterson ruled that earlier treatment would have prolonged the 41-year-old’s life.

His widow, Mrs Cutting, who is now re-married, has been awarded £50,000 with costs yet to be agreed. She has since joined forces with the charity Beating Bowel Cancer to raise awareness about the importance of an early diagnosis.

She said:

“If you have symptoms, you must keep going back to your GP. The problem is that
sometimes you are made to feel like a hypochondriac but
actually you might just be saving your life.

“If you are not happy with your GP’s diagnosis, see another one and keep pushing.
Early diagnosis is absolutely critical with bowel cancer.
Your chances are much higher.”

If you, or a loved one, have been affected by medical negligence, and you would like expert advice, contact the Hampson Hughes Solicitors Medical Negligence Team today on 0151 242 1025 or email medicalnegligence@hampsonhughes.com

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Engineering Company fined after safety failing puts workers at risk

UTS Engineering Ltd has been in court for safety failings which exposed its employees to serious risks of injury from a fall.

What happened?

The Durham-based firm was undertaking extensive repairs to their roof, and work had already been carried out to inspect and re-felt the canteen roof and clear the gutters.

After receiving a complaint, the HSE carried out an investigation which found that the roof work was being carried out in an unsafe manner, and employees were at risk of falling from unprotected edges or through fragile roof materials.

What was the outcome?

Following the investigation, the company was prosecuted for safety breaches, and issued with a Prohibition Notice halting further work at height until satisfactory fall protection measures were put in place.

A court heard that, despite the roof containing Georgian-wired glass roof lights and other fragile materials, the firm hadn’t produced a safe method for employees to carry out the work that needed to be done.

Additionally, workers should have been protected by guard rails to prevent the risk of falling from the edge, and safety netting should have been placed underneath the roof in case of an accident.

UTS pleaded guilty of breaching the Work at Height Regulations 2005, and was fined a total of £24,000 and ordered to pay £1,146.80 in costs.

Fiona McGarry, HSE Inspector said:

“While it is fortunate that no-one was injured during these extensive
works, employees working on the roof were exposed
unnecessarily to high levels of risk.

“Death and serious injury following falls from the edge of roofs or through
fragile materials are all too common and proper planning is vital
to ensure the work is carried out safely and the correct
precautions are identified and used.”

If you have been affected by an accident at work, and you would like expert advice, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email claims@hampsonhughes.com
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