Month: July 2014

Two haulage firms sentenced after driver is left paralysed

Two haulage firms have been in court after a driver was left with life changing injuries following an incident at a transport yard in Bedfordshire.

What happened?

The driver had been closing the back doors of his HGV when a lorry reversed into the area he was working in, and crushed him between two vehicles.

The impact left the 51-year-old paralysed from the chest down and unable to work again. Additionally, he suffered a brain injury which has affected his sight and left him with very little use of his arms.

An investigation into the incident found that the owners of the yard, H & M Distribution Ltd and H E Payne Transport Ltd, had not put in place a documented procedure for vehicle movements.

What was the outcome?

H & M Distribution pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and was fined £150,000 and ordered to pay costs of £13,996.

H E Payne Transport Ltd was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £13,996 after admitting a breach of the same act.

HSE Inspector, Emma Rowlands, said:

“This was a horrific and entirely preventable injury caused by the
shared failure of both companies to recognise the hazards
arising from loading operations at the transport
yard and their duty to protect the people
working there.

“Our investigation found that there was no documented procedure
which allowed workplace transport and pedestrians to
circulate the site in safety, and a dangerous
lack of segregation between vehicles and
workers on foot. Tragically, as a
result an employee is now
paralysed for life.”

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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Recycling company fined after employee’s jaw shattered

A recycling company based in Kent has been fined after an employee’s jaw was shattered into ‘pieces like cornflakes’, after being struck by a piece of plastic pipe that was ejected from a bandsaw.

What happened?

The 42-year-old employee had been cutting down an old gas pipe to be recycled at Kingsnorth Waste Management’s premises when the incident happened.

As he was feeding the curved section of the pipe into the bandsaw, when the blade became stuck in the plastic, turned it around and ejected it.

The pipe flew out of the machine at a high speed, striking the employee’s throat and chin. He sustained both broken upper and lower jaw bones and the hinges of his jaw had burst.

He has since undergone numerous operations over the last four years to reconstruct his jaw – including a bone graft from his hip – and has been left with irreparable nerve damage and still has problems eating.

An investigation into the incident found that there had been two more accidents that involved plastic pipe being ejected and hitting the workers – one of which involved a 16-year-old trainee.

The court heard that no measures had been taken to ensure that the machine used to cut the pipe would be safe for employees to use.

What was the outcome?

Kingsnorth Waste Management Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £7,000 and ordered to pay £3,000 in costs.

HSE Inspector, Gordon Chase, said:

“Kingsnorth Waste Management should have properly investigated how
the bandsaws operated and fully understood the risks of use that
were outlined in the instruction manual. That simple exercise
would have demonstrated the need to put effective controls
in place to safeguard their employees.

“The use of simple clamps or wedges, or the use of alternative
cutting equipment, would have allowed the job to be safely
carried out and avoided the life-changing injuries that
this worker suffered. In addition, it would have not
put others – including a teenager – in danger.

“Waste processing and recycling is a high-risk industry which
has a disproportionately large share of fatal and serious
injuries. Both individual companies and the industry
collectively, must improve the way that health
and safety, both of employees and
the public, is managed.”

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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Salmonella – Liverpool takeaway closed down

A takeaway offering English and Chinese meals has been closed down in Liverpool following 14 confirmed cases of Salmonella.

Woks Cooking eatery, located in the Westvale area of Kirkby, is thought to have been the common link between those taken ill. Paula Pierce, who manages the nearby Railway pub, witnessed the effects of Salmonella on her 24 year old daughter, Chantelle.

Ms Pierce commented:

“My daughter Chantelle had a steak and kidney pie and hot and sour soup
from there a week Monday ago. She wasn’t feeling well later on.
She went to the doctor’s on the Tuesday and
was diagnosed with food poisoning.

“On the Wednesday the ambulance came out for her at the house and
she was put on morphine. Her temperature was 40 degrees.”

Ms Pierce also explained that the hospital was able to quickly diagnose Chantelle’s condition as Salmonella, and asked questions about what Chantelle had eaten. The hospital then made the suitable recommendations to the environmental health agency.

Another man spoke to the Liverpool ECHO from his hospital bed. He had spent the night in intensive care following kidney failure after dining at Woks Cooking eatery.

The man said:

“I went into intensive care and my kidneys failed.
I also spent four nights in critical care.

I bought special fried rice and a couple of days later was ill. I had severe
diarrhoea and I was vomiting. I called the doctor and the
ambulance came out for me. I felt awful.”

Dr Alex Stewart, speaking on behalf of the Cheshire and Merseyside Public Health England Centre, added:

“Investigations are ongoing and all public health
measures have been put in place.”

Woks Cooking eatery – salmonella compensation with Hampson Hughes Solicitors

If you believe that you have been affected by salmonella poisoning linked to Woks Cooking eatery, Liverpool, our expert personal injury solicitors are here to offer you valuable guidance and support throughout your personal injury compensation claim.

For further information on how we can help you to claim personal injury compensation, call Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888, or emails claims@hampsonhughes.com

Source: Liverpool ECHO, Friday, July 25th, 2014, page 12

Company in court after forklift injures employee’s foot and leg

An Aberdeen-based firm has been in court for safety failings after one of its employees was injured when a forklift truck ran over his leg and foot.

What happened?

Derek Bonnar was one of four employees who were pressure-washing naturally-occurring radioactive material from components in two large wash bays, in a restricted zone at Scotoil Services Ltd’s site.

The four men had been working in two teams, and at one point the 51-year-old found himself working alone when one of the workers from the other team returned driving a forklift truck.

Mr While, who was driving the forklift, reversed and then moved forward to load components. At the same time Mr Bonnar was walking backwards, and the forklift collided with him, crushing his left leg and right foot.

Mr Bonnar was left with fractures to his foot, and a broken leg. He was in hospital for a week, then spent a further seven weeks in a wheelchair.

An investigation into the incident found that Scotoil had failed to provide satisfactory segregation between vehicles and pedestrians within the restricted zone. It also hadn’t provided instructions on controlling the vehicles while pedestrians were working.

Though Scotoil did carry out its own investigation into the incident, no changes had been made to the system or the layout of the premises when the Health and Safety Executive visited six weeks later.

A prohibition notice was then issued to stop the use of vehicles in the area until a safe system of work had been put in place.

The investigation also found that a similar incident had occurred the previous year, when another Scotoil employee was hit by a forklift and injured in the process.

What was the outcome?

Scotoil Services Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching the Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations 1992, and was fined £5,000.

HSE Inspector, Sarah Forbes, said:

“Scotoil Services Ltd was aware of the need for vehicles to be
working in this area at the same time as workers, but
despite this it failed to put measures, such as
walkways or marked transport routes, in place
to prevent the risk of vehicles
colliding with pedestrians.

“The company had taken action after the 2011 incident which
went over and above that required by HSE’s improvement
notice at the time. However, the risks in the
controlled zone were not fully recognised
and similar safety measures had not
been installed.

“The dangers associated with vehicle movements around pedestrians
are well-known. Every year there are over 5,000 incidents
involving transport in the workplace. About 50 of these
result in people being killed.

“This incident was entirely avoidable. Instead Mr Bonnar was left
with a painful injury, and needed several months to recover.”

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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Historical child sex abuse – review into allegations of Home Office cover-up

Home Secretary Teresa May has addressed the House of Commons regarding a planned review of historical child sex abuse claims within Westminster. A separate and wide-ranging investigation will also take place, to be led by an independent panel of child protection experts.

Organised child sex abuse at Westminster – ‘key events’ review

In 1982, former Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens announced his intention to expose eight government figures linked to organised paedophilia. In 1983, Mr Dickens began to provide information to the then Home Secretary Leon Brittan. However, the Home Office did not take any subsequent action.

In 2013, the Home Office commissioned a review of the information provided by Mr Dickens. Mark Sedwill, Senior Civil Servant in charge of the investigation, reported that 114 files were missing – Teresa May commented that: “These are presumed destroyed, missing, or not found”.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said:

“We need to know what happened when these allegations were first
raised even decades ago, when you will know that former cabinet
ministers have said there may have been a cover-up.”

Following calls to investigate what happened to the missing files from Labour MP Simon Danczuk, Teresa May announced on July 7th 2014 that Peter Wanless, Chief Executive of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), will lead a review of how police and prosecutors handled reports of child sex abuse at Westminster.

Lord Brittan denies that he failed to act appropriately on the information provided to him by Mr Dickens:

“It has been alleged that when I was home secretary I failed to deal
adequately with the bundle of papers containing allegations
of serious sexual impropriety that I received
from the late Geoff Dickens MP.

“This… is completely without foundation – as evidence
from the Home Office’s own report supports.”

Mr Wanless’ report is expected within ten weeks.

Child sex abuse within government ranks – long term investigations

A separate and long-term investigation into reports of historical organised paedophilia within the government will run alongside Mr Wanless’ review. The separate investigation is to be led by an independent panel, and is not expected to reach a conclusion before the upcoming general election.

Mrs May has stated that the panel inquiry will be converted into a public inquiry if the initial findings of the investigation suggest this to be in the public’s interest. Prime Minister David Cameron has echoed Mrs May’s intent, commenting that these investigations will “leave no stone unturned”.

Advice and support from Hampson Hughes Solicitors

If you have any information regarding historical child sex abuse within Westminster, and you would like expert guidance and valuable support going forward, call Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email claims@hampsonhughes.com

Sources:
BBC
Guardian

Prison sentence for developer guilty of repeated safety flaws

Eze Kinsley has received a prison sentence after repeatedly breaching prohibition notices put in place to ensure the safety of workers while redeveloping a former office block.

What happened?

Following numerous complaints from residents concerned about both falling debris and workers left without any protection from falling while working at height, The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) visited the site in February 2013.

The developer in charge of the workers at the site, Eze Kinsley, verbally abused the inspector, and later physically assaulted him when he returned to the site to serve prohibition notices requiring an immediate stop to unsafe work at the site.

After the HSE received reports that work still hadn’t stopped, further prohibition notice was issued to the site in April 2013 – and was breached within just one hour of being served.

An investigation into the work being carried out found that no safety measures had been put in place to protect workers from debris falling from height, and additionally there was substantial risk of injury to members of the public using the next to the site.

What was the outcome?

Eze Kinsley was found guilty of breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was given a 30 month prison sentence.

This sentence was to be served concurrently with three 12-month prison sentences after he was found guilty of contravening a Prohibition Notice. He was also ordered to pay costs of £5,000, and was found guilty of assaulting a HSE inspector at a different court appearance.

HSE Inspector, Jonathan Elven, said:

“Although no one was injured as a result of the woefully
inadequate working practices this is
nevertheless a serious case.

“The working conditions on this site were truly appalling with
absolutely no provision for workers’ safety. In addition,
the repeated breaching of prohibition notices –
without any attempts to put right the
reasons why work had been stopped
– put workers and the general
public at serious risk.

“Mr Kinsley refused to accept that he had a responsibility to make
sure people who worked for him, and any member of the public
living or working near his site, were not subjected to
unnecessary risks – and vigorously and violently
resisted all attempts to make him take
actions to protect them.

“Putting safe working practices in place is often simple and inexpensive
and, where this doesn’t happen, the costs, both financial
and personal, can be immense.”

If you have been affected an incident of this nature, and you would like expert advice, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email claims@hampsonhughes.com

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Firm in court after worker injured by falling sheet of metal

A Herefordshire steelwork firm has been in court after one of its employees was injured when a metal sheet fell on his foot.

What happened?

The 30-year-old man employee was working at Frank H Dale Ltd’s premises in Leominster, and had been asked to move some metal sheets, each six metres long, 35 centimetres wide and 10 millimetres thick.

To do this he had been using an overhead travelling crane with a permanent lifting magnet placed in the centre. The sheets needed to be lifted around 1.5 metres from the ground and placed on a conveyor ten metres away.

As the employee was carrying out the work, one of the metal sheets, weighing 180kg, detached from the magnet and landed on the employee’s foot. He fractured three of his toes and was unable to work for six weeks.

An investigation into the incident found that the magnet used was unsuitable for lifting the metals sheets, and the instructions provided by the manufacturer had not been followed.

What was the outcome?

Frank H Dale Ltd was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay £11,631.40 in costs, after pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

HSE inspector, Tariq Khan, said:

“Permanent lifting magnets are a common accessory in industry and
must be used correctly. Users need to understand the
limitations of the ones they have in use.

“This incident could easily have been avoided had the company
provided suitable training. Most permanent lifting magnets
are supplied with comprehensive instructions and
companies must ensure users understand them
and are trained in their use – many
suppliers of this equipment may
provide training.

“Although the steel sheet was within the safe working load for
the magnet being used at the time, it was not designed
to lift long, thin pieces of sheet metal.

“It was nothing more than luck that the first two sheets were
successfully moved and the injured employee was very
fortunate that the 180kg metal sheet fell on to a
conveyor before landing on his foot. Had it
landed on him directly then a more serious
injury may have been inflicted.”

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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Employee’s fall lands salad growing business in court

Essex-based salad growing company, Valley Grown Nurseries Ltd, has appeared in court after one of its employees suffered injuries when she had to jump from a runaway mobile working platform at the company’s nurseries in Nazeing.

What happened?

During one of her shifts, Zofia Jurek found herself having to jump from a moving platform at a height of about 1.4 metres, as it moved rapidly down a ramp and towards a greenhouse door.

The employees were using these platforms in order to reach bell peppers which were as high up as three metres.

The platforms had been designed to run on level ground, and were not fitted with brakes. On the day of the accident Ms Jurek had been picking bell peppers near the top of a ramp leading to a greenhouse.

When she was near to the slope she moved the platform across the aisle to reach the opposite row of pepper plants, setting the controls so that the platform would travel away from the ramp.

She pressed the accelerator, but the platform moved towards and down the ramp instead. In an attempt to stop it from hitting the greenhouse door, she jumped off the trolley, but landed on the concrete floor and was knocked unconscious.

The 63-year-old fractured her skull, resulting in a brain hemorrhage, and broke a heel which later needed metal plates.

The injuries Ms Jurek sustained have affected her balance, her hearing and her ability to read. As well as being tender and painful to touch, it has also left her unable to smell or taste anything, and she is still unable to return to work.

The court heard that Valley Grown Nurseries Ltd hasn’t identified the risks that the sloped floor posed to employees using the platforms. Additionally, the platforms themselves were found to need numerous repairs and better guard rails to prevent falls.

What was the outcome?

Valley Grown Nurseries Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £22,000 and ordered to pay £8,830 in costs.

HSE Inspector, Sue Matthews, said:

“Work at any height is inherently very risky, and it has to be
properly planned, controlled and supervised.

“Valley Grown Nurseries Ltd failed to take inexpensive and simple
precautions which would have prevented Ms Jurek’s injuries.
The risk to workers using trolleys near to the ramp was
known to the company but no action was taken to
provide adequate protection.

“Employers must always assess the risks to employees at work and
take the necessary steps to ensure their safety. This worker
sustained a serious head injury and is still unable to
return to work as a direct result of Valley Grown
Nurseries Ltd’s failure to manage the risks
of this operation.”

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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Contractor sentenced after building work puts elderly couple in danger

A roofing contractor has received a suspended prison sentence after his work on a chimney stack caused a blockage above a gas fire, leaving an elderly couple exposed to deadly fumes.

What happened?

John Stanley and his team were hired to fix a water leak between a double chimney stack and roof tiles at a property in Luton. The work, however, blocked the chimney above the gas fire, creating a potentially-dangerous leak of combustion fumes within the property’s loft space.

The court heard that the team had dismantled the old double chimney to just below roof tile level to make some repairs to the roof timbers and felt. They then built a single chimney stack back up, but failed to check that the flue for the gas fire in the property’s back living room was still in full working order.

Three months later, the homeowners called an engineer to examine the gas fire, which they were having trouble lighting.

They found that the chimney that the firm had blocked up when the stack was rebuilt was the one connecting to the gas fire, rather than the one connecting to the disused and boarded-up fireplace in the property’s front living room.

A further investigation found that the gas fire had been used for over twelve months, and all the fumes had been pumped into the loft, over their bedroom, instead of through the flue and chimney.

This had left the couple at serious risk for an extended period of time, despite the fact that something as simple as a smoke test would have highlighted the issue straight away after completion of the work.

What was the outcome?

John Stanley, trading as King Roofing and Durable Plastics, pleaded guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and was given a four-month prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered to pay £500 compensation to the couple he put at risk.

HSE Inspector, Robert Meardon, said:

“John Stanley’s sub-standard work created an on-going breach and
a prolonged risk to the safety of a vulnerable and elderly
couple. It cost them a huge amount of unnecessary
anxiety and a considerable amount of money to
rectify – on top of their savings they had
used to pay Mr Stanley for the work.

“When a chimney is the flue for a gas fire, it is a vital part
of the gas installation and should only be done by a
competent gas engineer on the Gas Safe Register.

“Mr Stanley advertised himself as a specialist roofing contractor,
but he was never on the Gas Safe Register and not qualified to
carry out gas work. He should have never undertaken this
job knowing that a gas fire was linked to the chimney.

“This incident could have resulted in fatalities as gas fire fumes
can contain poisonous carbon monoxide, which can kill. It is
vital that building contractors are aware of the risks
they create and comply with the laws in place
to control the risks.”

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

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Firm fined after child’s head trapped in electric gate

A firm in Leicester has been in court after it failed to ensure adequate guarding was installed on an electric gate that trapped a young child at a primary school in Stourbridge.

What happened?

The court heard that an eight-year-old boy suffered injuries when his head became trapped between the edge of the closing gate and the gate post.

The boy’s father was with him when the incident occurred, and desperately tried to hold the gate to prevent it from closing further.

He just about managed to pull the gate open enough to release his son’s head, but the youngster suffered significant bruising to the right side of his head and ear.

An investigation into the incident found that the entrance gate of Pedmore Primary School had been automated by Access Control Solutions (UK) Ltd, but suitable guarding had not been installed.

Though the firm had identified that guarding was needed, it hadn’t been installed because the gate, which had been manufactured by another company, wasn’t the dimensions that was expected so the guarding wouldn’t fit.

What was the outcome?

Access Control Solutions (UK) Ltd was fined £3,300 with £773 costs, after pleading guilty to breaching the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.

HSE inspector, Sarah Palfreyman, said:

“This was an extremely traumatic event for the boy and his father.
Fortunately, the youngster was back at school a couple of days
later and he has not suffered any long term effects. However,
it could have been a different story had he been trapped
by a different part of his head, or had it happened
to a younger child.

“The incident was entirely preventable. Access Control Solutions
identified the need for the guard in their own job
specification but when the gate arrived, it was
not the type expected the guard did not fit.

“At this point they should have either come up with an alternative
or postponed the job until the problem was rectified, especially
as they were fully aware that the entrance would be used by
a particularly vulnerable group – young children.

“People getting trapped a well-known risk in the industry and HSE
has produced safety notes on the subject due to a number of
fatalities involving children in recent years. I would
encourage all suppliers and installers of
electric gates to read it.”

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

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