Month: September 2014

Campaign to license sunbed salons gains momentum in Liverpool

Public health officials and trading standards experts took part in a conference in Liverpool yesterday to show their support for tighter licensing regulations on sunbeds across Merseyside.

Sunbed use in Liverpool

Health professionals are concerned about say the popularity of sunbed use in Liverpool, and how many unregulated salons there are across the city.

The campaign to regulate these sunbed salons has been motivated figures that have shown that Liverpool-based skin cancer clinics are being placed under increased pressure.

The number of new malignant melanoma cases in females has risen by 129% since 2000 – over double the increase seen nationally.

Additionally, a report by Cancer Research UK has revealed that rates of malignant melanoma are five times higher in the UK now than in the 1970s.

What can be done?

Local authorities in Northern Ireland, Scotland already have the power to ensure that local salons educate users about the risks of sunbed use, whilst in England, only Nottinghamshire and London are able to ensure that sunbed providers to protect the health of their customers.

Liverpool City Council wants all councils to have this power.

Officials believe that licensing could help to save lives, as it will ensure that salons are adhering to recommended health and safety standards and therefore limiting the damage that sunbeds can cause.

Roy Gladden, assistant cabinet member for adult social care and health, said:

“This is an extremely worrying public health issue that
not only affects Liverpool but many other
areas across the country.

“This conference is an important part of our campaign as it
brings together our counterparts from local authorities
across England to support a co-ordinated response
from stakeholders in lobbying for change.”

For more information regarding malignant melanoma, visit NHS choices

Additionally, if you feel that you have suffered needlessly, or that you face advanced stage melanoma because of a failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis, and you would like expert advice, contact the Hampson Hughes Solicitors Medical Negligence Team today on 0151 242 1025 or email medicalnegligence@hampsonhughes.com

88-year-old woman dies after suffering burns in a care-home bath

A Deeside nursing home has been in court after an elderly woman suffered serious burns when she was lowered into a bath of scalding hot water.

What happened?

Beatrice ‘Betty’ Morgan, who was unable to walk, was lowered into a bath using a hoist at Greencroft Nursing Home in 2012.

She cried out as soon as she touched the water and, although she was quickly lifted out, she suffered nine per cent burns and was rushed to hospital.

She died of complications caused by her burns soon after.

An investigation into the incident found that the care home had not put satisfactory measures in place to ensure that the hot water was controlled.

Though mixing valves had been fitted to the baths, they were not properly maintained and were not of the right standard required in nursing homes.

Additionally, members of staff were required to check the water temperature using a thermometer before patients were lowered into baths, but the firm’s management made no checks to ensure this was happening.

What was the outcome

Greencroft Care Ltd was fined £5,000 after pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

However, the judge at the hearing said that had the company not been in liquidation, the fine would have been at least £100,000.

HSE Inspector Katharine Walker, said:

“This tragic incident could easily have been avoided if Greencroft
had observed the readily available guidance on bathing
vulnerable people. The company fell well
short of the desired standards.

“Miss Morgan suffered a great deal of unnecessary pain before her death.
Nursing homes and other organisations caring for vulnerable people
must make sure they fit and maintain the right kind of mixer
on hot bath taps and properly supervise their staff.”

If you have been affected by negligence such as this, 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 firm in court after employee crushed

An engineering company based in Basingstoke has been in court after one of its employees was crushed between a telehandler and a steel post.

What happened?

The 42-year-old employee had been asked to act as a lookout during an impromptu operation that took place to enable workers to move a broken-down telehandler.

The workers decided to reverse an HGV up to the vehicle, in order to push it the few feet needed move it into the unit.

However the employee became trapped between the telehandler and the post, and although freed within a few minutes he suffered serious crush injuries.

He was in hospital for four months, and had to have his pancreas and spleen removed. He has yet to be able to return to work.

What was the outcome?

RVC Engineering Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £6,600 and ordered to pay £1,087 in costs.

HSE Inspector, Pete Collingwood, said:

“A worker suffered a very serious injury from what was
perceived to be an innocuous operation. It was an
entirely preventable injury as the maneovre
could have been conducted without the
need for his involvement.

“Crush injuries are common from reversing vehicles in industry.
RVC Engineering should have planned this operation
carefully despite it being of a short duration
and then ensured the whole thing
was adequately supervised.”

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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Firm in court after barrier falls on baby’s pram

A construction firm has been prosecuted after an 18-week-old baby was injured after a barrier was blown on top of a pram.

What happened?

Kier Construction Ltd had been refurbishing a supermarket in Stirling, and had assembled barriers to separate the public from the construction work they were carrying out.

The baby boy’s mother had parked the pram next to these barriers while she used the cash machine outside.

She then heard her 13-year-old daughter scream, and turned to see that one of the barriers had fallen onto the pram hood, which had collapsed on the baby.

He was rushed to hospital with bruising to his forehead, but was discharged later that day with no other injuries.

An investigation into the incident found that the barriers had not been filled with water to keep them stable, as the manufacturer had instructed. Nor had the barriers by the cash machine been locked together.

Additionally, a month before the incident high winds had caused the barriers to fall over, however adequate safety measures had not been put in place to ensure that this did not happen again.

What was the outcome?

Kier Construction Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £4,000.

HSE Principal Inspector, Isabelle Martin, said:

“This incident could easily have been prevented. If assembled correctly
the barriers could withstand winds of up to 58mph. On the day
of the incident windspeed was about 30mph and
should not have been an issue.

“Instead, because Kier Construction Limited failed to properly construct
the barriers, a young baby was hurt. Luckily, his injuries were
minor but they could have been worse. This incident should
serve as a reminder to construction companies about
their duty to protect members of the public
who may be affected by their work.”

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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Construction firm in court after employee ran over by a nine tonne truck

A construction firm has been prosecuted for safety failings after one of its employees suffered severe injuries when he was run over by a nine tonne truck.

What happened?

David Windsor, a delivery driver for JB Leadbitter and Co LTD, had been delivering a mortar silo to the site where 159 new homes were being built.

Though he was wearing high-visibility clothing, he was hit by a dumper truck as he was crossing the site to return to his vehicle.

The 62-year-old sustained life changing injuries, including severe brain injury, fractured ribs and pelvis, and leg fractures and foot injuries all on his right side where the dumper ran over him.

He spent a fortnight in intensive care, followed by a month in a high dependency unit. He was finally discharged home from a brain injury rehabilitation unit over six months later.

An investigation into the incident found that the firm had failed to put in place traffic management plan to ensure the separation of vehicles and pedestrians using the roadway at the site.

What was the outcome?

JB Leadbitter and Co Ltd was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of around £100,000, after pleading guilty of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

HSE Inspector, Jonathan Harris, said:

“This terrible incident has left Mr Windsor with significant and
lasting injuries and could easily have led to his death. It
is unlikely he will be able to return to work again.

“Simple forethought and planning could have
avoided this happening.

“JB Leadbitter failed to identify risks to site workers and visitors,
such as delivery drivers, in their construction phase plan
and made no provision for segregating site vehicles
and pedestrians at the top end of the site.

“Other workers on this large site were frequently exposed to
serious risks as a result of this lack of planning.

“Workplace transport incidents are the second most common cause
of serious and fatal incidents in the construction industry,
yet they could easily be avoided by having proper plan
in place and provision for pedestrians on site.”

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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Solar panel firm in court after employees fall through roof

The owner of the solar panel firm, Green Park Power, has been prosecuted after two brothers fell 15ft through a fragile roof.

What happened?

The brothers had been installing solar panels to the roof of a farm when the floor collapsed beneath them, causing them to plummet 15 feet to the ground below.

37-year-old Brynley Perrett, sustained painful injuries including a compression fracture of his back and sternum. His brother, Anthony Perrett, was unharmed.

An investigation into the incident found that there had been no nets, scaffold edge protection or measures in place to assure the safety of the employees.

Additionally, the firm’s owner had failed to carry out an adequate risk assessment for work carried out on a fragile roof, and hadn’t taken any action to reduce risks to workers.

What was the outcome?

Andrew Green was fined £4,500 and ordered to pay costs of £1,500, after pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

HSE Inspector, Steve Richardson, said:

“Both brothers were fortunate not to have suffered far more
serious injury in this easily avoidable incident. Had
nets or other safety measures been installed then
the fall risk would have been significantly
minimised and the likelihood
of injury reduced.

“Working on a roof can be dangerous, with falls accounting
for more deaths in the construction industry than any
other type of incident. The risks are well known,
and guidance is freely available outlining
how to work safely at height.

“The onus was on Mr Green to ensure the safety of those in
his employment, but he failed to do so. Those in charge
of the work must be properly qualified and competent
to ensure that the work is carried out safely.”

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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Timber firm in court after employee’s finger amputated

Select Timber Products Ltd has been prosecuted after one of its employees lost the top of his finger in an unguarded machine.

What happened?

The 23-year-old employee had been helping to clear a blockage on one of the company’s woodworking machines when the incident happened in 2013.

The machine’s main guard had been lifted up in order to access the blockage, and another guard covering one of the machine’s cutting heads had also been removed.

Though the machine was unguarded, it was still connected to the power. So when the employee reached inside, his left hand came into contact with one of the moving cutting heads.

He had to have the top of his middle finger amputated, and also sustained serious lacerations to two other fingers, leaving his with partial movement of his hand.

What was the outcome?

Select Timber Products Ltd pleaded guilty to breaches of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, and was fined a total of £9,900 and ordered to pay £1,193 in costs.

After the hearing HSE inspector Neil Ward said:

“About 30 to 40 similar incidents are reported to HSE every year.
Nearly all result in amputation injuries and most, including
this one, could have been prevented if the cutters had
come to rest before operators approached them.

“Neither the machine operator nor the injured man had been trained
to a suitable standard by Select Timber Products. HSE
publishes free guidance for this type of machine
but that guidance was not followed.

“Workers should not have been clearing blockages with any of the
cutters turning and the fixed guard should never have
been removed from one of the heads.”

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Two building firms in court after employee’s fall from roof

An employee of Seaton Heating and Engineering Services Ltd broke his back after falling four metres from the roof of a leisure park in Skegness.

What happened?

SJ Roberts Construction Ltd had been appointed as contractors to install a new swimming pool extension and flume tower at the leisure park, whilst Seaton Heating and Engineering Services Ltd had been taken on as sub-contractors to install a new air-handling unit and associated pipework for the swimming pool.

The 36-year-old employee had been working on the roof of the extension, which was accessible by internal stairs. Though most of the roof was protected, a section had been left exposed, presenting a serious fall risk to the employees.

He was walking along some plywood next to the exposed section in order to collect some tools, when the plywood gave way beneath him and he fell four metres onto the concrete and rubble below.

He sustained serious injuries to his back, and spent five days in hospital. When he was discharged he required a back brace and was unable to work for over three months.

What was the outcome?

SJ Roberts Construction Ltd was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £645.60, after pleading guilty to breaching the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.

Additionally, Seaton Heating and Engineering Services Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £7,000 and ordered to pay costs of £519.60.

HSE inspector, Chris Copeman, said:

“This worker is very fortunate not to have suffered far more
serious injuries. Throughout the whole process of roof
work, there was no adequate protection against
falls, such as barriers on the open edge.

“Had he tripped and fallen from the edge of the roof,
we could have been dealing with a fatal incident.

“SJ Roberts Construction Ltd and Seaton Heating and Engineering Services
Ltd put workers’ lives in danger by allowing them to work on a
roof without suitable safety measures being in place.
They failed to recognise their responsibility
to ensure that work at height carried out
under their control was done safely.”

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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At least 60 victims in Merseyside paedophile ring

Merseyside police are investigating allegations that under-age girls were sexually abused by a paedophile ring around St Helens, Accrington and Preston.

Allegations

At least 60 young girls from care homes are feared to be victims of yet another child abuse case that follows similar scandals in Rochdale and Rotherham.

Groups of men, many of whom were taxi drivers allegedly known to care workers at the girls’ homes, are said to have groomed the girls with offers of drink and drugs before raping them.

One young woman, who is now in her 20s, claims that she was 14 when the abuse started, and was held as a sex slave whist care workers turned a blind eye.

She said:

“I went into care at 14. Staff turned a blind eye whilst I
was groomed, battered, kidnapped and raped.

“They (the alleged attackers) knew the staff. Most were taxi
drivers who offered us lifts to school.”

After a few months the girl was moved to Briars Hey home, where she was given cigarettes, alcohol and a phone by one of the taxi drivers, who she said later attacked her in his car after getting her drunk.

A fortnight after this incident, a taxi took her from the home to a house in Preston, where she was raped and then forced to have sex with numerous men for months.

She said:

“There were four or five girls there, all from homes. Two guys
kept an eye on us. We called them ‘The Keepers’.”

She said that when she tried to escape the house, she was hunted down, then gang-raped and beaten.

Her claims have been being investigated by Lancashire Police since 2012.

If you have experienced sexual abuse, and you would like expert legal guidance, contact Hampson Hughes solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email claims@hampsonhughes.com

Building company prosecuted after teenager’s fall

A 17-year-old employee of More Than Lofts Ltd fell through a hole in a loft, and landed on a staircase.

What happened?

The teenager was working as part of a team to covert a loft at a house in Hammersmith when he stepped on some fragile material that was covering a hole in the floor.

He fell four metres onto a staircase below, but luckily survived the accident with no significant injuries.

An investigation into the incident found that there had been multiple uncovered or badly-covered fragile surfaces on the site, and the firm had failed to take satisfactory measures to prevent employee falls.

Additionally, the investigation also found that the firm had also been given a Prohibition Notice in 2010 because of immediate dangers to workers, due to unsatisfactory safety measures on site.

What was the outcome?

More Than Lofts Ltd admitted to breaching the Work at Height Regulations, and was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £729 in costs.

HSE Inspector, Gavin Pugh, said:

“This young man had an extremely lucky escape from what could have
been a fatal or severe injury in a fall of that distance. He
and his co-workers were put in unnecessary danger by
the careless approach to safety demonstrated
by More Than Lofts Ltd.

“The company had ample materials on site to cover over fragile
surfaces during work on this loft conversion but failed to
do so. It also clearly disregarded the lessons that
should have been learned from the previous
enforcement notice about working
at height.

“Companies that skirt around safety put lives at risk. The hazards
presented by working on or close to fragile surfaces are
widely known in the industry and there are numerous
deaths and injuries to workers as a result
of safety failures every year.”

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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