Month: October 2014

Worker from Liverpool ‘lucky to be alive’ after cutting through mains cable

A labourer from Merseyside is lucky to be alive after he cut through a mains electricity cable.

What happened?

Construction firm Vermont Capitol Ltd had been hired to clear a site before building a block of student flats at the end of a row of Grade-II-listed Regency terraced houses.

The 22-year-old worker was asked to remove old pipes and cables from the cellar, and was under the impression that the electricity supply had been disconnected.

However, he was thrown across the room after his angle grinder hit the live wires, suffering serious injuries to his elbow and shoulder.

An investigation into the incident found that Vermont Capitol had failed to ensure the mains supply into the building had been disconnected, despite informing the site manager that it had.

What was the outcome?

Vermont Capitol Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 by failing to identify the live mains cable, and was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £980 in costs.

HSE Inspector, Chris Hatton,said:

“This young worker is extremely lucky to be alive after suffering an
electric shock from a mains cable likely to be
carrying at least 240 volts of power.

“The team on the site had been told all of the utilities entering the
site had been disconnected and so the worker had no way
of knowing he was actually cutting into
a live electricity cable.

“It’s vital that developers take the risks seriously from gas pipes
and electricity cables and get written confirmation that
supplies have been disconnected before starting work.
Otherwise lives will continue to be put at risk.”

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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Company fined after worker suffers severe burns

A County Durham-based firm has been in court after one of its employees suffered painful burns to his face, arm and hand, when he was hit by a jet of hot molten plastic.

What happened?

John Calcutt had been clearing solidified plastic from a large moulding machine at the firm’s site in Newton Aycliffe.

As he was doing so, hot liquid plastic was ejected from the machine and hit his arm, hand and the left side of his face causing serious burns.

The 47-year old was airlifted to hospital where he was kept in for three days. He has since returned to work, but is still receiving treatment and physiotherapy for his injuries.

An investigation into the incident found that a blockage in the machine had been identified that morning.

Three of the workers, including Mr Calcutt, attempted to clear the blockage in order to get the machine working, though none were wearing any form of eye or face protection.

Additionally, no training had been provided in relation to clearing blockages on the machine.

What was the outcome?

Ebac Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £7,500 and ordered to pay £770.10 in costs.

HSE Inspector, Victoria Wise, said:

“This incident could have been easily prevented if Ebac Ltd had a
safe system of work in place for dealing with blockages.

“The potential for ejection of hot molten plastic is highlighted in
the industry’s own guidance and this was a foreseeable risk
that should have been part of the risk assessment
process for clearing blockages.

“The company should have also had monitoring in place to ensure that
its employees were using the appropriate personal protective
equipment that had been provided.

“Instead, the firm’s failures mean a worker has suffered serious injuries.”

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 worker’s chainsaw injury

Enviroclean (Scotland) Ltd has been prosecuted after one of its workers was injured when the chainsaw he was using hit his leg as he slipped while felling trees.

What happened?

Hugh Dorricot had been instructed to clear the vegetation from a sloped embankment back in 2010. As he was felling one of the trees, the ground moved beneath his feet and he began to slide backwards down the embankment.

As he fell, the chainsaw that he had been using cut into his lower leg. He required an operation to heal the wound, but has since recovered and returned to work.

An investigation into the incident found that the 26-year-old wasn’t wearing appropriate personal protective equipment and hadn’t been satisfactorily trained to use a chainsaw.

Enviroclean had produced a risk assessment for using a chainsaw, which stated that all members of staff must be properly instructed, trained and supervised, and that personal protective equipment, including chainmail leggings, must be worn.

However, the court heard that when the incident occurred no members of staff were certified as competent to use a chainsaw, and Mr Dorricott had not been wearing adequate personal protective equipment.

What was the outcome?

Enviroclean (Scotland) Ltd, pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £7,000.

HSE Inspector, Jennie Stafford, said:

“Hand-held chainsaws are dangerous machines which must be handled with
the greatest care. That is why it is a legal requirement
to ensure that users are adequately trained
by a competent person.

“It is clear this incident could have been avoided had Enviroclean (Scotland)
Ltd taken reasonably practicable steps – ensuring that only trained and
competent users were allowed to operate the chainsaw; discussing the
risk assessment with workers, clarifying the system of work and
enforcing the wearing of appropriate personal
protective equipment.

“However, the company failed to do this and instead, Mr Dorricott
suffered a painful injury.”

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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Security firm prosecuted after employee’s fall

A security firm based in Essex has been in court after one of its maintenance engineers fell over three metres through fragile ceiling tiles.

What happened?

The engineer had been instructed to fix a faulty roller shutter door, and was attempting to access an electrical control panel in a ceiling void.

He used a ladder supported by a colleague to access the void, then walked across the ceiling panels which were attached directly to the underside of timber joists, using a wooden ply board as a work platform.

After carrying out the work, the ceiling gave way beneath him and he fell onto the floor below, sustaining a fractured elbow and ankle.

An investigation into the incident found that the firm did not have satisfactory risk assessment in place for undertaking work at eight on site.

What was the outcome?

Security Door Systems Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching the Work at Height Regulations 2005, and was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay costs of £440.

HSE Inspector, Corinne Godfrey, said:

“Security Door Systems was a regular contractor at that site but failed
to carry out an adequate risk assessment that identified the
fragile ceiling surface and the need to work above it.

“And in turn, they failed to implement measures to prevent falls
through fragile ceiling surface when work was being
undertaken in the void.

“It was luck rather than good management that someone
had not fallen before.

“Incidents involving falls through fragile roofs are unfortunately
all too common. Employers have responsibility to ensure that
suitable risk assessments are undertaken for work at
height, and to make sure that robust and safe
systems of work are implemented.

“This engineer was very fortunate not to have suffered far more serious
injuries, or indeed injure others as he fell to the ground.”

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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Apology from NHS trust over the mistreatment of 1,200 cancer patients

Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust has written to over one thousand former patients after a clinical review found that they may have been harmed by treatment.

What happened?

Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust has sent letters of apology to 1,200 bladder and prostate cancer patients, after the review discovered that 27 people had been harmed between 2006 and 2013, by treatment from a consultant urologist.

The consultant urologist, Paul Miller, was suspended from work in December 2013. The General Medical Council (GMC) has since confirmed that an investigation is pending, and that he is currently unable to treat urological cancer patients pending an investigation.

A statement made by the trust said that the 27 patients;

“came to harm because of the treatment they received
under the former trust urologist’s care.”

This included five who have since died.

Additionally the trust said that a “small number of patients” had also been given treatment that was below hospital standards, however they had not been harmed as a consequence.

An apology

Medical director, Des Holden, said:

“On behalf of the trust, I apologise unreservedly for the errors in these
patients’ treatment. I acknowledge and appreciate that the outcome
of the clinical review and the content of the letters will
be deeply distressing to our patients and their
families and I am very sorry.

“There have been five deaths in the 27 patients. It wouldn’t be correct
to say they died as a consequence of the progression of their
disease. This is a cancer that predominantly
affects very elderly people.

“It’s a factor, but it wouldn’t be correct to say they died
as a consequence of the mismanagement.”

The trust has set up a hotline so patients and their families can get in touch with a consultant or specialist nurse to discuss any concerns of aspects of their care.

If you 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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Roadmarking Company in court over employee’s burns

Redland Road Marking Ltd has been fined after one of its workers suffered burns when a road marking vehicle caught fire and exploded.

What happened?

Neil Higgins had been laying road markings along with his colleagues when the explosion happened, leaving him with multiple burns.

An investigation into the incident found that the pipework for the gas-heated cauldrons on the roof of the vehicle had not been properly connected. Additionally, the equipment had no flame failure devices.

What was the outcome?

Redland Road Marking Ltd was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £1,123 in costs, after pleading guilty to breaching work equipment regulations.

HSE Principal Inspector, Helena Tinton, said:

“This is not the first time there has been a fire of this nature on a
road marking vehicle and the operators need to ensure that the
equipment has been installed by a competent person and
regularly maintained. It is a matter of good
fortune that nobody died as a result
of this incident.”

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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Two landlords in court after baby suffers carbon monoxide poisoning

Two landlords from Bolton have been prosecuted after two tenants and their four-month-old baby were rushed to hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning.

What happened?

The two landlords found themselves in court after four gas appliances at a property they were renting to a young family were found to be unsafe. Additionally, it was discovered that they had failed to arrange an annual gas safety check as the law requires.

The couple moved into the rented property three months before their baby was due. After a couple of weeks the expectant mother began to suffer palpitations, headaches, and struggled with her breathing.

She was admitted to hospital for several days, as doctors assumed that her symptoms were linked to her pregnancy.

Her husband also began to get severe headaches and was prescribed codeine by his GP.

Some months later, the couple were in the flat minding their 4-month-old son, who they were concerned was unwell as he had been crying all day.

Shortly after, baby’s father began to suffer with a painful headache, not long before his wife began collapsed on the kitchen floor.

All three members of the family were then rushed to hospital and treated overnight for of carbon monoxide poisoning.

What was the outcome?

An investigation found that a gas-powered water heater that was installed in the kitchen did not have a flue, so therefore should have only been used for a maximum of five minutes at a time.

However, it had been connected to both the kitchen sink and the washing machine, and therefore was emitting high levels of carbon monoxide due to its overuse.

Additionally, the gas fire in the lounge and gas boiler in the kitchen were also found to be at risk of emitting harmful carbon monoxide.

The Landlords, Mehboob Bobat and Suraiya Bobat pleaded guilty to breaching the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, and were sentenced to 80 hours of community service and each ordered to pay costs of £720.

HSE Principal Inspector, Mike Sebastian, said:

“A young couple and their baby son were needlessly made ill for several
months because Mr and Mrs Bobat failed in their legal duties
as landlords to arrange an annual gas safety check.

“It’s shocking that all four of the gas appliances in the property had
the potential to cause carbon monoxide poisoning. If the baby’s
father hadn’t acted quickly to call an ambulance when he
wife collapsed then the effects could
easily have been fatal.

“Landlords must take their responsibilities seriously and make sure
houses they rent out are safe for their tenants. We will
continue to take legal action when
landlords ignore the law.”

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 an employee loses the tip of his finger

A fabrications firm based in the West Midlands has been prosecuted after one of its employees lost the tip of his finger while using an unguarded drill.

What happened?

The 32-year-old employee had been drilling holes into metal components, when he pushed a piece of metal which was not moving properly.

As he did his finger was caught on the drill, entangling his glove so he was unable to pull it out.

He had the tip of his middle finger amputated, and had to stay off work for three months. Once he returned, however, he found that the injury was still causing him severe discomfort, and doctors decided that he needed to have the finger amputated further down to the first joint.

An investigation into the incident found that the firm’s safe system of work guidelines for the drill stated that the guard should be placed in position and then checked by the operator to make sure it is correct.

However, it was found that guard had been removed and never replaced.

What was the outcome?

H&H Alloy Sales Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £13,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,391.

HSE Inspector, Judith Lloyd, said:

“The incident was entirely preventable. The underlying cause was
that it was custom and practice to use the drill without a
guard in place. Instruction for employees was lacking
and there was no system in place to check that
guards were being used correctly, despite
having a written procedure.

“It was reasonably practicable to guard the drill and it had in
fact been guarded in the past. Wearing gloves without an
appropriate guard significantly increased the risk of
entanglement, something the company had been
provided with advice on during a
previous inspection.

“Following the incident the job was completed on a programmable
automatic drilling machine which begs the question,
why didn’t the company use this method from
the start? If it had, a man would have
been spared a painful injury.”

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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Sun dazzle & road accidents – northwest at risk

Road accidents linked to sun dazzle (or sun glare) are more frequent in October. Last year, almost 300 hours of low sun throughout the autumn contributed to 28 road deaths in Britain.

Sun dazzle – roads in northwest most affected

Dazzle is a reported factor in 3,900 road traffic accident injuries each year. An annual national average of 1.4 people is killed or injured in road traffic accidents linked to dazzle. In the northwest, this figure rises to 2.2 road deaths/injuries per instance of road traffic accident caused by sun dazzle.

October has been highlighted as the month during which road users in Britain are most susceptible to dazzle. This is because sunrise and sunset occur during rush-hour throughout October – a month known for increasingly poor weather conditions as winter approaches.

Edmund King, AA President, commented:

“Pedestrians walking with their backs to vehicles are almost twice
as likely to be killed or seriously injured in road accidents”

Mr King has also tweeted this advice to drivers:

“Slow down, shades, clean windscreen, expect the unexpected.”

Roads with an East-West orientation are at higher risk, including the M4 (London to South Wales) and the M62 (Liverpool to Hull, via Manchester and Leeds).

The AA has advised drivers to slow down immediately if dazzle occurs, and to avoid maintaining speed in the anticipation that the dazzle will cease (for example, when approaching buildings or trees that could obscure the sun).

Road traffic accident compensation – expert help from Hampson Hughes Solicitors

If you have been injured in a ‘sun dazzle’ road accident that wasn’t your fault, you could be entitled to personal injury compensation. Hampson Hughes Solicitors offers you a FREE consultation – we will discuss all of your options with you in full, including the details of how we will expertly manage your personal injury rehabilitation programme.

For further information on how we can help you to secure maximum personal injury compensation in instances of non-fault road traffic accidents, please call 0800 888 6888
or email info@hh-law.co.uk

Source: The AA