Month: November 2014

Bryn Alyn Community Care Homes Sex Abuse Claims

John Allen, has been found guilty of 33 charges of sex abuse against child residents of the Bryn Alyn Community care homes.

Sex abuse charges

The 73-year-old, who is one known abuser of vulnerable children in his network of community care homes, has been found guilty of one count of indecency with a child, 27 counts of indecent assault, and six serious sex offences with 19 boys and a girl.

The children, aged between seven and 15 at the time, were residents of Allen’s 11 residential properties in the Wrexham area. The properties include the Bryn Alyn Hall, Pentre Saeson Hall, Bryntirion Hall, Cotsbrook Hall, and Gwastad Hall.

A “culture of fear”

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The court heard that children regularly fled the homes, but Allen would often find them or collect them from the police station.

Prosecutor Eleanor Laws QC claimed that Allen sexually abused and tormented children as young as seven over a period of more than 20 years from the late 60s to the early 90s.

She said:

“John Allen was described by the boys as abusive and violent, often in
drink, in particular during the periods of sexual abuse.

“He created a sexualised atmosphere in the home alongside a culture of
fear. He was seemingly, without being called to account, able to
sexually abuse these boys on a regular basis.

“Some boys were picked out, groomed and turned into his favourites.”

She went on to say that those who plucked up the courage to go to the authorities were disbelieved or ignored, and the court was told that one boy alleged he saw Allen assault a child in front of a social worker without any comeback.

Advice and support from Hampson Hughes Solicitors

If you have any information regarding historical child sex abuse within the Bryn Alyn Community care homes, and you would like expert guidance and valuable support going forward, please contact Greg Neill on 0151 242 1069 or via email: gregneill@hh-law.co.uk

We will ensure that your case remains confidential, and that all guilty parties are held accountable.

Worker’s severed fingers lands firm in court

A manufacturing firm in Rotherham has been fined after one of its employee’s fingers were crushed and severed in an unguarded machine.

What happened?

The 43-year-old employee was asked to work on a machine which presses lead work-pieces into required shapes at metal manufacturers, Heaps, Arnold and Heaps Ltd.

He was unaware, however, that a vital safety device had been deliberately removed from a 250-tonne press while he was away on annual leave.

Therefore, during a routine cleaning operation, he put his hand into the machine. The press then activated without warning, leaving his fingers badly crushed.

His index and middle fingers were severed, and he sustained further crush injuries to his left hand.

An investigation into the incident found that the safety mechanism had been removed deliberately so the machine could be used even when the protective guard was open.

Additionally, the investigation found that the adequate management systems had not been put in place to ensure safety relating to the required machinery guarding standards.

What was the outcome?

Heaps, Arnold and Heaps Ltd admitted to breaching the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations, and was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £687 in costs.

HSE Inspector, Jane Fox, said:

“This serious injury was entirely preventable. A safety device had been
deliberately taken off with the full knowledge of management.

“There were no systems in place to check the safety of machines and this
employee was certainly not told that the machine had been
left in a dangerous condition.

“Safety devices, such as guards and interlocks, are installed on machines for
very good reason – and that is to prevent workers from coming into contact
inadvertently with dangerous moving parts. Regulations and safety
standards have been in place for many years on this issue and
are well-recognised by the majority of companies.

“Sadly, this was not the case here and an employee of long-standing now
has to endure the consequences for the rest of his 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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Contractor fined after 91-year-old seriously injured

A contractor has been in court after a pensioner was seriously injured when a metal construction fence collapsed, as she was walking past a site in east London.

What happened?

The 91-year-old was knocked to the floor by the two metre high fence, leaving her with a fractured shoulder and hip. She required a lengthy stay in hospital and now struggles with her mobility and independence.

An investigation into the incident found that the weather hadn’t been a factor on the day, but instead the fence was poorly installed and hadn’t been built or maintained to an approved design.

What was the outcome?

Fadil Adil, who was responsible for the fence as it surrounded a development he was working on to create flats and a commercial unit, pleaded guilty to breaching of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.

He was was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £3,000 in costs plus a further £5,000 in compensation.

HSE Inspector, Bernardine Cooney, said:

“The law clearly states that all temporary works, including fences
and hoardings, are properly designed, constructed and maintained
by competent people to ensure they are safe.

“This clearly wasn’t the case on this occasion and a pensioner was
seriously injured as a result. She could have been killed, and
the fence also posed a clear risk to other passers-by as
well as workers on the construction site it served.

“Fadil Adil could and should done more to prevent that risk as the
principal contractor responsible for the site.”

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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Over 500 serious incidents recorded at Colchester Hospital in two years

Colchester General Hospital this week admitted that records show 563 serious incidents – including avoidable deaths to abuse allegations – over a two year period.

Recorded incidents

Though the hospital has refused to divulge exactly what the 563 cases involved, the incidents have been defined as those that have caused, or threatened, serious harm to patients, the public, hospital staff and the trust itself.

These incidents include serious hospital-acquired infection outbreaks, allegations of abuse, unexpected and avoidable deaths, serious harm requiring lifesaving intervention and maternal mortality.

The 563 incidents do not include any incidents that are part of the normal running of a hospital, for example, deaths due to serious illness or expected surgical complications.

Instead, they have all been recorded because they have arisen from errors being made.

Additionally, the figures have excluded all cancer-related cases, which are being investigated separately after allegations that the hospital tampered with data last year.

Unprecedented demand

Since the hospital failed a surprise inspection by the Care Quality Commission – which found a worryingly high level of demand, and also raised concerns relating to inappropriate restraint and sedation of elderly patients – people have been urged only to attend the hospital if they have a life-threatening condition.

Allegations have also suggested that waiting time figures were tampered with in order to meet targets, whilst a CQC spokesman also confirmed that a dead body was taken through the A&E department within the sight of patients.

What is being done?

As well as closing its doors to all but life-threatening emergencies, when the major internal incident was declared, the hospital also began discharging all patients who were clinically fit to leave.

A council spokesperson said:

“Specialist advisers are providing extra support to hospital-based social
care staff and we have brought in additional resources to help with
the assessment of patients. Care home placements which were made
over this weekend were all to local homes and choice was
offered. We have not had any requests to
find more placements this week.”

Additionally, a spokeswoman from the trust said:

“Black alert is a hospital’s most severe internal status level and means
we have far more demand coming through A&E than beds available. We
are currently on red status [one step down from black] but
were on black alert throughout [Monday] and,
separately, for three days last week.”

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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Illegal gas fitter put homeowners at risk

A self-employed builder has been in court after he installed a wall-mounted gas boiler and associated pipe-work, despite not being Gas Safe Registered, and put the lives of home-owners in danger.

What happened?

Jason Sapsford had been contracted to remove a gas boiler from a house in Clacton-on-Sea, and install a wall mounted gas boiler in its place.

After he installed the system however, it broke down repeatedly and the resident was left with holes to an exterior wall, no room-control thermostat and other electrical faults.

Additionally, Mr Sapsford had removed all copper pipe-work and replaced it with plastic piping – which was inappropriate for its intended use and badly fitted, so subsequently leaked.

The homeowner was therefore faced with costs of around £2,500 to repair the damage and install a room thermostat.

What was the outcome?

Both British Gas and Gas Safe carried out inspections on the property and classified the installation as being ‘At Risk’ – indicating that the system, in its current state, had the potential to put both life and property at risk.

Jason Sapsford, pleaded guilty to breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 Herts, and was fined a total of £2,000, ordered to pay costs of £2,252 and victim compensation of £2,285.

HSE Inspector, Paul Grover, said:

“This gas work was carried out by an unregistered and incompetent
individual who was prepared to put life and property at risk
for the sake of quick profit.

“People can die as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning. Mr Sapsford’s
actions were callous and uncaring and he showed little or no concern
for the difficulties experienced by the householders, or the
danger his handiwork presented to the general public.”

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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71-year-old in court after chainsaw fall onto colleague

A tree surgeon has been in court after, while still holding a running chainsaw, he fell from a tree and landed on a colleague.

What happened?

Employer, Gilbert Bradfield, had been contracted to fell a tree after concerns for its stability following strong winds.

He hired three casual employees to help him and they erected a three-stage extending ladder to provide higher access to the tree.

In order to reach the highest part of the tree, they had placed the ladder in the back of their pick-up truck that was parked at the foot of the tree.

Mr Bradfield then climbed four to five metres in order to remove the top third of the tree using a heavy rear-handled chainsaw – but as he did so the top knocked him off the ladder.

He fell, with the chainsaw still running, and landed on his employee who was holding the base of the ladder.

The 71-year-old only received minor injuries from the fall, but his 72-year-old employee suffered a dislocated shoulder, a severe laceration to the head, a punctured lung and other internal injuries.

He was in hospital for four days, but later collapsed at home after being discharged and dislocated both his shoulders, and spent nearly eight weeks in intensive care with a severe chest infection.

Due to sustained nerve damage he now has very little use of both arms and requires round-the-clock care.

What was the outcome?

An investigation into the incident revealed that no protective equipment was being worn by any of the men operating chainsaws, nor were they using equipment for working at height.

Additionally, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that none of the men had certificates of competence in even the basics of chainsaw skills or tree surgery

Gilbert Bradfield pleaded guilty to breaching the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, and was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £889.

HSE Inspector, Anthony Brookes, said:

“Gilbert Bradfield had not properly planned this work, and the way it was
tackled almost doomed it to failure from the start. It is somewhat
surprising, given his lack of proper training and a lack
of competency, that a similar incident
had not occurred before.

“Tree work is a hazardous occupation and it is essential that the risks
are recognised. In the last ten years, 24 tree surgeons have been
killed and 1,400 have been injured. The HSE website has a
dedicated area that provides advice on training and
safe working methods in the industry.”

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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Dental negligence: thousands to face tests over fears that dentist infected patients

22,000 NHS dental patients across Nottinghamshire have been recalled for blood tests following concerns they could have been infected with HIV or other blood-borne viruses, after a dentist allegedly flouted safety controls during his 32-year career.

Negligence concerns

This recall, which is one of the biggest in NHS history, has been sparked after a whistleblower secretly filmed Mr D’Mello, who used to be head of the Daybrook Dental Practice in Gedling, breaching clinical standards.

It is believed that, over his 32-year-career Mr D’Mello had not been sterilising his equipment properly, as well as failing to wash his hands and change gloves between patients.

He has since been suspended.

An emergency walk-in centre is being set up in Nottinghamshire to deal with an expected deluge of worried patients. According to NHS England, 1,333 patients have called the helpline so far, and more than 600 people had gone to a clinic set up to deal with queries and perform precautionary blood tests.

If you are concerned that you may 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

Two firms in court after labourer’s serious injuries

Both an energy firm and a solar installer have been fined after a worker sustained serious injuries when he fell from a roof.

What happened?

The 27-year-old labourer was subcontracted by Investment Renewables to install 56 solar panels on the barn roof, though he had no previous experience in this type of work.

He slipped when it began raining; fell onto his back and tried to grab hold of a bracket as he slid down the roof, but was unsuccessful and fell nearly seven metres onto the floor below.

He landed in some bushes and broke his collarbone, seven ribs and sustained bruising to his lung.

An investigation into the incident found that out of the three men contracted to carry out the work, only one had any experience.

Additionally, the court heard that no safety measures had been put in place to prevent or mitigate falls.

Investment Renewables had not adequately assessed the risks arising from the solar panel roof installation, and had also failed to ensure its sub-contractor, Mr King, had done so.

What was the outcome?

Investment Renewables Ltd admitted to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £14,000 and ordered to pay £404 in costs.

Peter King from Kingson Roofing, Building and Construction admitted to breaching the same act and was fined £10,000£404 in costs.

HSE inspector, Andy Denison, said:

“This worker’s fall and his subsequent painful injuries could easily have
been prevented had basic safety precautions been put in place. Each
party failed in its responsibilities to protect the workers from
danger by assessing risks and providing a safe system of work.

“Mr King had obviously not planned the job thoroughly – he had only looked
at a photo of the building and not even visited the site. Investment
Renewables also failed to make sure the work was safely planned
and did not supervise it.

“Despite clear guidance from HSE and the solar panel industry, companies
continue to work on roofs without suitable precautions, posing an
entirely unacceptable risk of serious injury, or even
death, to employees.”

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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Aerospace company in court after employee’s health suffers

Vector Aerospace International Limited has been fined after a number of workers were found to be suffering from varying degrees of a debilitating nerve condition.

What happened?

In total, 13 of the employees of the international firm had been diagnosed with Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS), after working at the same site for between five and 45 years.

Two of which employees were diagnosed with Stage 3 of the syndrome; suffering with the most severe and painful symptoms.

Serious cases of HAVS can leave sufferers with circulation problems, white and dead hands in the cold and with extreme pain on warming. Additionally, nerve damage means those affected find it hard to carry out any day-to-day tasks that need dexterity and grip.

An investigation into the cases found that the company had surveyed the tools its workers were using in 2007, but decided that no controls were needed.

Though they later reviewed their risk assessment, the risks of vibration from the use of around 1,600 tools by 400-450 employees on the site was never controlled.

This led to some being exposed to vibration levels that exceeded the legal limits.

An investigation found that staff on site hadn’t been provided with any information about the risks posed from the work they were carrying out.

What was the outcome?

Vector Aerospace International Ltd admitted three charges under the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005, and was fined a total of £50,000 and ordered to pay £2,514 in costs.

HSE inspector, Alec Ryan, said:

“Vector Aerospace had the resources to protect its employees from the
well-known effects of excessive exposure to vibration but failed
to do so over a significant number of years.

“As a result, 13 employees developed symptoms of HAVS which can affect
all aspects of their lives. HSE’s intervention in 2013 was as a
result of the company bringing in health surveillance for
the first time. Although this identified these cases,
it came too late for these workers.

“The company failed to assess the risks and implement the necessary controls.
Employers have a duty to provide effective measures to ensure the
health of their staff is not seriously or permanently harmed
by the work they are asked to do.”

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

College in court after employee suffers life-changing injuries

Burnley College has been in court after one of its employees sustained serious injuries after falling three metres while changing an air filter on an extraction system.

What happened?

In order reach the filter, the 63-year-old engineering technician needed to put his left foot on a cabinet and his right foot on the top rung of a stepladder.

As he did so, the stepladder toppled from under him and he fell sideways, hitting a bench as he fell, breaking his back in several places and fracturing his breastbone.

He was rushed to hospital and required morphine for 12 days to manage the pain. He was off work for five and a half months, and is likely to need to take pain killers every day for the rest of his life.

Though he can now walk short distances, he has had to give up hobbies such as fell walking and carrying out DIY for his 85 year old mother.

An investigation into the incident found that the college had failed to ensure the work was carried out safely, despite specialising in teaching health and safety courses.

The court heard that the employee’s supervisor had seen that he needed to stand on a cabinet in order to reach the filter a week earlier, but hadn’t taken any action to ensure that the work was carried out in a safer way going forward.

What was the outcome?

Burnley College pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay £7,600 in costs.

HSE Inspector, Rose Leese-Weller, said:

“It’s astonishing that Burnley College failed to ensure basic health
and safety systems were in place when it employs
lecturers who specialise in this area.

“Anyone with even the slightest knowledge of safety while working at
height would have known straddling a cabinet and the top rung
of a stepladder was dangerous, but this practice was
allowed to continue by the college.

“The extraction system was installed quickly and without thought for
the employees who would need to change the filters. The
technician therefore had no choice but to
reach them in this way.

“If the college had carried out a proper risk assessment in advance
then the unit could have been installed in an area where it could be reached by the mobile elevated work platform, without an employee’s life being put in danger.”

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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