Month: February 2015

Eight-year-old awarded damages for catastrophic birth injury

Ayla Ellison has been awarded a multimillion-pound compensation package after she was starved of oxygen at birth and left disabled.

What happened?

The girl, who is now eight-years-old , suffered severe brain damage following her birth at Furness General Hospital, Barrow. As well as being immobile and dependent on being fed through a tube, she is at constant risk of hypothermia as she cannot control her body temperature.

Despite her immobility, she suffers muscle spasms that leave her in agonising pain which can only be quelled by immersion in a hydrotherapy pool.

Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust has since admitted staff negligence.

Compensation

The trust has been ordered to pay a tax-free sum every year for the rest of Ayla’s life, starting at £225,000 and rising to £290,000 when she turns 18.

The settlement also includes £1.6m to buy a family home near to her father’s work, and further funds will be needed to adapt it to Ayla’s needs and install a hydrotherapy pool.

Trust medical director, David Walker, said:

“We are very sorry for the harm caused to Ayla and the distress caused
to her family as a result of the issues arising from her birth.

“The injuries she suffered are very severe and a tragedy for her and her
family. Her parents have had to cope with extraordinary
pressures in looking after her.”

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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“Don’t cry for me Argh!-gentina” – Madonna’s accident at work

Madonna takes a tumble at the Brit Awards

An accident at work can happen at any time. Although, you’d certainly hope that if you were to fall backwards off the O2 Arena’s main stage whilst dressed in a sequin studded matador costume, the world’s media wouldn’t be watching. No such luck for Madonna, who was unable to prevent her fall at the Brit Awards 2015 after suffering what some news sources have described as a “wardrobe malfunction”. When her cape failed to release, a planned tug from an unwitting backup dancer resulted in Madonna tumbling a small flight of stairs.

Madonna later tweeted:

“Armani hooked me up! My beautiful cape was tied too tight!
But nothing can stop me and love really lifted me up!…”

Accident at work – do you know your rights?

While Madonna’s pride may have been dented, she was not injured. However, official statistics provided by the Health and Safety Executive for 2013/2014 show that 78,000 work-related injuries were recorded under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations.

If you have been injured in an accident in the workplace that was not your fault, you may have questions about your entitlement to support and compensation. For example, depending on your type of employment, you could be unaware regarding reporting responsibilities and next steps.

Accident at work – UK law:

  • Employee – your employer is responsible for filing your official injury report
  • Self-employed – the controller of the premises is responsible for reporting your injury
  • Agency worker – agencies should agree reporting responsibilities with the host business

If you are uncertain as to whether your injury was reported, or even if you are certain that you injury was not reported, we can help. Our expert team of personal injury solicitors is here to provide you with instant answers and valuable support throughout your accident at work claim.

Time limits to your accident at work claim

You must begin your personal injury compensation claim within three years of the date of your injury. However, there are common exceptions to this rule.

Exceptions to the three year claim time limit include:

  • Childhood injuries – you must act within three years of your 18th birthday
  • Historic injuries – you must act within three years of your date of knowledge (i.e. you must act within three years of becoming aware that your injury is linked to negligence).

Personal injury compensation with Hampson Hughes Solicitors

If you have suffered an accident at work that was not your fault, and if you would like to discover more about how we could help you to secure maximum personal injury compensation, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today for your FREE no obligation consultation:

Tel: 0800 888 6 888
Email: info@hh-law.co.uk

Steel giant in court over employee’s burns in molten metal fire

Global steel firm, Tata, has been fined after three of its employees sustained serious burns after molten metal spilled onto the factory floor and ignited.

What happened?

Trainee crane operator, Kelvin Watts, had been operating an electric overhead crane whilst supervised by two experienced trainers when the incident happened in April 2013.

He had picked up a ladle containing 300 tonnes of molten metal using the crane, and had asked for confirmation that one of the hooks was properly connected to the ladle, as the crane’s camera system wasn’t working.

When he was advised that the hook wasn’t fully attached he stopped the crane – but the ladle dislodged, spilling the molten metal on the factory floor.

A fire then broke out within the room, causing the three men severe burns as they tried to escape to safety.

Mr Watts spent several days in hospital due to his injuries, and has since suffered repeated infections and has been unable to return to work.

Though his two colleagues were less severely burnt, they have not been able to face driving the cranes or entering the area since the incident occurred.

What was the outcome?

An investigation into the incident found that Tata Steel UK Ltd hadn’t taken satisfactory steps to ensure the safety of its workforce.

Not only had the crane’s camera system had not been broken for some time, the lighting cut out completely during the incident as did the control systems.

Additionally, training documents were ambiguous and instructions were not communicated to all drivers.
Tata Steel Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £11,190.

HSE Inspector, Joanne Carter, said:

“There was clear evidence at Tata Steel of poor maintenance,
inconsistent training and managers misunderstanding
the problems faced by operators.

“Given the potential consequences of a ladle holding 300 tonnes
of molten metal spilling its load onto the floor, control
measures should be watertight. The incident could
have been avoided had the safety measures
introduced afterwards been in place
at the time.”

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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Roofing firm fined after employee’s fall

One of the partners of a building and roofing company based in Plymouth has been fined after one of the firm’s employees fell nearly six metres sustaining multiple injuries.

What happened?

Przemyslaw Borkiewicz was walking across a roof while carrying out work at the Evans Halshaw garage. As he did, he stepped on and fell through one of several Perspex roof lights set into the roof, plunging almost six metres onto the ground below.

An investigation into the incident found that the 24-year-old was not provided with adequate safety equipment which could have prevented or lessened the impact of his fall.

Additionally the court heard that Jim Woodley, partner of the firm and supervisor for the work, had no roofing or working at height qualifications, and no measures had been taken to do the task safely – for example; placing boards with edge protection on the roof or using a cherry picker to do the job.

What was the outcome?

Mr Woodley, of Direct Property Service was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £5,517 in costs after pleading guilty to a breach of Work at Height regulations.

HSE Inspector, Helena Allum, said:

“Mr Borkiewicz suffered severe multiple injuries, including head injuries
and experienced great pain but was lucky not to
have lost his life in this incident.

“Falls from height are the biggest cause of workplace deaths and it’s
crucial that employers make sure work is properly planned,
appropriately supervised and that sufficient measures
are put in place to protect staff from the risks.

“There is no excuse for employers failing to safeguard
workers who have to work at height.”

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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Printing company in court after worker’s injuries

A printing firm has been prosecuted after an employee’s hand was caught in machinery.

What happened?

Eiron Atkins was attempting to start a rotary textile printer at Treforest Textiles. After the third failed attempt, thinking excess water had got into the machine, he took off one of the removable metal panels on the side of the printer in an effort to let air circulate and dry the machine.

As the 51-year-old crouched down to take a better look, he slipped and his hand was dragged into the belt of the printer. He lost parts of three fingers on his right hand and had to take ten weeks off work.

An investigation into the incident found that Treforest Textiles Ltd had failed to ensure that the work was carried out safely and had not implemented a satisfactory system to ensure workers’ safety against the moving belts once the side panels had been removed.

What was the outcome?

Treforest Textiles Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, and was fined £5000 and ordered to pay costs of £1184.

HSE Inspector, Simon Breen, said

“This incident could have been entirely prevented had Treforest Textiles
adequately guarded the machinery. As a result, Mr Atkins suffered
permanent significant injuries to his right hand.

“Companies must assess the safety of their machinery and ensure that
moving parts do not endanger their workers by
putting adequate guarding in place.”

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 putting workers’ safety at risk.

A manufacturer of flight simulator equipment for the aviation industry has been in court for using unsafe machinery.

What happened?

EDM Ltd has been prosecuted after a health and safety inspector found some of the equipment was missing guards during two separate visits to its factory, putting workers’ safety at risk.

After receiving an anonymous complaint in 2013, an inspector for the Health and Safety Executive visited the site and issued two improvement notices requiring guards to be fitted on two metalworking lathes.

The following year same inspector returned to the site and noticed that guards were missing on two other machines. This time Prohibition Notices were served to prevent them from being used until guards were fitted.

A further investigation found that there was no system in place to ensure machines were fitted with guards, and employees received no training on how to use guards, and supervision at the factory was poor.

What was the outcome?

EDM Ltd pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the safety of its employees by breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £2,332 in costs.
HSE Inspector, Emily Osborne, said:

“EDM Ltd manufactures equipment used to keep the aviation industry
safe but it failed to ensure the safety of its own employees.

“The Improvement Notices HSE issued in September 2013 should have
acted as a wake-up call to improve machine guards but I found
guards were still missing when I revisited
the factory nine months later.

“There was simply no point in the company identifying missing
guards in a health and safety document if it
wasn’t going to act on its findings.”

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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Merseyside sex abuse – ex-YMCA worker faces prison

A former Merseyside YMCA worker has been found guilty of sex attacks on three young boys dating back over 50 years.

Historic sex abuse

65-year-old William Westhead is facing prison after being found guilty of six counts of indecent assault against children.

The abuse took place from the mid-1960s to the early 1970s. Three victims, who were aged as young as eight at the time, gave evidence against Westhead in Court.

The jury heard that the incidents happened at campsites in Llangollen, Rhyl, Heswall and Tawd Vale, near Ormskirk, and unanimously found Westhead guilty of six of the seven charges against him.

Westhead, who was an assistant at the YMCA in Bootle, denied the allegations, but admitted to “snuggling up” with the boys when they all slept in sleeping bags in tents.

However, the prosecution successfully argued he molested one boy on multiple occasions at a North Wales farm between 1966 and 1970, when the boy was aged 8 to 11.

The jury also found him guilty molesting a second victim between 1967 and 1970 at Tawd Vale and in Heswall, as well as a third boy, aged 12, in Heswall between 1967 and 1968.

Taking action – advice and support from Hampson Hughes Solicitors

If you have experienced physical or sexual abuse, and you would like expert advice, we can help. Even if the abuse took place as long ago as the 1960’s or before, we will be able to give you advice.

Our experienced Criminal Injuries & Abuse Team can offer expert guidance and valuable support going forward, and 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

Inquiry into historic child sex abuse targets Rotherham and Westminster

The new chair of the historical child abuse inquiry, Lowell Goddard, has launched an investigation into the sexual abuse of 1,400 young girls in Rotherham alongside claims of an alleged Westminster VIP paedophile ring.

Sex abuse in Rotherham

Judge Goddard has launched the criminal inquiry after a report found that Rotherham city Council is ‘not fit for purpose’ and still ‘in denial’ about girls as young as 11 being left to be abused by a gang of Asian men between 1997 and 2013.

A previous investigation into the 16-year abuse scandal, where an estimate of 1400 girls were victims of the paedophile ring, found that Rotherham council had gone to ‘lengths to cover up information’, and South Yorkshire Police had turned a blind eye to the abuse.

Police were allegedly aware that one victim was ‘raped with a broken bottle’ and some girls were ‘ordered to kiss perpetrators’ feet at gun point’, yet failed to take action.

Historic child abuse in Westminster

In addition to the Rotherham scandal, Judge Goddard’s inquiry will investigate whether public bodies, including governments, charities, the Church and BBC, failed to protect children across Britain.

Allegations of at least five paedophile rings operating at the heart of Westminster in the 1970s and 1980s are currently under scrutiny, and a dossier submitted by Labour MP John Mann has named 22 politicians who may be linked to historical child abuse.

Judge Goddard told the BBC’s Today programme that the inquiry:

“Will be focused on not only the past experience of survivors but also
on current situations such as this Rotherham report I am reading
about and also about how we protect for the future and
make sure these terrible abuses do not occur again.”

Taking action – advice and support from Hampson Hughes Solicitors

If you have experienced physical or sexual abuse in relation to either the Rotherham report or Westminster allegations, and you would like expert advice, we can help.

Our experienced Criminal Injuries & Abuse Team can offer expert guidance and valuable support going forward, and 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

Theme park in court after 8-year-old is injured

Twin Lakes Park, near Melton Mowbray, has been prosecuted after an eight-year-old boy broke his leg on one of the rides.

What happened?

The child from Derby was on a spinning barrel ride with his parents when his shoelace became tangled in a bolt, twisting and trapping his left foot.

As a result he had to have his leg straightened, leaving him in a heavy cast from his thigh to his toes.

He was bedridden for eight weeks, and during the months that it took for his leg to heal he required 24 hour care.

An investigation into the incident found that the bolt was protruding from the base of the column which holds the central disc that riders turn to make the barrel spin.

BB & B Leisure Parks Ltd, which owns the theme park, had attempted to cover up the bolt head by wrapping self-adhesive tape around the pole, but this was often worn down by rubbing against people’s shoes as they used the ride.

Though staff did carry out daily checks on the condition of the tape, it could wear through very quickly as it was too soft and flexible.

What was the outcome?

BB & B Leisure Parks Ltd was fined £13,500 and ordered to pay costs of £30,000 after pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Speaking about the incident, HSE inspector Neil Ward, said:

“BB & B Leisure Parks should have tackled this risk far more
robustly than they did. Fairgrounds and their individual
rides contain a lot of machinery and therefore
potentially significant risks.

“There can be no scope for anything less than 100 per cent safety,
particularly when so many people and children will
in constant and close contact with the rides.

“The company should have found a better solution – which it did after
the incident. It had some smooth plastic collars made which fit
over the bolts so that there isn’t an entanglement risk, and
that are sufficiently robust that they won’t
wear through quickly.

“It was a simple, low-cost measure that could have prevented a
painful injury to a young boy enjoying his birthday.”

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

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Gardening company in court after employee suffers burns

A gardening firm in Chester has been prosecuted after one of its workers suffered burns while lighting a pile of giant hogweed.

What happened?

The 31-year-old employee had been working alongside Greenstripe Ltd’s operations manager to clear grass and giant hogweed from scrubland in Chester.

A few days later the two returned to the site where the employee was instructed to pour petrol onto the pile of waste vegetation, and use a cigarette lighter to set it on fire.

As he did so, there was an explosion and he was thrown to the ground. He sustained serious burns to his throat, face, body, arms and hands.

An investigation into the incident found that the hogweed could have been taken to a licensed waste site, rather than being burnt, and the firm had failed to carry out a risk assessment for the work.

What was the outcome?

Greenstripe Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £23,000 and ordered to pay £9,682 in prosecution costs.

After the hearing HSE Inspector, Deborah Walker, said:

“A worker has suffered burns that may affect him for the rest of
his life because his employer failed to ensure his safety.

“He should never have been told to pour petrol over the weeds and
then to light them but Greenstripe didn’t consider that this
practice might be dangerous.

“There was absolutely no need for the vegetation to be disposed of
in this way, putting the lives of workers in danger. It could
easily have been taken to a nearby waste site without
the risk of employees being injured.”

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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