Month: March 2015

Care Home owner in court after death of vulnerable patient

A healthcare company and its director have been ordered to pay over £335,000 in fines and costs after an elderly resident died after she fell from a hoist at a former Bedfordshire care home.

What happened?

100-year-old, May Ward, was being moved by carers using a hoist at Meppershall Care Home. She fell out of the hoist and sustained multiple fractures including her skull, knee and hip. She was rushed to hospital but, sadly, died the following day as a result of her injuries.

An investigation into the incident found that the hoist used to move Mrs Ward was difficult to fit correctly, and the carers hadn’t been given sufficient training in how to safely use the sling. Additionally, the sling wasn’t the spec recommended by Central Bedfordshire Council as being suitable for Mrs Ward’s medical conditions – she was therefore not securely positioned within the sling and when she moved herself forwards, she fell out, hitting the floor.

Safety breaches

The court heard that Meppershall had a history of serious safety breaches, and had received five Improvement Notices over three months relating to deficiencies in resident handling, risk assessment, other risks to residents and a lack of competent health and safety advice.

Mrs Ward’s fatal fall also brought to light another incident at the home, with another resident fracturing a tibia and fibula after falling whilst being moved from her wheelchair to her armchair. This incident had not been reported to the Health and Safety Executive.

GA Projects Limited owned three care homes at the time of May Ward’s death, however, there was no evidence that the director of the firm had taken steps to fulfil his health and safety obligations through the provision of training, or the management of the risks most commonly associated with the care industry.
The court also heard that the Care Quality Commission (CQC) had carried out inspections at the home on several occasions prior to the incident, all of which resulted in ‘poor’ or ‘adequate’ ratings.

What was the outcome?

GA Projects Ltd was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay costs of £36,992.24, after pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

The director of the company, Mohammed Zarook, was fined £150,000 and ordered to pay costs of £100,000 after also pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Emma Page, said:

“Mrs Ward’s death was a wholly preventable tragedy caused by
unacceptable management failings on the part of GA
Projects Ltd and Mr Zarook. They put vulnerable
residents at the care home at unnecessary risk.

“Working in a care home is a specialised job, which involves dealing with
vulnerable people. Care homes must ensure that they have the correct
training in place for all their employees, and that they work
to adequately assess and mitigate all possible risks,
so far as is reasonably practicable.

“Moving and handling is a particularly important issue in the healthcare
sector and every year vulnerable people suffer injuries caused
by poor moving and handling practice.”

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

Firm in court after worker’s fall

A Southport-based firm has been fined after one of its employees suffered serious injuries when he fell from a bungalow roof.

What happened?

The 60-year-old had been asked to repair a broken ridge tile on the roof of a bungalow.

Using his ladder to climb onto the flat roof of the conservatory at the back of the property, he then pulled the ladder up onto the conservatory roof in order to reach the tile at the top of the bungalow. In doing so, he fell four metres onto the ground below and was found by the tenant, who called for an ambulance.

He fractured his back and skull, broke several ribs and had to stay in the high dependency unit at the hospital for a week before being transferred to a normal ward. He was off work for a total of 19 weeks as a result of his injuries.

An investigation into the incident found that the work on the roof had not been planned or supervised and the worker had not been given suitable equipment, such as scaffolding or a harness.

In addition to this, the firm also failed to report the incident to HSE despite this being a legal requirement when workers suffer a serious injury.

What was the outcome?

Instruments & Gauges Electronics Ltd, pleaded guilty to breaching the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013, and was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £961 in prosecution costs.

HSE Inspector Jackie Western said:

“One of the company’s employees has suffered serious injuries that may
well affect him for the rest of his life because his employer
ignored its legal duty to make sure he stayed safe.

“Falls from height are the most common cause of deaths and serious injuries
in the construction industry. The work to repair the ridge tile should
have been planned properly but instead the employee was allowed
to climb up to the roof without suitable equipment.

“Instruments & Gauges Electronics should have made sure the work was
carried out safely or, better still, hired a specialist
roofing firm that knew what it was doing.”

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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Hampson Hughes Solicitors among top 1,000 companies to ‘inspire Britain’

Hampson Hughes Solicitors has been identified as one of the UK’s fasted-growing and most dynamic small-medium sized businesses.

The Liverpool based law firm was celebrated in the London Stock Exchange’s Top 1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain.

The company’s inclusion in the landmark business report comes as the firm celebrates its sixth year in business.

The firm has grown phenomenally in that time; from humble beginnings above a double glazing shop in Woolton Village to the stunning Grade 1 listed Edward Pavilion Building located at the historic Albert Dock.

It’s a phenomenal success story which began with the Joint Managing Partners, Paul Hampson and John Hughes, who started the business, aged just 28.

The lifelong friends, who met in primary school, now employ over 200 staff at the no win no fee personal injury law firm.

Commenting on the news Paul Hampson, said: “To be named as a ‘shining example of great British SMEs’ is a fantastic accolade and is testament to the hard work and determination of the staff at Hampson Hughes Solicitors.”

John Hughes added: “There are 4.5 million SME’s in the UK so to be identified amongst a subset of notable fast-growing and dynamic businesses is great news, which we’re extremely proud of.”

This latest accolade is one of a long list of kite marks Hampson Hughes Solicitors has received in recent months.

The firm recently gained the WorldHost customer care status; re-attained it Employee Wellbeing Charter and gained Investors in People Gold to name just a few.

Lawyer left infertile by botched NHS surgery told that infertility helped her career

Sarah Marquis, who was left infertile after a hospital failed to spot her burst appendix, has been told she is due less compensation as having children may have stalled her career as a lawyer.

NHS negligence

The 41-year-old was admitted to Homerton Hospital in 2008 after visiting her GP for abdominal pains.

She was treated with painkillers, but no emergency action was taken for three days until surgeons eventually realised that she needed to have her appendix removed.

By that time, the organ had become perforated and gangrenous, which caused a serious abdominal infection, ending any hopes Ms Marquis had of naturally conceiving a child with her partner.

Cara Guthrie, acting for Ms Marquis, said:

“Had it not been for the negligence of the defendants, Ms Marquis’
appendix would not have perforated.”

In addition to rendering her infertile, Ms Marquis told the High Court that she required three and a half years off work due to sustained medical issues, ruining her chances to fulfill her career potential.

Reduced compensation

Ms Marquis, who was earning £85,000 with the City law firm DLA Piper at the time, is suing the NHS for £1.5 million.

However, though since admitting liability for her injuries and apologising, lawyers acting for Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust have insisted that she should receive less compensation because had she remained fertile, her career would have been negatively affected by having children.

Bradley Martin, for the trust, told the High Court that her burning desire for a family would have overridden her desire to advance her career.

He added that looking after children would have stunted her career trajectory.

Ms Marquis has since begun IVF treatment, though this has been unsuccessful thus far.

Both parties are still awaiting judgement.

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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Kayak company found guilty of corporate manslaughter

Kayak makers, Pyranha Mouldings Ltd, have been convicted of corporate manslaughter and fined £200,000 after a 54-year-old man burned to death in an industrial oven.

What happened?

Alan Catterall was killed inside an oven designed for moulding plastic kayaks during an industrial accident in December 2010.

An investigation into the tragic accident found that there had been a problem with the oven, causing it to be switched off. However, shortly before it was to be turned back on, Mr Catterall climbed in, possibly to clean up a spillage.

Unaware that the father-of-three was inside, a co-worker, who was also the partner of Mr Catterall’s daughter, turned the machine back on which automatically locked the doors.

The oven was not in the line of sight of the operator, and had no integrated escape hatch or alarm, so no one could have known he was there. It is understood that the 54-year-old suffered severe burns in temperatures which could have reached 280C and subsequently died of shock.

His body was found at the door, still in the position in which he had desperately tried to prise his way out with a tool.

Corporate Manslaughter

Pyranha Mouldings Ltd was today handed a £200,000 fine after being found guilty of gross negligence manslaughter and health and safety breaches.

In addition to this, the firm’s technical director, Peter Mackereth, was fined £25,000 and given suspended sentence for health and safety breaches.

The judge said there was no mechanism to prevent someone being locked in and no thought had been given to that risk.

He said to 60-year-old Mackereth:

“You don’t need me to tell you how far short of your duty you fell.

“It was repeatedly brought home to you in the trial. You will have to live
with the consequences of your actions for the rest of your life.”

As well as his fine, Mackereth was sentenced to nine months’ jail, suspended for two years.

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Paul Hampson is running the Liverpool Half Marathon

Paul Hampson is dusting off his running shoes and entering the Liverpool Half Marathon this weekend to raise vital funds for the Hampson Hughes Charitable Foundation.

The Hampson Hughes Charitable Foundation supports charities that assist those in need as a result of youth, age, ill health, disability or financial hardship.

Money will be raised by the firm’s work force through a series of fundraising activities which include payroll giving; charity challenges and fundraising drives such as dress down days and charity events.

In 2015 the proceeds will go to two nominated charities, which were put forward and voted on by staff and the trustees.

These are the Whitechapel Centre and Amputees and Carers Support in Liverpool.

You can support Paul and these wonderful charities here.

School in court after pupil’s life-threatening injuries

A boys’ school in Kent has been prosecuted after a 14-year-old boy sustained serious injuries when he was hit by a shot put thrown by another pupil.

What happened?

The boy was standing at the edge of the shot put landing zone, watching a friend’s throw, when he was hit on the back of his head by a shot during a PE lesson.

He needed emergency brain surgery on a fractured skull and sustained life-threatening injuries. He remained in hospital for over a month but has since returned to school, despite having a permanent indentation at the base of his skull.

An investigation into the incident found that, although the school had carried out a risk assessment for PE lessons and had referenced the guidance by the Association for Physical Education, it had failed to follow their recommendation that such lessons be restricted to a maximum of four sports with only one to be a throwing event.

Instead, the school had included six sports with three throwing events, which had significantly increased the risks to pupils, as had the proximity of the triple jump pit to the shot put landing zone.

What was the outcome?

The Governing Body of The Judd School, admitted to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £1,375 in costs.

HSE inspector, Kevin Golding, said:

“By not adopting the measures identified in their own risk assessment,
The Judd School put pupils at serious risk leading to a 14-year-old
boy being struck by a shot put and suffering life-threatening
injuries. It was a horrifying incident for him and his
family and, of course, the rest of the pupils
and the school itself.

“While he is thankfully back at school, he will have to live with the
consequences of the incident for the rest of his life.

“It is vitally important that schools review their risk assessments
for all PE lessons, but in particular for multi-sports lessons,
to check that they are safe.”

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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£500,000 fine for transport company after worker’s horrific injuries

A transport firm in Cheshire has landed in court after one of its employees sustained horrific injuries when she was crushed between two lorries.

What happened?

Mrs Rose had been acting as a banksman, assisting a lorry driver to reverse park on a slope. As she was doing so the driver decoupled his trailer without engaging its parking brake, causing it to roll back and trap her between the two vehicles.

The 38-year-old suffered a punctured lung, 13 broken bones in her back, shoulders and ribs, a cardiac arrest and was in intensive care for ten days. She was left with head injuries, impaired vision and she required a tracheotomy – she also, needed to wear a body brace for four months and was confined to a wheelchair for some months although has since regained some mobility.

The court heard that Mrs Rose, who has a young son, was lucky to be alive after the accident.

An investigation into the incident found that TIP Trailer Services regularly allowed vehicles to park on a slope without the provision of chocks or similar devices. In addition to this, the company had no monitoring system to check whether drivers were applying their handbrakes properly.

What was the outcome?

TIP Europe Ltd was fined a total of £500,000 and ordered to pay a further £56,938 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and.
HSE inspector, Elizabeth Hornsby, said:

“Mrs Rose suffered severe life-changing injuries. Her family was told
she would not survive the night but due to her level of physical
fitness and her sheer determination she has fought back and
is now on the road to recovery.

“It was common practice for drivers to park on a slope within the
compound, which should never have been allowed as it was
inevitable that sooner or later a driver would fail to
put on their handbrake. This totally avoidable
incident could and should have been prevented
with nothing more than common sense.”

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 metal sheet severs employee’s toes

An engineering company has landed in court after one of its workers was left disabled when a metal sheet landed on his feet, severing three toes from one and breaking all the toes on the other.

What happened?

Anton Hunter, an engineer with G&P Machine Shop Ltd, was unloading fabricated steel sheets with a colleague at the firm’s site. As he was doing so, a 700kg sheet fell directly onto his feet after becoming dislodged from a magnet.

The sheet sliced his big toe and two other toes on his right foot off, and he sustained fractures to all the toes on his left foot. He later had to have the second toe on the left foot amputated, after his big toe shifted position following surgery. He has since returned to work, but this is in a reduced capacity as he is still regaining his walking skills.

An investigation into the incident found that the company had failed to check that the magnet used was the correct one for the job.

The 20-year-old and his colleague had unloaded two smaller metal sheets successfully, but a third had become detached from the magnet and fallen. Thinking that the failure was because of cloth around the magnet, they removed it and started to unload the larger sheets.

The court heard that the magnet, which had been on hire to G&P Machine Shop for a month, was not suitable for the size and weight of any of the sheets being moved.

What was the outcome?

G&P Machine Shop Ltd admitted to breaching the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, and was fined £16,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,036.

HSE inspector, Rob Hassell, said:

“Anton Hunter, a young engineer, had his life put on hold after suffering
a debilitating injury that may impair his ability to
walk for the foreseeable future.

“The incident could have been prevented if G&P Machine Shop had carried
out suitable checks to ensure the lift was within the operating
capacities of the magnet. Instead, it seems that in an
attempt to improve deliveries, an entirely
inappropriate piece of lifting
equipment was chosen.

“Companies should ensure the equipment they want to use is fit for its
intended purpose. Manuals for lifting devices are available to
download or direct from the makers. The safe working load
(SWL) of lifting equipment is a maximum capacity in
optimum conditions – any deviation needs
to be investigated and tested.”

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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Tower Bridge accident – lift firm in court

A firm has been charged £100,000 in both fines and costs, after a number of people were left with broken legs and ankles when Tower Bridge lift fell several metres into a service pit due to vital mechanism failure.

What happened?

A lift car carrying tourists to the Tower Bridge Exhibition dropped three metres down the shaft after a counterweight mechanism failed. The car, carrying ten people including an elderly couple and a young family, ended up in a pit below the ground floor lift entrance.

Four passengers sustained bone fractures and the other six were treated for shock as walking wounded.
An investigation into the incident identified failures linked to the maintenance of two refurbished lifts at Tower Bridge.

The court heard that that there had been a number of historic component failures in the counterweight mechanism on two separate lifts at the attraction prior to the incident. However, these components had simply been replaced without a proper review and investigation to understand the issue.

What was the outcome?

Temple Lifts Ltd pleaded guilty to two charges of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay £50,000 in costs.
HSE Inspector, Michael La Rose, said:

“This was a truly disturbing incident that affected a number of people
and that could have resulted in even greater injuries.

“It is vital that lifts are properly maintained, and that urgent action
is taken if any possible issues or concerns are identified. There
were warning signs here that were seemingly overlooked, and
missed opportunities to properly rectify recurring faults.

“Temple Lifts could and should have done more to ensure the lift was
properly maintained, and there were clear failings in this regard.”

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