Month: May 2015

Child abuse – politician and Staffordshire Police scandal

An unnamed male politician is at the centre of a police investigation following allegations of child abuse. A judge and a Lord may also be connected to the crimes, and several members of the Staffordshire Police Force stand accused of facilitating and ‘joining in with’ the abuse.

Staffordshire abuse scandal – 1980s & 1990s

Esther Baker, 32, has waived the right to anonymity in an appeal for anybody who may be holding information regarding her alleged abusers to come forward, saying “… every one of us that comes forward will hold a different piece of the puzzle. I can’t fill it in on my own.”

In an interview with Sky News, Ms Baker stated that she was subjected to sexual abuse over a four year period during the 80s and 90s. She claims that the abuse took place in various locations across Staffordshire, including a wooded area called Cannock Chase.

Politician, authority figures, and Staffordshire Police Force implicated

Ms Baker recalls that from the age of six she experienced sexual abuse at the hands of different men operating as part of a paedophile ring. She says that other children of around the same age were often present and that sometimes the children were given alcohol. However, she never spoke to any of the other children, and she does not claim to know “who brought them”.

In relation to the politician at the centre of the scandal, Ms Baker says:

“I would know that face anywhere. I have lived with it and others in
my head for over 20 years, I know every inch of him.”

“I used to play the piano, and he was quite taken with that
… there were different houses.”

“I would sit on his lap and he would want me to play.”

In relation so the authority figures, Ms Baker says:

“I don’t quite know how to explain. I was brought up in a religious
household and one thing that kept me so sure that what they
were doing was right was that there were references
to people, Lords and a judge.

“I picked up on those names, because I thought one of them must
have been God because one of them was ‘Our Lord’.

“I just thought that they were on God’s authority.”

In relation to the Staffordshire Police Force, Ms Baker says:

“I got the feeling very much that they [the police] were protecting
somebody, that they were with one of the men.

“One of them [a police officer] I knew from church. There were a few
occasions where they would be in uniform, and I kind of knew,
I learnt that when they were in uniform that it was
going to be a rough night.

“There was one that I can remember, one of the times I tried to run
away and tried to get away from them and he came after me,
caught up with me and he was carrying me back to where
the rest of them were and he said he was sorry”

Staffordshire abuse – appeal for information

Ms Baker, who now resides in Liverpool, has so far provided over 33 hours of testimony:

“I’ve spoken out because I hope witnesses will come forward.”

“I know they are terrified to come forward, I know what they were told,
I know what threats were made and I know why they are scared.”

The politician at the centre of the scandal is thought to still be alive, but cannot be named for legal reasons.

Politician and Staffordshire Police scandal – expert help

If you believe that you may have valuable information regarding the ongoing ‘politician and Staffordshire Police child abuse scandal’, and if you would like expert advice and support, we can help. Our experienced team of solicitors specialises in providing valuable guidance in cases of abuse.

For further information, and to discover how we could help you, please call 0800 888 6 888, or email info@hh-law.co.uk

Sources:

sky.com
sky.com
theguardian.com

The Safety of Britain’s Maternity Units – How safe is it to have a baby in the UK?

A midwife accused of a catalogue of failures which contributed to the deaths of two babies at Furness General Hospital, part of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, was struck off last week.

The probe into Furness General Hospital in Cumbria uncovered NHS failures at every level between 2004 and 2013, which resulted in the deaths of several mothers and newborn babies. The death of Joshua Titcombe and a suppressed report by Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust raised concern about Furness General Hospital in 2011 when investigations began.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) panel has now formally released their findings to the public in relation to the conduct of Mrs Marie Ratcliffe. Mrs Ratcliffe was employed as a midwife at Furness General Hospital’s disgraced maternity unit, where 11 babies have been judged to have died unnecessarily. The former midwife accepted 68 charges relating to 14 patients.

Mr Gary Leong, chair of the NMC panel, commented that Mrs Radcliffe’s “conduct was a very significant departure from standards expected of a midwife.”

Mrs Ratcliffe was present at the births of both Elleanor Bennett, who died aged just a day old in 2004, and Alex Davey-Brady, who was stillborn in 2008. Mr Leong revealed that “her contribution to the deaths of the babies amounts to serious misconduct.”

In a summary, the NMC said: “The tragic events at the Trust led to two independent reports and a significant review of midwifery regulation, and particularly the role of midwifery supervision. We are now seeking the urgent change to our legislation to enable us to deal with cases like this more quickly and to remove supervision from our remit and to give us direct control of regulatory decisions affecting midwives.”

In Britain there are 4 still born/neo-natal deaths in every 2000 births. The Royal College of midwives recommends that all new mothers should have one-to-one care with a midwife, in reality this is not always possible.

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

Medical manufacturer fined after two workers sustained hand injuries

A West Sussex firm that manufactures medical equipment has landed in court after two of its workers were injured by dangerous parts of machinery.

What happened?

In 2011 one of the firm’s employees was left with a fractured finger after he attempted to make adjustments to material on a lamination line. His hand was pulled between two rollers because there was no guarding in place to prevent him from accessing the moving parts.

The firm was served with two improvement notices requiring action to be taken to ensure that the standards of guarding around potentially dangerous machines were raised to an acceptable level.

However, in 2013 a second worker sustained bruising and cuts to her hand after she trapped it between a fixed and a moving part while trying to clear a blockage.

The Health and Safety Executive found that interlocks on the machine had been overridden, which had become common practice at Welland Medical and was effectively endorsed by the company.

What was the outcome?

Welland Medical Ltd admitted two breaches of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, and was fined a total of £8,000 and ordered to pay £6,820 in costs.

HSE inspector Stephen Green said:

“Although the injuries sustained to these workers were relatively minor,
they could have been much worse. This type of incident is still far
too common despite the fact that workers have lost limbs, been
disabled and, in the most severe cases, even lost their life
because of inadequate or missing guarding.

“Both incidents were easily avoidable. Guards had been removed on the
first occasion and interlocked guards were overridden in the second.
Taking guarding away from machines or overriding systems to allow
access to dangerous parts should be only carried out with
considerable planning and with alternative safe systems
of work in place to protect workers. It must not be
routine, as was the case here.”

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

Source: View article

Firm in court for safety failings after two workers injured

A company that manufactures medical equipment has been in court after two of its employees were injured by dangerous parts of machinery in separate incidents at the firm’s premises.

What happened?

The first incident left one of the workers with a fractured finger after his hand was pulled between two rollers on a lamination line because there was no guarding in place to prevent him from accessing the moving parts.

The company was served with two improvement notices from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), requiring the company to take action to ensure the standards of guarding around potentially dangerous machines were raised to an acceptable level as a result.

Despite this, another worker suffered cuts and bruising to her hand when she trapped it between a fixed and a moving part while trying to clear a blockage.

Interlocks on the machine had been overridden, which the HSE found had become common practice at the firm and was effectively endorsed by the company.

An investigation found that both incidents occurred because of guarding failures on machines.

What was the outcome?

Welland Medical Ltd admitted two breaches of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, and was fined a total of £8,000 and ordered to pay £6,820 in costs.

HSE inspector, Stephen Green, said:

“Although the injuries sustained to these workers were relatively minor, they
could have been much worse. This type of incident is still far too common
despite the fact that workers have lost limbs, been disabled and,
in the most severe cases, even lost their life because
of inadequate or missing guarding.

“Both incidents were easily avoidable. Guards had been removed on the first
occasion and interlocked guards were overridden in the second. Taking
guarding away from machines or overriding systems to allow access
to dangerous parts should be only carried out with considerable
planning and with alternative safe systems of work in place
to protect workers. It must not be routine,
as was the case here.”

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

Source: View article

Fair ride owner in court after young girl flung from ride

The owner/operator of a fair ride has been sentenced after a nine-year-old girl was thrown from the carriage as the ride was in motion.

What happened?

The youngster was flung from the Twister ride when the safety bar flew open. She was slammed into a metal safety barrier and sustained severe internal bruising, was off school for two weeks and not able to join in PE lessons until the following term.

An investigation into the incident found that the ride was operating 50 per cent faster than its maximum design speed of 11 rpm which increased the ejection force on the riders. Additionally, the secondary locks for the safety bars, which keep riders in their cars, were not in use.

The owner and operator of the ride, Patrick McGeough, was served with a Prohibition Notice and a direction to leave undisturbed was served preventing the ride’s further use until it had been inspected and faults rectified. An Improvement Notice was also served requiring Mr McGeough to fit a means to ensure the ride could not be operated beyond its safe maximum speed. Both Notices were complied with.

What was the outcome?

Patrick McGeough was fined £1500 and ordered to pay costs of £1500, after admitting to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc act 1974.

HSE inspector, Neil Ward, said:

“Members of the public quite rightly expect fair rides to be safe.
This one was not and it led to a traumatic incident
for a young girl and her family.

“The incident could however easily have been prevented. Operating the ride
beyond the speed it was designed to be run at, and without the
secondary locks in place was a recipe for disaster.

“Patrick McGeough had a duty to ensure his customers were kept safe on
the ride but he failed in that duty.”

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

Source: View article

Carpet firm fined after worker crushed by wall

A carpet firm from Littleborough has landed in court after one of its workers sustained severe injuries after a concrete wall collapsed onto him.

What happened?

West Pennine Carpets Ltd had hired a contractor to build two walls using concrete blocks. The company relied on verbal assurances from the builder that the walls would be strong enough to withstand the force from the carpets stored between them.

Two weeks later one of the firm’s employees, Arron Ridings, reported that one of the walls was leaning by several inches. The company’s director asked workers to remove around half the carpets stacked against the wall but no further action was taken.

A few weeks later, around 375 square metres of carpet rolls were delivered to the firm’s headquarters and were stored between the walls, filling the gap. Workers were helping to load empty cardboard tubes into a van later in the day when one of the walls collapsed pinning Mr Ridings to the floor.

The 39-year-old broke his leg, back, pelvis and hip. He required a wheelchair for eight weeks, was on crutches for seven months, and his injuries are likely to affect him for the rest of his life.

An investigation into the incident found that the wall had not been designed to cope with the weight of dozens of carpet rolls stacked up against it.

What was the outcome?

West Pennine Carpets Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £16,500 and ordered to pay £10,000 in prosecution costs.

After the hearing HSE Inspector, Ian Betley, said:

“This was an easily preventable incident which will have an impact on
one of West Pennine Carpets’ employees for the rest of his life.
It is unlikely Arron will ever be able to return to manual work.

“The firm should have carried out detailed design calculations, or sought
advice from an independent structural engineer, before allowing the
work to build the new walls to go ahead.

“The company should also have taken action to improve the stability of the
walls when one of them started to lean, rather than temporarily
removing some of the carpet rolls. If this had happened then
the terrible injuries Arron suffered could
have been avoided.”

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

Source: View article

U2’s The Edge’s accident at work

An accident at work can happen at any time. Though, if it happened to you, you’d hope that it wouldn’t be in front of over 18,000 people. Unfortunately, this is exactly what happened to U2 guitarist, The Edge, when he fell off the stage during the opening night of the band’s world tour.

The group were performing their encore at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver when the 53-year-old took a tumble. He later posted a picture of his grazed arm on Instagram saying:

“Didn’t see the edge, I’m ok!”

Accident at work – do you know your rights?

While The Edge’s pride may have been dented, he wasn’t badly 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

£13m compensation awarded to brain-damaged boy

An 11-year-old boy who suffered severe brain damage after his birth has received a compensation package of £13m to cover a lifetime of care and support.

What happened?

The young boy, who cannot be identified, has the ‘mind of a six-year-old’ – with no prospect of improvement – and needs constant care after his abnormally low sugar levels were not treated during his birth.

As well as a severe learning disability and profound behavioural issues, the boy is blind with weakness down his left side, and has speech problems. Despite his problems, however, he has been described as an “incredibly happy and lovely boy” who enjoys weekly outings to go swimming, bowling, or to McDonald’s.

NHS compensation

Walsall Hospitals NHS trust was ordered to pay a lump sum of £1.45m and annual index-linked payments of £88,000 until the boy is 16, then £120,000 until he is 20 and £145,000 a year from then on.

Payments will also be made to cover physiotherapy, occupational therapy, additional holiday costs and loss of earnings.

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

Source: View article

NHS trust fined after worker’s burns

Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has been in court after one of its employees suffered burns whilst stripping down a steam boiler.

What happened?

A maintenance worker at Kettering General Hospital had been stripping down a steam boiler for periodic examination. He was removing the crown valve from one of the steam boilers, however the system only had one point of isolation, rather than two, and this single point did not prevent steam leaking back into the section of the system he was working on. Because of this, he received serious steam burn injuries to the lower half of his body.

An investigation into the incident found that Kettering General Hospital had no system for assessing and controlling the risks that their employees may be exposed to. The Trust did not know what training their maintenance employees had received and they were not under suitable supervision whilst working there.

What was the outcome?

The NHS Foundation Trust pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, and was fined £7,000 with full costs of £1,926 and a victim surcharge of £15.

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

Source: View article

Baxters fined after worker’s hand pulled into machinery

The major food manufacturing firm, Baxters, has landed in court for serious safety failings after one of its employees got his hand caught between a conveyor belt and roller.

What happened?

Kayode Ezekiel Ogundele had been working as a general operative on a newly-installed Fray Bentos line, when his hand was dragged into the gap between the moving conveyor and a newly-installed roller.

Realising that he was unable to remove his hand or stop the conveyor, a passing forklift truck driver came to Mr Ogundele’s assistance – but he had already suffered injuries to three fingers on his hand.

He was off work for a month because of his injuries, and still suffers pains in his hand and has very limited movement.

An investigation into the incident found that though some of the risks of the new line had been assessed, Baxters had failed to identify the need for further assessments once it had been fully installed.

Additionally, Mr Ogundele had been given a basic induction and health and safety briefing when he started work, but hadn’t been instructed on the specific machinery he was operating.

Following Mr Ogundele’s injuries a full assessment of risks of the line was carried out, identifying other potential nip points where additional guarding was required, and a tunnel guard was fitted along with pop-up rollers.

What was the outcome?

Baxters Food Group Ltd, pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Provision and Use or Work Equipment Regulations 1998, and was fined a total of £6000.

HSE Inspector Penny Falconer said:

“This was an entirely avoidable incident. The dangers of nip points,
or the gaps between a moving belt and a stationary part of
a machine, are well-known in the industry.

“Baxter Food Group Limited should have carried out a full assessment
of the risks to workers of the new production line. That would
have identified what needed to be done and the company could
have taken the right action by introducing guards and
other safety measures where necessary.

“As a result of the company’s failings, Mr Ogundele suffered injuries
to his left hand which still cause him problems.”

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

Source: View article