Month: July 2015

Oil Giant Fined £1.4m after death of worker in refinery fire

Total UK Ltd has been fined £1.4 million and has been ordered to pay costs of £34,084.05 by Hull Crown Court. The case resulted from the death of an employee in a major fire in the Lindsay Oil Refinery in North Lincolnshire in 2010.

Ben Greenacre, 24, was a contracted fitter tasked with opening equipment beneath a distillation column containing hot crude oil. The crude oil was released and ignited shortly after, starting a large fire. A colleague who had been working with him was able to escape with minor burns, but Mr Greenacre could not get away and was killed.

The court heard that operators of major accident hazard establishments must have in place a functioning system of risk assessment for all tasks where hazardous substances could be released. High Court Judge Mrs Justice McGowan said the failings were “substantial, obvious, and avoidable”.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector John Moran said:

“If Total had followed well established principles of risk assessment this major fire and the subsequent fatal injury to Robert Greenacre could have been easily prevented (…)

“This tragic incident should serve as a reminder to all such operators that if they fail to assess the risks associated with even simple and routine maintenance tasks, the consequences can be severe, and irreparable to the people involved and their families”

If you have been affected by the issues in this article or by any accident at work, we can help you to understand all of your options. Remember, we offer you a FREE no-obligation consultation. For further information, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email info@hh-law.co.uk

Source: Health and Safety Executive

HSE fatal injury statistics

The Health and Safety Executive has released figures for fatal injuries in the workplace for the year 14/15.
HSE gives a provisional figure of 142 workers fatally injured in 2014/15. This is a slight increase on the number for 2013/14, which was finalised at 136.
There has been a general downward trend in the rate of fatal injury over the last 20 years, although the trend has become less clear since 2008/09.
HSE is now 40 years old and has existed since the passing of the Health and Safety at Work Act in 1974. The act is the primary piece of legislation covering occupational health and safety in Great Britain.

“It is 40 years since the Health and Safety at Work Act received Royal Assent, providing a new regulatory framework for work place health and safety in Great Britain. This has helped make Britain one of the safest places in the world to work, saving thousands of lives, preventing many more injuries at work and reducing the economic and social costs of health and safety failures.”

To access the full statistics for fatal injuries in 2014/15, please see HSE fatal injury statistics.

If you have been affected by a workplace fatality, contact the team at Hampson Hughes Solicitors on 0800 888 6888, or email claims@hampsonhughes.com for expert advice.

Source: http://www.hse.gov.uk/aboutus/index.htm

Is it safe to turn off the lights?

A recent study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health has shown that turning out or dimming street lights at night does not necessarily lead to an increase in crime or road accidents.

The study was undertaken in the wake of a claim made by the Labour Party that much of Britain was being “plunged into darkness” due to spending cuts by councils. According to Labour research, 106 of 141 councils in England were either switching off or dimming street lights at night as a result of spending cuts.

However, the findings of the latest study did not indicate an increase in road accidents or crimes that are more likely to occur at night in the dark (such as burglary, vehicle theft, robbery, violence, and sexual assault) since councils began to cut back on street lighting.

The lead investigator of the study, Phil Edwards, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, stated:

“The simple conclusion from our study is that we didn’t find any
evidence for an increase in road casualties or crime
in the 25,000km of roads we looked at.

“It doesn’t mean we can just turn street lights off at midnight
all over the country because some roads are more risky
than others, but risk assessments are already
made before the lighting is changed.”

However, the results could be misleading. Of the 174 local authorities asked to provide data, only 62 responded. Researchers acknowledge that the findings may have been biased in favour of the one third of councils that replied to the survey.

Kevin McConway, professor of applied statistics at the Open University, urged caution regarding policies and future cuts:

“The data don’t allow much to be said about exactly how to consider
the risks, or about how much scope there is for further safe
reductions beyond those already made. It’s not a blank
cheque for further turn-offs and dimmings.”

If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article, such as a road accident in the dark, please contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email claims@hampsonhughes.com for expert advice.

Source: Independent

Girl, 6, seriously injured in dog attack

A six year old girl had to be airlifted to hospital in Etruria, Stoke-on-Trent, North Staffordshire, earlier this month after she was reportedly bitten in the face several times by a dog.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokeswoman told AOL online:

“Crews arrived to find a six-year-old girl who had sustained multiple bite
wounds to her face after reportedly being attacked by a dog.

“The girl, who was understandably upset, was given pain relief to help
ease her discomfort before ambulance staff assessed her
nasty wounds and carefully applied dressings.”

The young girl is in a serious but stable condition after receiving emergency care and surgery.

According to local police, the attack involved a Staffordshire bull terrier and occurred in the garden of the property to which the emergency services were called. A police spokesperson has stated, ‘The dog has been secured and will be taken to specialist kennels. Inquiries are ongoing.’

If you have been injured in a dog attack, you could be entitled to maximum personal injury compensation. We understand that you may have questions regarding your claim – that is why we offer you a FREE no-obligation consultation.

For further information about dog bite compensation, and to discover how we could help you, speak to our dedicated team of solicitors today on 0800 888 6 888 or email info@hh-law.co.uk

Source: AOL

Lancashire-based firm in court over death of roof worker

A loft conversion firm in Darwen, Lancashire, has been prosecuted after an employee died following a fall from a partially completed conversion project in 2012.

Graham Redfearn was working on a large loft conversion in Chorlton, Manchester, for Newhey Loft Conversions Ltd when he fell to his death. Minshull Street Crown Court heard how the 56-year-old had been carrying a roll of roofing felt onto a newly built dormer window when his ladder collapse. Mr Redfearn was thrown over the scaffolding handrail and into a neighbouring garden. He died of his injuries seventeen days later.

The court found that the scaffolding on the site had not been built high enough. Newhey Loft Conversions was found guilty of two breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. Consequently the firm was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £20,000 towards the cost of the prosecution.

HSE Inspector Matt Greenly gave a statement after the hearing:

“This was a large loft conversion job which required the company to
increase the height of the original roof to fit dormer windows,
although the scaffolding was adequate for the start of the
works, once the new and much higher dormer windows
were built by Newhey, they should have increased
the height of the scaffolding.(…)

“It is clear that had Newhey simply raised the scaffold height, at a cost
of only a few hundred pounds, Mr Readfern would never have
suffered a fall of this scale and would more than likely
still be with his family and friends to this day.”

If you have suffered a fall from height at work, you could be entitled to personal injury compensation. Remember, we offer you a FREE no-obligation consultation – discover today whether you have a claim. Speak to one of our professional and friendly advisers today on 0800 888 6 888 or email info@hh-law.co.uk

Source: Health and Safety Executive

Explosion at Bosley Wood Mill leaves three dead and one missing

Three people have been killed and a fourth remains missing after an explosion left a Cheshire wood mill burning for several days. The incident occurred on the morning of Friday 17th July, with Cheshire Fire & Rescue services receiving a report of a large fire at the Bosley Wood Mill at 9:12 AM. In total 15 fire engines as well as rapid response vehicles and the air ambulance were sent to the scene to fight the fire and attempt a rescue.

It is believed that two separate explosions started the fire, which reached temperatures of up to 1000C.The inferno caused a four-story building to collapse and damaged several adjacent structures. It was visible to locals in the surrounding area as flames stretched up to 70 feet into the sky.

Altogether 35 people were affected, including four treated at the scene for breathing difficulties, four treated at hospital including one serious case, and the four missing persons. A 29-year-old woman was airlifted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham after she suffered serious burns and blast injuries to her head, face, arms, and chest. Two people were taken to a specialist trauma unit at Royal Stoke University Hospital, and a fourth male casualty was taken to Whiston Hospital, Merseyside.

Three bodies have been recovered and have been identified as those of Dorothy Bailey, 62, of Bosley, Derek Moore, 62, of Stoke on Trent, and 51-year-old William Barks, from Leek. The fourth missing person has been confirmed as Jason Shingler, 38. A multi-agency team drawn from across the emergency services has continued to operate a search and recovery mission in the days following the explosion.

Three officers from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are working in conjunction with Cheshire Police as part of the major investigation team to uncover the cause of the blast. It has emerged that Wood Treatment Limited, the company that owns Bosley Wood Mill, had been previously served with two improvement notices by the HSE – though both were complied with. One was in relation to fire safety:

” … you have failed to ensure that the risk from fire or explosion involving LPG stored in your two bulk tanks at the side of the Station Shed North at your premises at Tunstall Road is either eliminated or reduced, so far as is reasonably practicable, in that the tanks are not protected by suitable barriers to minimise the risk of damage from vehicle impact; the concrete path has not been fitted with suitable barriers to prevent falls; and combustible materials are stored within the separation distance”
– HSE

This is the third fire in five years at Bosley Wood Mill, with incidents also occurring in 2010 and 2012, although there were no casualties after these instances. Just three weeks ago, Cheshire East Council enforcement officers had investigated the site in response to complaints about dust and declared it safe. However, Kelvin Barks, brother of the deceased William, spoke to ITV news and said that his brother had raised concerns about safety at the factory and even described it as ‘a disaster waiting to happen’.

Woodland Treatment has not been available for comment in recent days but issued a statement on the day of the incident:

“We are shocked and saddened by the incident at our mill in Bosley and our thoughts and sympathies are with everyone affected and their families. The mill has been part of the community in Bosley since 1927 and we take the safety of our employees extremely seriously.”We are committed to establishing the cause of this incident and we will continue to co-operate fully with the emergency services and Health and Safety Executive. However, we feel it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time while investigations are ongoing.”
– Daily Gazette online

If you have been affected by an accident at work, we could help you to understand all of your options. Remember, we offer you a FREE no-obligation consultation. For further information, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email info@hh-law.co.uk

Source:
Channel 4 News
Blackpool Gazette
Health and Safety Executive

Toddler injured by council staff

A three year old girl has been injured in her pushchair during a festival. The incident occurred following a collision between the stationary pushchair and a council operated park ranger’s vehicle.

Vehicle collides with pushchair

In an investigation led by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Mansfield Magistrates’ Court heard that Nottinghamshire County Council staff were using the light-weight vehicle to move around the festival so as to empty litter bins.

Two council staff were travelling in the vehicle when the collision with the stationary push chair occurred. The young girl inside the pushchair suffered bruising to her head and to her leg.

Previous warnings and fines

HSE had previously served Nottinghamshire Country Council with improvement notices relating to risk assessments. After being found guilty of breaching the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, the council was fined £6,000 and was ordered to pay costs of £5,597

Injury in a public place

If you have been injured in public in an incident that was not your fault, you could be entitled to personal injury compensation. Remember, we offer you a FREE no-obligation consultation. For instant answers and peace of mind, speak to one of our friendly advisers today. Call 0800 888 6 888 or email info@hh-law.co.uk

Source: Health and Safety Executive

Worker loses finger

A woman has lost a finger in an incident involving unguarded machinery at an adhesive tape manufacturing plant in Bourne End, Buckinghamshire.

The woman was cleaning the machine when the cloth she was holding became tangled in the machine’s moving parts, pulling her hand into the machine. One of her fingers was badly damaged and required amputation.

Machine guards not fitted

In an investigation led by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), High Wycombe Magistrates’ Court heard that the machinery had not been fitted with a Perspex guard.

The defendant claimed no knowledge of the existence of such guards. However, details on fitting the guards were contained within the machine’s accompanying instruction manual.

Exposure to dangerous machinery – company fined

Technibond Limited was found guilty of breaching the Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. The company was fined £5,000 and was ordered to pay costs of £1,766

HSE Inspector Stephen Faulkner commented:

“Employers must ensure they prevent access to dangerous parts of
machinery and in doing so they must consider hardware controls
over information, instruction, training and supervision.

“However, where they do rely on these software controls
they must ensure that they are effective to prevent
anyone being harmed by the machinery.”

Accident at work compensation – expert advice

If you have been injured in an accident that was not your fault in the workplace, you could be entitled to personal injury compensation. Remember, we offer you a FREE no-obligation consultation. Discover today whether you have a claim, speak to one of our friendly advisers on 0800 888 6 888 or email info@hh-law.co.uk

Source: Health and Safety Executive

10m fall at work

A worker has suffered life changing injuries following a 10m fall through a fragile roof. The man was instructed to carry out the roof repair work despite having expressed concern at the unsafe conditions.

Life changing injuries

In an investigation led by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Leicester Crown Court heard that Andrew Bannister, an employee of PK & IF Cobley Ltd, had been tasked with fixing cracks in a roof. Measures were not in place to ensure Mr Bannister’s safety whilst working at height. Mr Bannister fell 10 metres through the fragile roof.

Mr Bannister suffered a broken back, a broken neck, and three broken ribs. Mr Bannister commented:

“After the accident I had to use a walking stick permanently.
I will be on pain killers for the rest of my life. The
injury has changed my life completely.”

Dangerous working conditions – company fined

PK & IF Cobley Ltd, of Leicestershire, was found guilty of breaching the Work at Height Regulations 2005. The company was fined £75,000 and was ordered to pay costs of £29,351.88

HSE inspector Alison Cook commented:

“The risk of falls through fragile roofs is well-known and the precautions required are simple and effective. This sentence will serve as a
warning to firms that knowingly risking employees’ lives in
the course of their work will not be tolerated.”

Accident at work compensation – expert advice

If you have suffered a fall from height at work, you could be entitled to personal injury compensation. Remember, we offer you a FREE no-obligation consultation – discover today whether you have a claim. Speak to one of our professional and friendly advisers today on 0800 888 6 888 or email info@hh-law.co.uk

Source: Health and Safety Executive

Worker loses lower arm

Accident at work – a man has suffered catastrophic injuries at work following an incident with a tyre-shredding machine. Whilst feeding tyres into the unguarded shredding machinery, the worker’s sleeve was gripped by the machine’s teeth. The man was unable to prevent the loss of his lower arm.

Extensive medical treatment

In an investigation led by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Canterbury Crown Court heard that on the day of the incident, Nathan Johnson, 25, of Folkstone, was feeding tyres into unguarded shredding machinery at the Cartwright Projects Ltd plant in Ashford, Kent.

As Mr Johnson’s arm began to feed into the machine’s teeth, he shouted for help. Mark Anton Arabaje – director of the now dissolved Cartwright Projects Ltd company – responded and switched off the machine. The court was told that there were no emergency stop switches within Mr Johnson’s reach.

Mr Johnson’s lower arm could not be saved. He required skin grafts from his leg, and underwent surgery to place a bolt into the damaged elbow bone.

Unguarded machinery

HSE discovered that Mr Arabaje had removed the guard “bucket” from the machinery earlier that month, exposing workers to moving machine parts. Mr Arabaje was prosecuted for earlier offences. He received fines, a suspended prison sentence, and a curfew. Mr Arabaje was ordered to pay £5000 to Mr Johnson in compensation.

HSE Inspector Guy Widdowson commented:

“Nathan Johnson would never have suffered these horrific, life-changing injuries if Mr Arabaje, the company director, had not removed the guard from the tyre-shredder.

“Company directors need to take their health and safety responsibilities seriously to prevent such tragic events occurring in the future. They have a significant role to play in protecting workers from injury at work; and this case demonstrates that such incidents can and do lead to directors being prosecuted if there is evidence of their consent, connivance or neglect to breaches in the law.”

Accident at work compensation

If you have been injured in an accident that was not your fault at work, you could be entitled to personal injury compensation. We offer you a FREE no-obligation consultation – discover today whether you have a claim. Call one of our friendly advisors on 0800 888 6 888 or email info@hh-law.co.uk

Source: Health and Safety Executive