Month: October 2015

Engineering & Facilities Firms Prosecuted After Worker is Electrocuted

Two organisations have been prosecuted and fined by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after a worker was electrocuted and died whilst carrying out work on a Middlesex data centre.

Multi-million pound infrastructure upgrade

Norland Managed Services Ltd (NMS) was contracted to provide electrical and mechanical maintenance with effective control of the data centre in Hounslow, Middlesex, whilst Balfour Beatty Engineering Services Ltd (BBES) was contracted to carry out multi-million pound infrastructure upgrade works at the site.

Martin Walton, 27, of Blackhall Colliery, Cleveland, was electrocuted and killed at Morgan Stanley’s Heathrow Data Centre on 16th October 2010.

Ipswich Crown Court heard the purpose of new power distribution units being fitted was to deliver two possible power supply sources to the centre’s data storage equipment. One source was a new substation implemented as part of the on-going works and the other an existing substation on the site.

Balfour Beatty Engineering Services Ltd had control of the new power supply, whilst Norland Management Services Ltd. had control over the existing power supply.

Electrocuted

The court heard that connection of the first three of these units to the existing data centre setup was arranged to take place over the weekend of 16th to 18th October 2010. Late modifications to the units meant there was a requirement for them to be tested with two live supplies, ensuring they performed properly before being connected to the data centre’s existing infrastructure. The first unit went without a glitch and was successfully modified, tested and connected to the existing infrastructure. However, when modifying the second unit, Martin Walton, a cable jointer employed by subcontracted company, Integrated Cable Services Ltd, was electrocuted as his head made contact with the 415V live terminals.

HSE told the court during the trial and sentencing hearing that the ultimate cause of the incident was a sequence of failures. Failures which underpinned the breakdown of BBESs’ coordinating of health and safety with regards to this particular project, in particular the breakdown of communication between staff.

NMS played no part in the construction project; however, they issued Mr Walton with a permit-to-work. This enabled him to reroute the current power supply through the new distribution unit, even though NMS knew that there was the possibility that the unit could in fact receive a supply from a source that was not under the firm’s control. NMS also failed to confirm that the other supply was isolated.

Sentencing & Fines

Electrical installation and mechanical contractor, Balfour Beatty Engineering Services Ltd of Lumina Building, Ainslie Road, Hillington Park, Glasgow, pleaded guilty to breaches of Section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety Work etc. Act 1974. The organisation was fined £140,000 for each breach, totalling £280,000 and ordered to pay £42,240 costs.

Norland Managed Services Ltd, of City Bridge House, Southwark Street, London was fined £100,000 with £106,670 costs. The company was found guilty at an earlier trial of breaching 3(1) of the Health and Safety Work etc. Act 1974.

HSE inspector Loraine Charles said after the sentencing:

“Martin Walton’s death, which had a truly devastating effect on his family and friends, was entirely preventable.
“Although BBES claimed to have been under pressure from a difficult and demanding client, they cannot be excused for having lost sight of the need for the effective control of risks arising from the work being carried out under their control at this data centre.

“Permit to work systems were operated poorly or not at all. Not one person involved in the work at the time of the accident had an accurate overall understanding of the work being carried out and, as a consequence, Martin Walton and others were unknowingly working in the vicinity of exposed live electrical terminals.

“NMS, who were operating an effective permit to work system in relation to the equipment under their own control, made no effort to ensure that the work they permitted did not create risk at the point at which it interacted with equipment under BBES control.”

Injury at Work – Expert Advice

If you have been injured in the workplace and you would like expert advice on this type of case, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email claims@hampsonhughes.com

Source: Health & Safety Executive

Man Jailed for Attack that Leaves Ex-Girlfriend Unconscious for 48 Hours

A man has been jailed after he attacked his now ex –girlfriend, leaving her with ‘devastating’, life changing injuries.

Attacked at Home

Colleen Higgins, from Hednesford, Staffordshire, suffered a broken cheek bone, a fractured skull, serious brain injury and was left bleeding from the ear after Daniel Moore, 36, attacked her at their home last year.

Following the incident Moore left Miss Higgins lying unconscious on the sofa where she did not regain consciousness for another 48 hours. When Miss Higgins did come round, she could not recall what had happened and Moore simply told her that she had fallen down the stairs. Miss Higgins explained:

“I’d always got on really well with his kids and we were playing monopoly and having an ordinary Friday evening.

“The next thing I remember is waking up in the most horrific pain I have ever experienced.

“I couldn’t walk but I knew something was wrong so I grabbed my phone and took a picture to see what my face looked like.

“All I could see was blood everywhere and I knew I needed to get out of the house.”

Miss Higgins then called her mother who took her to hospital, it was there that they realised what Moore had done.

“I didn’t even explain what had happened on the phone to my mum, I said I’d fallen over and she turned up expecting to see me with a broken ankle.

“But when she arrived she said she knew straight away that he had done it so she didn’t even wait for an ambulance and took me to hospital herself.”

Traumatic Brain Injury

Arriving at A&A, Miss Higgins could not recall her age or what year it was; such was the extent of her injuries. Doctors concluded that Miss Higgins’ brain had swollen, for which she spent 3 nights in hospital. Miss Higgins was then subject to a further 2 nights in hospital as she underwent an operation to insert a metal plate into her cheek.

As well as suffering a traumatic brain injury, Miss Higgins was also left deaf in one ear due to the incident.

Miss Higgins has admitted she feared she was ‘going to die’ following the attack last August. She said:

“My skull was cracked from the back of my head all the way round to my nose and the swelling on my eye was so bad the doctors thought I might lose my sight.

“Some people endure the same injuries that I had and never walk again.

“I had a great rehab team helping me over nine months and it was just sheer grit and determination that he wasn’t going to ruin my life that got me through.

“I truly believe that he would have left me to die.

“But I survived and so I want to do everything I can to warn other women who might be in a similar position.
“If me speaking out saves one person from experiencing what I have gone through then it’s worth it.”

Sentencing

Daniel Moore admitted to causing grievous bodily harm with intent and was sentenced to 6 years and 9 months at Stafford Crown Court.

Criminal Injury – Expert Advice

We understand that if you have been subjected to an act of violence, your thoughts will turn to making a full recovery – compensation will likely be the last thing on your mind.

There is however a government scheme that provides compensation to victims or their families at this tragic time. The scheme is called CICA (The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority). Once your claim is accepted by Hampson Hughes Solicitors, we will liaise with CICA on your behalf.

If you would like expert advice on this type of case, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email claims@hampsonhughes.com

Source: Mail Online

Concrete Pumping Company Fined After Worker Injured

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has prosecuted and fined a concrete pumping company after an employee was injured whilst at work on a construction site on Colwyn Bay promenade.

Llandudno Magistrates’ Court heard how the worker trapped his foot in the hopper of a concrete pump. As he was cleaning out a pump, the worker removed the interlocking safety grille, sat on the hopper and attempted to move some of the remaining concrete residue with his feet. The court heard that as he did so, the paddles started to move due to the safety interlock failing. The worker’s left foot was trapped by the paddles – the result of which was partial amputation.

After pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 5(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations, Reilly Concrete Pumping, of Old Premier Stone Yard, Station Road, Sutton, St Helens was fined £8,000. The firm was also ordered to pay total costs of £1,746.

Chris Wilcox, Health & Safety inspector said after the hearing:

“This tragic accident has left the employee suffering life changing injury. Employers are legally required to ensure that work equipment is maintained in a safe condition for use, which in this case was the safety interlock on the hopper grille.”

Accident at Work – Expert Advice

If you have been injured in the workplace and you would like expert advice on this type of case, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email claims@hampsonhughes.com

Source: Health & Safety Executive

Builder Fined After Worker Suffers Life Changing Injury

A builder based in Wedmore has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for safety failings following an accident at work that resulted in a worker suffering life changing injuries.

Accident at work incident

An employee of N C Tucker Limited was carrying out roofing work when he fell five meters through a fragile roof light, suffering a fractured spine, brain injury, as well as several broken ribs. Bristol Crown Court heard how the 25 year old had only worked for the firm for four weeks when the accident at work occurred in August 2014. The court also heard that this was the worker’s first ever roofing job.

Sentencing and fines

N C Tucker Limited, of The Cottage, Guildhall Lane, Wedmore pleaded guilty to an offence under Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined a total of £26,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,738.

HSE Inspector Sue Adsett said after the hearing:

“The young man who fell has had life changing injuries which have severely affected him and his family. The use of nets to protect against falls through fragile roof lights is well- established in the industry, if nets had been in place this accident would have been prevented”

Accident at Work – Expert Advice

If you have been injured in the workplace and you would like expert advice on this type of case, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email claims@hampsonhughes.com

Source: Health & Safety Executive

Leeds Based Woodworking Firm Prosecuted for Safety Breach

An incident in which stacks of wooden boards fell onto and injured two employees at a woodworking firm in Leeds has led to the company receiving a fine for safety breaches from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The incident took place in August 2012 whilst two pedestrian workers were working closely with a fork lift truck during a lifting operation.

The forklift knocked a stack of boards, causing the boards to strike one worker. This individual then fell onto a second stack of boards, causing this second stack to fall onto another worker. During the incident one of the employees broke both of his legs.

After an investigation by the HSE, Spa Laminates Limited, of Pepper Road, Leeds was prosecuted for safety breaches at Leeds Magistrates’ Court. The firm pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety Act 1974 and received a fine of £8,000, the firm was also ordered to pay a total of £7,438 in legal costs.

Injury at Work – Expert Advice

If you have been injured in the workplace and you would like expert advice on this type of case, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email claims@hampsonhughes.com

Source: Health & Safety Executive

Victim Information Shared to Inquiry Erased from Website

It was revealed last week that information provided by victims to the independent inquiry into child abuse, set up last July by the Government, has been erased.

Information Automatically Erased

Any information submitted via an online form between September 14th and October 2nd was ‘instantly and permanently deleted’ before any staff had the opportunity to view it. The inquiry has admitted that the automatic deletion of information was due to the website’s address being altered.

The website was created for survivors and victims of child abuse willing to provide information of their experiences with officials working on the inquiry. All information that was erased was shared by victims to the website’s ‘share your experience’ page. However, the inquiry is now asking those victims who provided information between the two dates to resubmit this.

Apology

The inquiry has reiterated that no information provided is at risk of being disclosed and an apology has been issued via its website. The statement reads:

“Due to a change in our website address to www.iicsa.org.uk on 14 September, any information submitted to the Inquiry between 14 September and 2 October through the online form on the Share your experience page of our website, was instantly and permanently deleted before it reached our engagement team.

“We are very sorry for any inconvenience or distress this will cause and would like to reassure you that no information was put at risk of disclosure or unauthorised access.

“Due to the security measures on our website, your information cannot be found or viewed by anyone else as it was immediately and permanently destroyed.

“We would like to apologise again to anyone who submitted details to the Inquiry during this time and to ask you to please resubmit your information through the online form.”

Previous Setbacks

The inquiry was set up in July 2014 after a number of claims emerged relating to a ‘high-level cover up of abuse’ and has already been affected by a number of delays. Home Secretary Theresa May officially reopened the probe under New Zealand Judge Lowell Goddard in March this year following the resignation of two previous chairwomen.

Dame Fiona Woolf stood down due to criticism over her ‘establishment links’, in particular due to the Dame’s relationship with Leon Brittan, a former Home Secretary who passed away earlier this year. Whilst Baroness Butler-Sloss had earlier resigned as chair last year amid speculation regarding the role her late brother played as attorney general in the 1980s.

The Home Secretary has also recently placed the probe on a statuary footing, meaning that the inquiry has the power to oblige witnesses to provide evidence.

The inquiry is set to be Britain’s largest public inquiry and is expecting to hear testimony from over 30,000 victims. This number is less than one percent of over three million British adults who experienced abuse as children and officials predict the landmark inquiry to take around 5 years to complete.

Sexual Abuse – Expert Advice

Hampson Hughes Solicitors specialises in directing sexual abuse claims in a considerate and compassionate manner. Our Abuse & Criminal Injuries Department is headed by Greg Neill – Greg is a member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers (ACAL).

For an open and friendly conversation about your situation, and to find out how we can assist you relevant to your individual experience, call 0800 888 6 888 or email info@hh-law.co.uk

You will be given the direct-dial of your case handler, meaning that you will always be able to reach the person you need.

Source: Mail Online

Company Fined After Worker Injures Finger in Machine

A fruit, nut and seed supplier has been fined following serious injuries sustained by an employee whilst manning a piece of machinery.

On 24th October 2014 the worker was attempting to unclog a blockage in a machine, when her hand came into contact with the rotating blades of a rotary valve. After removing a hose attached to a short length of outlet pipe the employee’s hand touched the blades of the valve, which amputated part of a finger on her right hand.

Whitworths Limited, of Wellington Road, Irthlingborough, Wellingborough, pleaded guilty to an offence under Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998. The company was consequently fined a total of £8,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,653 at Northampton Magistrates’ Court.

Health & Safety Executive (HSE) inspector Michelle Morrison said after the hearing:

“Had the company ensured access to the dangerous moving parts of the rotary valve was prevented, by ensuring the length of the pipe complied with British Standards then this young woman would not have lost the top of one of her fingers.”

Injury at Work – Expert Advice

If you have been injured in the workplace and you would like expert advice on this type of case, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email claims@hampsonhughes.com

Source: Health & Safety Executive

Teenager Sentenced Following Attack in Devon Nightclub

29 year old Andrew Mason suffered a fractured skull and was left in a coma for ten days after he was punched in the face by 19 year old Maxwell Banbury at a nightclub in Devon.

Attack

Recently released CCTV footage shows how Mr Banbury walked up to Mr Mason, hit him in the head and then calmly walks back to his seat to finish his drink. Mr Banbury can then be seen leaving with his girlfriend, apparently telling bar staff ‘I saw him feeling up my girl’.

The attack took place at the Fever & Boutique nightclub in Barnstaple, Devon in March 2015 and Mr Mason, of Braunton, Devon is still suffering neurological damage from the incident.

Phil Lawes, Detective Constable at Devon and Cornwall Police, has said the attack was ‘totally unprovoked with no justification whatsoever’. He went on to say:

“The severity of this assault shockingly illustrates how a single punch can cause very serious injuries – and the consequences of this attack could have been much worse.”

Sentencing

Following the attack, Mr Banbury has admitted to causing grievous bodily harm and has been sentenced to 16 months in prison, suspended for 2 years. He was also ordered to pay £1000 compensation to Mr Mason and instructed to carry out 200 hours of unpaid community work.

Exeter Crown Court heard how Mr Banbury set upon Mr Mason as he wrongly believed he had been dancing with his girlfriend.

Mr Banbury apparently apologised for his actions during a police interview, claiming to police he ‘saw total red mist’ and ‘lost my rag’, later writing on Facebook ‘Of course I never meant to do what I did. It was a stupid decision’.

After originally being taken to North Devon District Hospital, Mr Mason was then transferred to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, where he spent ten days in ICU in a coma. In his victim impact statement, Mr Mason described how the attack has resulted in his life being ‘a living nightmare’, with a constant worry of having seizures following the injuries suffered.

Suspending Mr Banbury’s sentence, Judge Francis Gilbert QC explained that this was due to his satisfaction that the attack was completely out of character, saying:

“The figure of £1,000 compensation is completely nominal, given the very serious damage you did to him.”

Criminal Injury – Expert Advice

We understand that if you have been subjected to an act of violence, your thoughts will turn to making a full recovery – compensation will likely be the last thing on your mind.

There is however a government scheme that provides compensation to victims or their families at this tragic time. The scheme is called CICA (The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority). Once your claim is accepted by Hampson Hughes Solicitors, we will liaise with CICA on your behalf.

If you would like expert advice on this type of case, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email claims@hampsonhughes.com

Source: Mail Online

400 Patients Misdiagnosed at Four Greater Manchester Hospitals

Following an urgent internal procedural review, a hospital trust in North West England has discovered that 400 patients were misdiagnosed.

Pennine Acute NHS Trust

Pennine Acute NHS Trust runs Fairfield General (Bury), Rochdale Infirmary, North Manchester General and Royal Oldham. The trust’s review of complaints and incidents over the past 5 years, relating to missed diagnoses, was carried out following an increase in the number of failings reported by medical staff.

Health chiefs at Pennine Acute NHS Trust found that there had been a possible delay in diagnosis or treatment of cancer in 105 of the cases reviewed.

Out of the 400 cases, 20 were also classed as ‘serious incidents’ – 14 of which resulted in ‘severe harm’ to the patients.

The trust is currently reviewing scans and X-rays from all four hospitals and this is an on-going process.

The probe has been deemed ‘significant’ by health watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and a spokeswoman for the watchdog has stated that they are ‘closely monitoring’ the review.

Report

According to a Trust report obtained by the Manchester Evening News (M.E.N), 11 serious incidents in the Trust regarding misdiagnosis were reported by staff between April and August 2015. The report also reveals that Clinical Commissioning Groups have identified a further 27 serious incidents, whereas between January 2010 and March 2015, just five serious incidents were reported by staff.

The report says:

“In response to the concerns raised within the Trust and shared by partners, the Trust undertook a five year review of Trust incidents and complaints of the most common areas relating to missed diagnoses.”

Incidents & Complaints between 2010 & 2015

In total 1,635 incidents that occurred within the last five years were identified by the report – 398 of such incidents required further review. 105 of those cases subjected to further review were identified as possible delay in treatment or diagnosis of cancer; 280 related to blood clots and 13 were potential missed fractures.

78 of the 105 were again subjected to further scrutiny – twenty of which were determined to be ‘serious incidents’, four were considered to have caused the patient ‘moderate harm’ & 14 were recorded as causing ‘severe harm’.

The review also highlighted the 56 complaints recorded between 2010 and April 2015.

As a result of the probe, a specialist team will now review further the case notes of 106 incidents & complaints highlighted within the document. According to the report, the specialist team will include a specialist nurse and a member of the clinical audit team, as well as the deputy medical director, Roger Prudham.

‘Patient safety and the quality of care we provide is our top priority’

According to hospital bosses however, the review is part of a ‘continual improvement plan for diagnostic tests’.

A spokesman for Pennine Acute NHS Trust has said:

“Patient safety and the quality of care we provide to our patients is our top priority.

“The nature of healthcare means the Board and our staff are committed to promoting continual learning and improved clinical practice in line with national guidance and best practice.

“As part of the Trust’s quality improvement work and safety programmes, which are aligned to the national NHS Sign Up to Safety initiative, our doctors and nursing staff are focusing on a number of areas to improve patient safety and patient experience to become a truly quality-driven provider of healthcare.

“Our safety priorities for this year focus on reducing avoidable harm to patients, particularly around hospital inpatient falls, sepsis, pressure ulcers, infection prevention, safer surgery and diagnostics such as radiology, X-rays and CT scans.

“As we strengthen our governance processes and incident reporting, we have seen an increase in the number of our clinical staff coming forward to highlight areas where we can make care safer and ensure we are doing all that we can to provide high quality care.

“Our work on diagnostics has involved looking at our clinical processes, policies and practice around x-rays and CT scans. This is to ensure that these tests for our patients are undertaken promptly and the reports are received by the appropriate healthcare professional so that diagnosis and necessary treatment can commence.

“As part of this improvement work, we have looked at the data on our incident management system over the past five years related to diagnostics to ensure that we can capture all learning from past cases in the improvement work we are doing.

“There is no data available or evidence to suggest the Trust is an outlier in this area.”

Care Quality Commission

A CQC spokesperson said:

“CQC is aware of the quality improvement work that Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust that is undertaking looking at incidents and complaints related to diagnostic tests from the last five years.

“As the quality and safety of service provided to patients is paramount, we are in contact with the trust and are closely monitoring the progress of this work. Once concluded we will then determine what, if any regulatory action should be taken.

“Where a review of a service or system indicated shortfalls, delays or patient harm we would expect a trust to investigate these issues thoroughly and take action to meet its obligations in accordance with the Duty of Candour.”

Medical Negligence – Expert Advice

For further information on how our expert medical negligence solicitors can help you, and to discover the amount of compensation that you may be owed, contact the Hampson Hughes Solicitors Medical Negligence Team today on 0151 242 1025 or email medicalnegligence@hampsonhughes.com

Medway NHS Foundation Trust is Worst in UK for Cancer Referrals

The waiting period between being referred by a GP and being seen by a specialist in Medway is one of the longest in the country.

Worst in UK

Data released by NHS England shows that just 72.14% of patients referred to specialists at Medway NHS Foundation Trust are actually seen within the target time of 14 days.

These figures make Medway NHS Foundation Trust the worst performing trust in the country for cancer referrals.

Over a quarter of cancer sufferers in Medway had to wait longer than two weeks, with over 100 patients having to wait at one month to be seen by a specialist.

NHS Guidelines

NHS trusts are expected to guarantee a minimum of 93% of patients are seen within a fortnight once they have been referred by a GP. This guideline provided by the NHS is due to the impact that a delay in diagnosis ca have on the effectiveness of treatment.

110 out of the 3,895 individuals in Medway with suspected cancer referred between April and June were forced to wait longer than 28 days to see a specialist and 210 patients had to wait between 22 and 28 days. 429 individuals had to wait between 17 and 21 days, whilst 332 had to wait between 15 and 16 days following referral. In total, 1,085 individuals were not seen by a specialist within the targeted time period of 14 days.

Decline over 6 month period

NHS Medway has seen a decline in the last 6 months of the number of patients seen by a specialist within the targeted two week period. The year’s first quarter saw 85.4% of cancer sufferers seen within the target period compared to a rate of 94.7%of patients seen on time in the final quarter of 2014.

A specialist medical negligence lawyer, Jason Brady, has said:

“It is hugely concerning to see the significant drop in performance against this crucial target in just six months.
“From 94.7% of patients seen within 14 days, to just 72.14% will be of concern to patients and their families.

“Hospitals should take every step possible to meet this target to avoid delays in diagnosis and treatment for some patients.

“Where these delays are unnecessary and where the patient’s health is impacted, these individuals may be entitled to sue to the hospital for clinical negligence.”

15% of patients are given a life expectancy of 5 years or more, depending on the type of cancer they suffer from, if the disease is diagnosed in its’ later stages. However, 90% of individuals are given the same rate of survival when the same cancer type is identified in its’ earliest stages, according to Cancer Research UK (CRUK).

Head of policy at CRUK, Emma Greenwood, has said:

“England’s cancer survival already lags behind comparable countries and will only get worse if the target continues to be breached. This cannot be allowed to continue.

“These targets exist to ensure swift diagnosis of cancer and access to treatment. Patients want confidence that suspected cancer is taken seriously and is a priority for the NHS. These breaches have become a trend and they are worsening.”

Varied Waiting Times

The type of cancer an individual suffers from will ultimately have some influence on a patient’s waiting time between referral and specialist advice.

Of individuals with suspected gynaecological cancer, 98.5% were seen by a specialist in the target period and those with potential lung cancer, a total of 96.1% were seen on time.

On the other hand, however, 231 out of the 321 individuals with suspected cancer of the lower digestive system had to wait at least 15 days – 35 of which still had not been seen following a period of 28 days. Just 28% were seen within the maximum two week wait. Of those 1,500 patients referred to a specialist with suspected skin cancer, over a third waited longer than 14 days to be seen. And 27 patients with suspected breast cancer had to wait longer than 4 weeks to be seen – only 437 out of 612 individuals were seen by a specialist within the target period.

Medical Negligence – Expert Advice

For further information on how our expert medical negligence solicitors can help you, and to discover the amount of compensation that you may be owed, contact the Hampson Hughes Solicitors Medical Negligence Team today on 0151 242 1025 or email medicalnegligence@hampsonhughes.com

Source: Kent Online