Category: Children’s Accidents

Two landlords in court after baby suffers carbon monoxide poisoning

Two landlords from Bolton have been prosecuted after two tenants and their four-month-old baby were rushed to hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning.

What happened?

The two landlords found themselves in court after four gas appliances at a property they were renting to a young family were found to be unsafe. Additionally, it was discovered that they had failed to arrange an annual gas safety check as the law requires.

The couple moved into the rented property three months before their baby was due. After a couple of weeks the expectant mother began to suffer palpitations, headaches, and struggled with her breathing.

She was admitted to hospital for several days, as doctors assumed that her symptoms were linked to her pregnancy.

Her husband also began to get severe headaches and was prescribed codeine by his GP.

Some months later, the couple were in the flat minding their 4-month-old son, who they were concerned was unwell as he had been crying all day.

Shortly after, baby’s father began to suffer with a painful headache, not long before his wife began collapsed on the kitchen floor.

All three members of the family were then rushed to hospital and treated overnight for of carbon monoxide poisoning.

What was the outcome?

An investigation found that a gas-powered water heater that was installed in the kitchen did not have a flue, so therefore should have only been used for a maximum of five minutes at a time.

However, it had been connected to both the kitchen sink and the washing machine, and therefore was emitting high levels of carbon monoxide due to its overuse.

Additionally, the gas fire in the lounge and gas boiler in the kitchen were also found to be at risk of emitting harmful carbon monoxide.

The Landlords, Mehboob Bobat and Suraiya Bobat pleaded guilty to breaching the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, and were sentenced to 80 hours of community service and each ordered to pay costs of £720.

HSE Principal Inspector, Mike Sebastian, said:

“A young couple and their baby son were needlessly made ill for several
months because Mr and Mrs Bobat failed in their legal duties
as landlords to arrange an annual gas safety check.

“It’s shocking that all four of the gas appliances in the property had
the potential to cause carbon monoxide poisoning. If the baby’s
father hadn’t acted quickly to call an ambulance when he
wife collapsed then the effects could
easily have been fatal.

“Landlords must take their responsibilities seriously and make sure
houses they rent out are safe for their tenants. We will
continue to take legal action when
landlords ignore the law.”

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 [email protected]

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Firm in court after barrier falls on baby’s pram

A construction firm has been prosecuted after an 18-week-old baby was injured after a barrier was blown on top of a pram.

What happened?

Kier Construction Ltd had been refurbishing a supermarket in Stirling, and had assembled barriers to separate the public from the construction work they were carrying out.

The baby boy’s mother had parked the pram next to these barriers while she used the cash machine outside.

She then heard her 13-year-old daughter scream, and turned to see that one of the barriers had fallen onto the pram hood, which had collapsed on the baby.

He was rushed to hospital with bruising to his forehead, but was discharged later that day with no other injuries.

An investigation into the incident found that the barriers had not been filled with water to keep them stable, as the manufacturer had instructed. Nor had the barriers by the cash machine been locked together.

Additionally, a month before the incident high winds had caused the barriers to fall over, however adequate safety measures had not been put in place to ensure that this did not happen again.

What was the outcome?

Kier Construction Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £4,000.

HSE Principal Inspector, Isabelle Martin, said:

“This incident could easily have been prevented. If assembled correctly
the barriers could withstand winds of up to 58mph. On the day
of the incident windspeed was about 30mph and
should not have been an issue.

“Instead, because Kier Construction Limited failed to properly construct
the barriers, a young baby was hurt. Luckily, his injuries were
minor but they could have been worse. This incident should
serve as a reminder to construction companies about
their duty to protect members of the public
who may be affected by their work.”

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 [email protected]

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Firm fined after child’s head trapped in electric gate

A firm in Leicester has been in court after it failed to ensure adequate guarding was installed on an electric gate that trapped a young child at a primary school in Stourbridge.

What happened?

The court heard that an eight-year-old boy suffered injuries when his head became trapped between the edge of the closing gate and the gate post.

The boy’s father was with him when the incident occurred, and desperately tried to hold the gate to prevent it from closing further.

He just about managed to pull the gate open enough to release his son’s head, but the youngster suffered significant bruising to the right side of his head and ear.

An investigation into the incident found that the entrance gate of Pedmore Primary School had been automated by Access Control Solutions (UK) Ltd, but suitable guarding had not been installed.

Though the firm had identified that guarding was needed, it hadn’t been installed because the gate, which had been manufactured by another company, wasn’t the dimensions that was expected so the guarding wouldn’t fit.

What was the outcome?

Access Control Solutions (UK) Ltd was fined £3,300 with £773 costs, after pleading guilty to breaching the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.

HSE inspector, Sarah Palfreyman, said:

“This was an extremely traumatic event for the boy and his father.
Fortunately, the youngster was back at school a couple of days
later and he has not suffered any long term effects. However,
it could have been a different story had he been trapped
by a different part of his head, or had it happened
to a younger child.

“The incident was entirely preventable. Access Control Solutions
identified the need for the guard in their own job
specification but when the gate arrived, it was
not the type expected the guard did not fit.

“At this point they should have either come up with an alternative
or postponed the job until the problem was rectified, especially
as they were fully aware that the entrance would be used by
a particularly vulnerable group – young children.

“People getting trapped a well-known risk in the industry and HSE
has produced safety notes on the subject due to a number of
fatalities involving children in recent years. I would
encourage all suppliers and installers of
electric gates to read it.”

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 [email protected]

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Firm in court after child dies in electric sliding gate

Two companies have been in court for serious safety failings after a five-year-old girl was crushed to death by an electric gate.

What happened?

Five-year-old Karolina Golabek was playing nearby the gates of Brook Court in Bridgend, when they automatically closed after a car drove through.

She was rushed to hospital by a resident who found her trapped between the closing edge of the gate and the gate post, but later died as a result of her injuries.

An investigation into the incident found that the gate was inherently unsafe and posed a clear risk. At 2,000N, the closing force didn’t meet European and British safety standards, and was the equivalent of a force created by a weight of 440lbs.

Additionally there were safety issues surrounding the gate structure, which left a gap without any safety devices to detect a person in the area. The court heard that John Glen (Installation Services) Ltd had recently fitted a new electric motor to the gate, and had failed to test that the gate stopped when it met an obstruction.

The investigation also found that Tremorfa Limited, who was contracted to maintain the gate, had failed to carry out vital safety checks despite carrying out two maintenance visits.

What was the outcome?

John Glen (Installation Services) Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and was fined £60,000 and ordered to pay £40,000 in costs.

Tremorfa Ltd was fined £50,000 with costs of £40,000 after pleading guilty to the same charge.

HSE Inspector, Stuart Charles, said:

“Karolina’s death has left her family devastated, and yet it
could so easily have been avoided.

“Both companies walked away from the gate leaving it in an unsafe condition.
Both could have prevented this tragedy.

“Automated gates are becoming more common and it’s sometimes difficult to
appreciate that even small gates can close with significant force.
Badly installed and maintained gates are a threat to all
pedestrians, but young children are particularly
vulnerable because they are often completely
unaware of the dangers.

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Owner fined after fairground ride collapses

Two teenage boys were seriously injured when a fairground ride collapsed, landing the owner in court.

What happened?

Conor Baker and Danny Keogh, both 16-years-old, were riding the Mega Bounce Frog attraction at Abbey Park in Leicester when the ride collapsed, sending the two of them flying from the car.

A court heard that crowds of people at the fair saw the car tip up, throwing one boy out and slamming the other into the protective barrier around the ride.

An investigation into the incident found that, not only had the ride been poorly maintained, but a clip and pin securing the car to its operating arm had fallen out.

The investigation also found that one of the retaining pins and clips from the boys’ car was found tapered and damaged on the deck of the ride. Additionally it found that the clip had been pushed into an off-centre hole that didn’t satisfactory grip the pin.

Furthermore a second tapered pin was found on the ride which also had an off-centre hole, along with two defective seatbelts. The HSE has since served a prohibition notice, preventing further use of the ride until adequate safety changes have been made.

Danny Keogh sustained extensive injuries, including a collapsed lung, broken arm and deep wounds to his side. He was treated in intensive care where a total of 88 staples were used in his surgery.

Conor Baker was also treated for multiple injuries, including broken teeth, a broken nose, lacerating to his face and a significant blow to the head.

What was the outcome?

The fairground owner, William Norman Roberts, was fined £6,500 and ordered to pay costs of £5,000 after admitting to breaching the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

HSE inspector, Neil Ward, said:

“The unsafe condition of the ride resulted in very serious injuries to
two young men who had gone out to celebrate
finishing their GCSE exams.

“The outcome could have been much worse. It was a horrifying and painful
experience for Conor and Danny and extremely distressing for
their families, friends and members of the public
who witnessed the incident.

“The public rightly expects rides to be safe. The safety-critical defects
identified on this machine were very troubling. The inconsistencies
in the pin ends were obvious and the pins and clips were
safety-critical components that should have been
thoroughly checked on a daily basis.”

If you have been affected by an accident that wasn’t your fault, and you would like expert advice, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email [email protected]

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Multi-million pound payout for Sheffield boy

A Sheffield boy has received a multi-million pound pay out after sustaining permanent brain injuries during his birth.

What happened?

Bradley Kendall, who’s now 14-years-old, was born three months prematurely, and suffers with mild spastic diplegia and impairment in cognitive function which will affect him for the rest of his life.

His parents, William and Joanne, believed his injuries were the fault of healthcare staff present at the birth, and today have accepted a multi-million pound settlement at the High Court in London.

The money will be used to pay the enormous costs of care that Bradley, who is partially dependant on the care of others, will need for life

Benjamin Browne, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust barrister, said:

“This settlement accurately reflects the strength of the parties’
case, but will undoubtedly produce proper provision
for Bradley in the long-term.

“There will be money available to fund his care and case
management needs for the rest of his life.

“It is quite apparent that Bradley is a very charming young man.
That emerges from all the reports and witness statements.

“He has made remarkable progress, despite the disability from which he
suffers, and has no doubt been a great joy to his parents.

“Nonetheless, his disabilities have imposed a formidable burden of care
upon them. It is a burden they have discharged with
cheerfulness and great affection for their son.”

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 [email protected]

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Fairground operator fined after a toddler is injured

A fairground operator has been in court after a two year old was injured falling through a gap in a perimeter fence.

What happened?

The court heard that panels were missing from the safety fence around the ride so they could be painted. The toddler was walking away from the ride when he fell four feet through one of the gaps, and injured his head and face.

He was kept in hospital under observation for 24 hours, but sustained no long-term injuries.

What was the outcome?

The Welsh company pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £2,500 and ordered to pay £7,900 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

HSE Inspector, Catherine Toozer, said after the hearing:

“Fairground rides are large complex machines which have the power to
seriously injure or even cause death if not managed properly.

“It is utterly vital that those in control make sure fencing is up to the
job of keeping children, and others who may not appreciate
the risks, away from them when running.

“The ride owner has a duty to ensure that all fencing provided is maintained
and kept in an efficient state of repair at all times.”

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 [email protected]
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Wall Collapse – Pupil Dies at School

A 12 year old pupil has died at school in Edinburgh following the collapse of a free standing wall.

What Happened?

Keane Wallis-Bennett was pronounced dead at the scene after sustaining fatal injuries at Liberton High School, Edinburgh.

13 year old classmate Devon Blyth had informed staff some months earlier that there was an unstable modesty wall between showers in the girls’ changing rooms.

Miss Blyth said:

“I told staff months ago that the wall had moved, but nothing was done. I think
they should have done something about it. I reported it, about two
months ago, that the wall had moved when I leaned on it.

“The member of staff said it would be fine. Nothing else was done about it.
The wall is almost the length of the changing room and it
separated the showers. It was the same wall.”

The incident took place shortly before 10:00am yesterday morning. Head Teacher Stephen King informed the parents of the other 650 Liberton High School pupils via a text message that read:

“Important! Accident at school. A pupil has sadly died.
Her parents are aware. No-one else is injured.”

Tributes from school friends and well-wishers have flooded social media, and flowers are being left at the school. The school will remain closed for the remainder of the week.

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