Category: Slips, Trips & Falls

Building company prosecuted after teenager’s fall

A 17-year-old employee of More Than Lofts Ltd fell through a hole in a loft, and landed on a staircase.

What happened?

The teenager was working as part of a team to covert a loft at a house in Hammersmith when he stepped on some fragile material that was covering a hole in the floor.

He fell four metres onto a staircase below, but luckily survived the accident with no significant injuries.

An investigation into the incident found that there had been multiple uncovered or badly-covered fragile surfaces on the site, and the firm had failed to take satisfactory measures to prevent employee falls.

Additionally, the investigation also found that the firm had also been given a Prohibition Notice in 2010 because of immediate dangers to workers, due to unsatisfactory safety measures on site.

What was the outcome?

More Than Lofts Ltd admitted to breaching the Work at Height Regulations, and was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £729 in costs.

HSE Inspector, Gavin Pugh, said:

“This young man had an extremely lucky escape from what could have
been a fatal or severe injury in a fall of that distance. He
and his co-workers were put in unnecessary danger by
the careless approach to safety demonstrated
by More Than Lofts Ltd.

“The company had ample materials on site to cover over fragile
surfaces during work on this loft conversion but failed to
do so. It also clearly disregarded the lessons that
should have been learned from the previous
enforcement notice about working
at height.

“Companies that skirt around safety put lives at risk. The hazards
presented by working on or close to fragile surfaces are
widely known in the industry and there are numerous
deaths and injuries to workers as a result
of safety failures every year.”

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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Pensioners supermarket fall leads to over £8,000 pay-out

A retired head teacher dislocated her shoulder, after falling over a discarded cardboard box in a LIDL supermarket in Crowborough, East Sussex.

What happened?

Jennifer Mills was shopping with her husband in the Beacon Road branch in September 2010 when the incident happened.

Upon returning to the checkouts to meet her husband, the 72-year-old fell over a stray cardboard box, which had been abandoned next to an unloaded, unattended pallet which was partially blocking the aisle.

The Grandmother of six was left lying in agony for almost an hour on the supermarket shop floor until an ambulance arrived, rushing her to the Princess Royal Hospital A&E unit.

She sustained numerous injuries including a dislocated shoulder, a sprain to her right thumb and multiple cuts and bruises.

What was the outcome?

As a result of the accident, Mrs Mills now struggles with everyday tasks.

LIDL’s representatives accepted full liability for the incident and agreed an out-of-court settlement of more that £8,000, as well as additional funds to pay for the physiotherapy required as part of Mrs Mills’ recovery.

Mrs Mills’ solicitor said:

“Supermarkets, shops and other public places have a fundamental
duty to ensure they are providing a safe environment for
the people who use them, this includes both
customers and members of staff.”

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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Child nearly falls as road collapses beneath her feet

A child has narrowly escaped falling four feet, as a hole in the pavement appeared beneath her.

What happened?

Residents of Welsh Streets in Liverpool have said that a young girl nearly fell through the pavement, when a four-foot deep hole appeared on Treborth Street last week.

There is currently an inquiry into the redevelopment of the streets in this area, which was called after plans to redevelop the area were approved by the council but opposed by the UK Government last year.

One resident said:

“We have been petitioning for our houses to be pulled down as we are
living in such poor conditions, meanwhile the streets our
children are living in are potentially dangerous too.”

Hampson Hughes Solicitors represents individuals who have been injured as a result of public negligence. If you would like expert advice, contact us today on 0800 888 6888 or email claims@hampsonhughes.com

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Council fined after elderly woman falls through uncovered hole

Renfrewshire Council has been in court after a 77-year-old woman fell through an access hole, that had been left uncovered in her hallway.

What happened?

Workers were installing a new central heating boiler in Margaret O’Donnell’s flat, when she fell through an uncovered hatch and sustained a fracture to her bone at the top of her arm, and an undisplaced crack in the thigh bone.

The court heard that work of this nature is usually completed within a day, and involves a hatch cut in the floorboards to allow access to pipe work and cabling. Though tenants are given an information sheet to sign indicating the extent of the work, there is no mention that a hole may be cut into the floorboards.

An investigation into the incident found that the hatch was cut into the floorboards outside Mrs O’Donnell’s living room door and, without ensuring it was covered, the joiner had left the premises to complete a different task.

The team later heard shouts from Mrs O’Donnell, who had fallen into the hatch. After being helped out, she claimed she was fine so no first aid or medical assistance was sought by any of the council employees, and they did not report the incident until a few days later.

Some hours later, the 77-year-old’s family was made aware of the incident, and that Mrs O’Donnell’s shoulder was sore. She was taken to hospital and discharged later that day, but returned less than a week later complaining of pain.

Eight days after the incident she was admitted to hospital once again, this time with a speech impairment that was possibly due to a stroke. Additionally, she was referred to physiotherapy because of reduced movement in her arm.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the Council employees had failed to ensure satisfactory measures were in place to prevent falls. Furthermore, no steps had been taken to provide staff with equipment to cover the open hatches, and they were not made aware of the importance of doing so.

What was the outcome?

Renfrewshire Council pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £20,000.

HSE Inspector, Russell Berry, said:

“This incident was both entirely foreseeable and easily preventable. Renfrewshire
Council’s own risk assessment stated that all open areas of flooring
should be covered indicating it was well aware of the
risk from an open access hole.

“However, they did not provide information to workers about the need for covers or
ensure covers were used by their employees to protect tenants during the work.

“It was evident that significant risks of injury were present during the installation
work and as Margaret O’Donnell remained in the flat during the work, the
risk of personal injury was even greater. Simple measures such as
a temporary plywood cover would have eliminated the
risks and prevented this incident.”

If you, or someone you know, have been affected by public negligence, and you would like expert advice, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email claims@hampsonhughes.com

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The Employment Liability and Public Liability Process

by Jonathan Alderton, Hampson Hughes Solicitors

Our approach in advancing each Employers’ Liability (EL) and Public Liability (PL) claim is all encompassing – meaning that we will take care of everything. Due to the often complex nature of these claims, seeking expert assistance from trained professionals could mean the difference between the eventual success or failure of the case.

Employers’ liability

The first step in bringing a successful claim is to establish liability. In the case of an accident at work, there is the potential for a culture of blame sharing to arise between a company and its subsidiaries – locating a solvent and viable insurer that is willing to accept that its corporate client is at fault could prove difficult.

However, through a combination of gathering information from Companies House and from the Employers’ Liability Trading Office (ELTO) – alongside carefully analysing information supplied by the Client – locating the correct party against which the claim may be brought could take less time than you might think.

Public liability

In the case of Public Liability tripping claims, we look toward photographic evidence and Locus Report facilities in order to identify the responsible party.

Recently, my colleague Andrew Fairman wrote a blog on a case that focused on establishing liability – the study raised the question of landowner liability in cases of trips or falls on adjacent unadopted highways. Another recent case involved tracing the history of a highway to 1835, so as to raise a presumption of a local Council’s liability. One further example involved applying the Montreal Convention to an accident involving a multinational airline, so as to establish the boundaries of the duty of care owed to its passengers.

The above examples serve as evidence of our ability and determination in successfully settling your claim.

Personal injury compensation claims

If you have been involved in a non-fault accident, and you believe that you would benefit from the creative thinking that sets us apart from our competitors, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today. Call 0800 888 6888 for a free and confidential consultation with one of our experts.