HSE takes egg production company to task for work injuries

The Health and Safety Executive has taken an egg production firm based in Bromsgrove to task after learning that one of its employees lost two of his fingers in a gruesome accident at work, experts say.

Bumble Hole Foods Ltd had hired the twenty five year old man – whose name has been withheld from the public – to clean one of the drains on the factory’s production line, but he lost his index finger and part of his middle finger when one of his hands came into contact with a heavy-duty blade within the drain mechanism.  The HSE became involved after gaining knowledge of the young man’s work accident claim, launching an investigation into the incident that revealed the firm had neglected to conduct an adequate risk assessment regarding workers who were instructed to clean around the blade, also discovering that the factory’s employees were granted access to the dangerous internal workings of many machines without being given proper safety training by qualified professionals.

The Worcestershire-based company, located at Fockbury, in Bromsgrove, was called befor a hearing at Redditch Magistrates’ Court by the HSE, where the watchdog agency successfully prosecuted the firm.  As a result, Bumble Hole Foods Ltd admitted to breaching health and safety regulations concerning the provision and use of work equipment, earning a fine of £13,000 for the role their negligence played in their worker’s injuries, and were also told to pay court costs totaling £6,303.

After the hearing was adjourned, one inspector from the HSE remarked that not only had the unfortunate accident been completely foreseeable, the incident could have been prevented all too easily.

Cyclist seeks £300k in damages after RTA

One cyclist that was paralysed following a devastating road traffic accident has gone in search of a personal injury compensation award in excess of £300,000 from the driver that struck him, it was recently reported.

According to an article published in the South Wales Argus newspaper, Chespstow native Dan Black, twenty four years old, had been cycling on his way to work when Patrick Barrett, of Sedbury, struck him with his car.  The cyclist sustained a myriad of injuries in the incident, including skull, collar bone, and rib fractures, as well as damage to his kidney and spleen; most serious was the broken vertebra and damaged artery that he suffered, which left him paralysed and suffering from a stroke respectively, requiring spending five weeks in a medically-induced coma in order to facilitate his recovery.

Mr Black had been entertaining plans to pursue a military career by joining the army before his horrific accident.  However, these plans have now been dashed, and as a result, the paralysed man, after taking legal advice, has made a claim against Mr Barrett for more than £300,000 on the grounds that the driver had negligently attempted to make a right turn while it had not been safe to do so.

Mr Barrett’s team of defence lawyers has plans to argue that Mr Black bears a measure of responsibility for the injuries he sustained.  The cyclist, according to the defendant, neglected to display adequate lights during the hours of darkness, had been riding at too high a rate of speed, and failed to keep a proper lookout – all things that could reduce or even eliminate the amount of compensation to be made available to him.

Waste recycling company fails to protect workers, prosecuted

A waste recycling firm was found to have taken inadequate steps to protect its workers from lead poisoning, leading to its prosecution by the Government’s Health and Safety Executive, according to work accident claim experts familiar with the incident.

Edmonton, London-based Metal and Waste Recycling, Ltd employed more than ninety of its workers in stripping lead sheathing from a large quantity of copper cable from British Telecom, yet after it was discovered that a large number of these workers were found to have dangerous levels of lead present within their bloodstream, the HSE investigated, revealing that the recycling firm’s employees had not been given adequate protection from exposure to the toxic substance.  The personal injury compensation experts that investigated on behalf of the HSE found that not only were the recycling plant’s workers not issued with respirators or face masks to minimise inhalation of lead, the plant lacked adequate ventilation to remove fumes or microscopic airbourne led particles.

The HSE also discovered the firm neglected to carry out blood tests on its workers, despite the fact that they are required to do so by law in the event that their employees are working with the toxic substance.  A medical professional affiliated with the HSE was instead appointed to carry out these tests on the exposed workers, discovering that twenty three of the firm’s workers had very high lead levels within their blood – and six of these twenty three were exhibiting symptoms of lead poisoning, necessitating their admission to the St Thomas’ Hospital’s specialised toxicology ward.

Teenager injured in floor collapse, may make accident claim

When Leah Frederick went out for a bite to eat on her birthday, she didn’t expect to end up being rushed to the hospital after being caught in the collapsing floor of a local takeaway pizza shop in St Helens, accident claim experts writing for the local newspaper recently reported.

An article appearing in the St Helens Star recounted the story of the teen, who suffered injuries to her arm and leg after falling through the shop’s floor while out with friends celebrating her eighteenth birthday.  Personal injury compensation experts say that Ms Frederick had been walking across the floor of Carlos Pizza, located on Westfield Stret in St Helens town centre, when the floor opened beneath her feet, sending her plummeting down nearly two metres where she came to rest on the shop’s cellar floor.

The stricken teen was rescued by emergency services, which then rushed her to hospital in order to be treated amidst fears of suffering fractures to her spine, as the young woman found she was immobile upon being caught in the collapse.  However, Ms Fredericks only suffered extensive and painful swelling and bruising and ultimately emerged without any broken bones.

An investigation has been launched by St Helens Council into the incident in order to determine what caused the floor of the takeaway shop to collapse.  The local authority is currently waiting for the structural report’s findings before taking any legal action, but Ms Frederick has reportedly sought out legal advice for the incident, indicating that she may be making personal injury claims against the pizza shop’s owners.

Birmingham City Council spends £5m on work accident claims

Birmingham City Council has spent nearly £5 million in personal injury compensation after five years’ worth of successful work accident claims were made against it, industry experts recently reported.

According to a recent freedom of information request made by the Birmingham Post newspaper, the local authority has made £4.9 million in compensation payments since 2006 for accident claims including asbestos exposure, slips and trips, and injuries brought about by a lack of staff training.  Noteworthy claims reported by the newspaper include one employee receiving a £1,750 compensation award following his injury from a collapsing toilet seat and the £36,000 in compensation paid out in an asbestos exposure incident.

There were several instances of compensation of £10,000 or more, according to the information received by the newspaper.  The injuries of one employee suffering from hand arm vibration syndrome earned him nearly £11,000, while another employee who was struck by a falling object was awarded a £15,000 payment from the local authority for the damage the object caused.

One council spokesman commented on the figures, remarking that over the period of time concerned the council had nearly 48,000 people in its employ.  The average number of claims the local authority handled on a yearly basis was around 100, the spokesman also said, adding that Birmingham City Council felt that it could take pride in its health and safety management strategy not just within the council itself but in the community at large as well.

Whenever an accident occurred, the circumstances leading to the incident were reviewed carefully, with any needed revisions to safety procedures taking place as quickly as possible, the spokesman added.

APIL says insurers, government needs to face the facts

The government and the nation’s insurance industry need to face the facts when it comes to the responsibilities they have towards the injured, according to the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers.

Incoming April president of the APIL, Karl Tonks, said that the legal system has a responsibility to deliver fair personal injury compensation to those who are entitled to the same.  Insurers that act to delay a valid accident claim are incurring unnecessary legal costs that can delay the sometimes desperately needed compensation awards for those injured through no fault of their own, Mr Tonks added.

The new APIL president described the insurance industry as suffering from a ‘terrible dysfunction,’ especially as insurers will not only pass along these exorbitant legal costs to their customers by rising their premium prices, but will also bar those who suffer from industrial and work-related ailments from claiming compensation because it is impossible for these individuals to trace down the insurers of the companies that saw them injured.

Stating that the path to damages for all too many injured individuals ‘is littered with broken promises,’ Mr Tonks called upon the government and the insurance industry to institute ‘a fund of last resort’ in order to provide compensation for those without recourse under the current legislative system.  The injured need to be treated better than statistics, the president also said, throwing down the gauntlet to the government to broaden its horizons from simply listening to the insurance industry and big business.

Listen to those who are slowly losing their lives to an asbestos-related illness or to the surviving family members who lost a love one to a personal injury at work, Mr Tonks said.  These people deserve the ear of the government as much as its most ardent – and wealthy – supporters, the president asserted.

Government told to not abandon those needing to make claims

The government was recently told not to abandon those Brits needing to make accident claims by the incoming president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers at the APIL’s annual conference, experts say.

Incoming APIL president, Karl Tonks, stated that it is the legal system’s duty to provide fair recompense to those in genuine need and who are deserving of a personal injury compensation payout.  The current system is in dire need of reform, Mr Tonks said, as he indicated that under civil litigation rules as they stand presently, injured parties face unreasonably long wait times to receive funds desperately needed because insurers have the ability to contest personal injury claims before a costly trial, which incurs unnecessarily high legal costs.

Mr Tonks called for more support to be given to the injured at the same time as the government announced its plans to tighten its grip on false motor injury cases which drive up the costs of car insurance premiums.  Insurers say that they are drowning in a sea of their own costs because of increases in both the volume of motor injury accident claims and the amount of compensation awarded to those injured as a result, and that they have no choice but to recover these costs by charging their customers ever higher premiums year after year.

Insurers point the finger not only at fraudulent claims made by scammers and criminals but also at ‘ambulance chasing’ lawyers that encourage spurious claims in order to line their pockets with success fees.

Young boy awarded £6m in medical negligence compensation

After it was found that errors made by hospital staff during his birth led to his severe brain damage, one nine year old boy has been given a medical negligence compensation award of £6 million.

Born at the Nottingham City Hospital in December 2002, the young boy, whose name was not made known to the press to comply with legal requirements, suffered oxygen starvation at the time of his delivery, according to personal injury claims experts writing for the Nottingham Post newspaper.  The nine year old was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a result of his oxygen deprivation, a condition which has left him with severe learning difficulties and has made it difficult to feed himself and to communicate verbally.

The boy’s mother and father launched a medical negligence compensation claim on behalf of their injured son against the hospital’s administrators, the Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.  The High Court in London recently approved a settlement amount of £6 million in order to compensate both him and his family for the negligence of hospital staff that led to his debilitating injuries, with the payment going towards covering the cost of the young boy’s rehabilitation and professional care costs, as he will need fully managed around the clock care for the remainder of his life.

The Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust’s chief executive apologised unreservedly to the young boy and his family, calling the hospital error a ‘devastating’ one that has caused heart-wrenching distress to everyone involved.  The nine year old’s family has selflessly lavished him with high levels of care and devotion in order to provide for his many needs, earning praise from the High Court judge during the trial proceedings.

Secretary Clarke makes formidable legal aid bill concessions

Justice secretary Kenneth Clarke recently announced that those victimised by domestic violence will not lose access to legal aid in order to provide no win no fee lawyers in civil cases they bring against civil partners.

The amendments being made to the legal aid bill, which has proven wildly unpopular because of how scaled back access to justice could be for those who need to rely upon no win no fee arrangements in order to bring personal injury claims against defendants, are ‘formidable’ ones, according to the justice secretary as he announced the concessions the government has agreed to in part.  Clarke made an attempt to reach out to the bill’s opponents by lowering the threshold required for proving domestic violence had occurred as MPs continued to debate it after peers struck blow after blow against the measure.

Originally, the government would have male or female domestic violence victims resort to official channels in order to gain access to legal aid for divorce and other civil proceedings, though legal aid would still be made available for all restraining order cases.  However, the justice secretary made the announcement that the government would be extending the definition of domestic violence allow victim refuges and GPs to provide evidence, while also extending the time period that domestic violence victims can claim legal aid from one year to two.

Clarke categorised the government’s response as quite generous due to its views concerning the importance of providing support to victims of domestic violence.  Those who have been victimised over the past two years will likewise be given a blanket exception, an independent source from the ministry of justice added.

Are politicians simply targeting no win no fee lawyers?

Some industry experts say that politicians may be seeking the easy way out in blaming no win no fee lawyers for social issues because it is easier to pass the blame than it is to accept it and work towards suitable solutions.

There is a long history of targeting personal injury lawyers for the nation’s legal woes, and many legal experts say that when ministers point the finger at legal professionals for creating a ‘compensation culture’ that is crippling the nation’s insurance providers through high legal costs associated with accident claims, they conveniently neglect to point out that insurers do much to bring about the situation as well.  The truth of the matter is that many claimants would not be able to afford to take legal advice without no win no fee lawyers willing to forego payment until the case is successful, especially if the new legal aid bill working its way once more through the Commons emerges with its funding cuts intact.

Insurers, many legal experts say, are much more responsible for the current situation than is let on, as the practice of selling on the personal details of their customers to law firms, which these insurers euphemistically refer to as ‘charging referral fees,’ encourages the legal community to pursue policyholders that may have viable claims after being involved in traffic collisions through no fault of their own.  The rationale of an insurance provider who participates in taking referral fees is that their customers are bringing suit against rival insurers, thus increasing costs for the competition, but seem to suffer from a lack of realisation that their rivals are doing the same thing back to them, leading to a vicious cycle that is more harmful than it is beneficial.