Blind man seeks compensation after Tasered by police

Industry news roundup: week ended 29 Oct 2012:

News broke this week how one poor man has decided to seek personal injury compensation after being Tasered by police in a case of mistaken identity.

Colin Farmer, a sixty two year old man from Chorley who is legally registered as only partially sighted and blind after suffering two strokes, was Tasered from behind with a debilitating 50,000 Volt Taser gun by a police officer after the law enforcement official thought he was, of all things, a samurai sword wielding thug. Poor Mr Farmer had been on his way down to his local pub to meet some of his mates for a few pints, using his white walking stick, when it was mistaken by Chorley police – who had been alerted to some sword wielding man in the area – for the weapon.

Mr Farmer had been moving slowly at the time due to his disability when police ordered him to stop. However, the man mis-interpreted the shouting as a street thug attempting to mug him, and in the resultant furore the police officer Tasered him in the back, causing him to collapse on the pavement face first.

Once the police realised the grave mistake they made, they rushed the blind man to Chorley Hospital for treatment. However, the injured man has since made the decision to make a personal injury claim against the police.

It has been reported that later that night the police found the actual individual they were looking for in the first place. The self-styled street samurai, a twenty seven year old male, was apprehended whilst in possession of the martial arts weapon and taken into police custody, where he will undoubtedly need to use all his samurai skills to emerge from this unscathed.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is understood to be launching an investigation into the incident and will hopefully uncover how anyone could not only mistake a blind man’s walking stick for a two-handed sword wielded by ancient Japanese warriors, not to mention how it could be justified to Taser the same blind man from behind as he fled from the offier at the breakneck speed of of a disabled shuffle. We can only hope that Mr Farmer has the best of luck in pursuing his accident claim.

Head injuries all around for UK workers

Industry news roundup: week ended 22 Oct 2012:

It was a bad week for UK workers, with not one but two pretty nasty incidents involving head injuries recently that left employees reeling.

First up was when one care worker from Reading was injured in a ceiling collapse. Ironically it was the ceiling of a hospital that collapsed on David Kennedy’s head as he worked to help patients in the dining room of Tilehurst’s Prospect Park Hospital.

Mr Kennedy not only sprained his right shoulder in the collapse but suffered head injuries that left him with tinnitus and other hearing problems in the incident. He launched a personal injury compensation claim against the hospital manager, Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, on the grounds that the hospital should have closed or cordoned off the dining room while maintenance workers undertook work on the ceiling.

Mr Kennedy’s personal injury solicitors, provided by his union, said that hospital managers were aware of problems with the ceiling for months before the incident that led to the man’s injuries. The claim was settled out of court after the NHS Trust admitted its liability for the incident, though the amount of Mr Kennedy’s damages award was not made public.

Another injury that made the news this week was that of Zach Martin, a twenty year old agency worker that had been undertaking work at Wyman-Gordon Ltd at their Lincoln-based metal components factory. Mr Martin was laid low when his safety visor was smashed by a grinding wheel that had broken loose at the factory, causing such injury to his head that he required 83 staples.

Mr Martin fractured his skull and sustained severe injuries to to his face, requiring a surgical procedure lasting five hours to remove a bone fragment that had been become lodged in his brain. The Health and Safety Executive had an absolute field day with the resultant investigation, discovering that the injured man had only been given perhaps five hours of rudimentary training on the apparatus and had not even been given instruction on how to change the factory’s grinding wheels properly.

The firm was given a £16,500 fine by Lincoln Magistrates’ Court at a recent hearing after it admitted to breaching health and safety regulations.

Injuries lead to tens of thousands of pounds in compensation

Industry news roundup: week ended 15 Oct 2012:

This week, two personal injury compensation awards were made for a total of more than £75,000 due to a personal injury at work and a medical negligence claim.

First up, one Sunderland car seat factory employee walked away with a massive compensation award of £60,000 for her repetitive strain injury after her employers sett;ed the matter out of court. Angela McGuckin, fifty years of age, had been working as a production operative for Tacle Seating at their Houghton plant over the course of the development of her injury.

The diminutive Mrs McGuckin, just 5ft 2in tall, had been working at a high table using an air gun to staple fabric to foam starting in 2007, requiring her to raise her elbow high above her head over and over again in order to perform her task. However, after performing these tasks, she soon noticed that her shoulder and elbow were causing her pain, but it took more than a year after both Mrs McGuckin’s repeated complaints and the recommendation of the company doctor before the table was actually lowered.

By that point, the damage had been done, necessitating Mrs McGuckin to take time off work to have her injury treated through surgery. The woman missed three months of work as a result, but has since been compensated for her injury thanks to the massive £60,000 payout.

Next up, we have one woman from Lincolnshire who had to suffer through a botched wisdom teeth removal that left her with numbness in her face. Christina Knights, thirty nine years old, had thought she was going in for a routine surgical procedure at Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital in Grimsby, but she was left with numbness in her lower lip and chin after two nerves in her lower jaw were severed by accident.

The woman has since developed severe issues due to the lack of feeling, including difficulties speaking and eating. Ms Knights has also said that her bottom lip will turn completely blue in cold weather as well – information hat contributed to her successful personal injury claims against the NHS Trust for Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals, which settled her claim out of court for a sum of £15,250.

School bullies major headache for local councils

Industry news roundup: week ended 8 Oct  2012:

The ‘bullying epidemic’ in the UK has become a major headache for the nation’s schools, costing local councils nearly £110,000 in legal fees last year alone.

Personal injury compensation payouts made to victims of school bullies throughout the course of the last school year have grown from isolated incidents to a growing trend, thanks to nearly one dozen pupils brought personal injury claims for injuries caused by other students. Lancashire Council alone had been found to pay out around £28,000 towards the final total on three separate bullying incidents alone for instances of assault, broken arms, and crushed hands alone.

It’s not just an instance of one school ‘in a rough neighbourhood,’ either, as other injuries have occurred in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, where a £7,500 compensation award was given to one pupil who sustained injuries to his shoulder an arm after he was accosted in his classroom.  A similar incident occurred in West Yorkshire was even more costly to the local authority, with Bradford Council having to pay out on a £8,300 damages award.

For every instance where bullying has been a major problem in schools in the UK to the point where a personal injury compensation claim was made, there are tens of thousands of less high-profile cases. In fact, Department of Education figures say that there were 62,460 suspensions from school for physical altercations between students, wile there were 760 cases serious enough to expel the offending pupil permanently.

The Campaign for Real Education commented on the news, with a Campaign spokesman remarking that it is clear that bullying behaviour coming from these violent children is wholly responsible for these incidents. However, the responsibility lies with adults to put an end to violence and bullying in UK schools, calling for more intervention from teachers, administrators, and – above all – parents.

Behavioural experts say that most bullies come from homes with little to no positive role models in their personal lives. Many bullies are emotionally neglected or even abused by inattentive parents, leaving the blame squarely on the shoulders of those who should have the most influence on a young child’s life yet do not do enough to set the young boy or girl on the proper path ; in fact, many bullies learn the behaviour directly from their parents, who tend to be bullies themselves in turn.

The HSE is at it again with a brace of new fines

Industry news roundup: week ended 1 Oct 2012:

It’s been work accident claims as far as the eye can see lately, with the Health & Safety Executive putting the hurt on negligent employers.

One recent news story of the HSE’s continued rampage against employers with more business sense than a sense for their employees’ safety came recently, as 25 year old farm worker who had his hand mangled by a potato crusher as he attempted to clear a blockage in 2009.

The man, whose name hasn’t been released to the public, had been working at the Sleaford-based Waterloo Farm, picking up some casual work during the potato harvest. However, due to the rocky soil of the farm the potato crusher fitted to the farm’s harvesting equipment became blocked with stones repeatedly, which resulted in farm workers having to signal the driver of the harvester stop the machine and deactivate it before reaching inside the crusher to clear the blockage.

However, the incident that led to the personal injury at work occurred when the driver missed the worker’s signal yet stopped for an unrelated reason. The worker, incorrectly believing that the driver had stopped and isolated the power to the crusher, reached inside, only to have three tendons in his right hand severed by the mechanism, resulting in the HSE investigating and then prosecuting the farmer for neglecting to set a safe work system up or undertaking a proper risk assesment – resulting in a £20,000 fine for the farmer.

Another food-related accident the following year also made it into magistrates’ court recently as well, though this one didn’t involve a mechanical mangling. Instead, one snack manufacturing company employee broke his leg when he was trapped under an avalanche of falling waste after a forklift truck to turn transport solidified production waste.

Another unnamed man, who had been working for Walkers Snack Foods Ltd at the manufacturing firm’s Lincoln plant, had been attempting to move the waste with the help of a colleague after it had been filled to the brim with production line waste run-off. The men had been moving the block of solidified waste with the forklift to place it into a bin, only to have the block come tumbling down because the fork lift became stuck at the top.

The 400kg block crushed the man’s leg, causing severe enough injury to require a 15 week recovery period where he was unable to work. The company, which had been found to have not undertaken safe planning, supervision, or execution of the work that caused the man’s injury, was fined – again for £20,000, much like the farm company.