Birmingham pensioner has harrowing near-miss

Industry news roundup: week ended 28 Jan 2013:

Bingo has never been so dangerous: one pensioner nearly lost his life when his car windscreen was demolished by an unsecured barrier at a local Bingo hall.

Mr Kenneth Compton, a native of Great Barr, Birmingham, had just dropped his wife off at the Gala bingo hall in Erdington when an unsecured security gate weighing a quarter of a tonne unexpectedly fell down onto his vehicle’s bonnet. The weighty security gate demolished the front of the Renault Scenic and hit with such force that it actually went up through the windscreen and coming to rest embedded in the roof of the car – and somehow miraculously only giving Mr Compton a glancing blow.

The eighty year old pensioner was indeed lucky to be alive, as the force of such a road traffic accident could have easily slain him where he sat in the vehicle. However, Mr Compton’s personal injury claims only included a fractured eye socket and a serious head injury, suggesting that perhaps there’s a guardian angel keeping an eye on the man.

The incident was subject to an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive, with HSE inspectors discovering that the heavy metal grate had, at one point, been secured with a sturdy padlock. However, at an unknown date previous to the incident, the padlock had not just been removed but whomever had taken it did not bother to replace it, leaving it unsecured and balanced precariously, waiting for a hapless and unknowing victim to venture underneath the heavy guillotine-like blade of the metal gate.

Gala Leisure Limited, the owners of the Bingo hall, ended up pleading guilty to breaching several Health and Safety regulations, which earned it a fine of £25,000. The firm will most likely be found liable for the damages sustained to Mr Compton’s car – and more importantly to himself as well – and will be asked to pay the pensioner personal injury compensation.

Poorly guarded machinery leads to serious hand injury

Industry news roundup: week ended 21 Jan 2013:

It was revealed this week that a serious personal injury at work involving a piece of machinery that was poorly guarded has resulted in fines for one employer.

According to a hearing recently occurring at Stafford Magistrates’ Court, an unnamed employee of Bathgate Slate Technologies Limited, a Newcastle-under-Lyme building products manufacturer, suffered serious injuries to his hand after a run-in with a piece of machinery that was poorly guarded. Bathgate had been trialling the new piece of machinery – which produced bricks coated with sand – at the time of the incident, which involved the employee’s hand becoming trapped within the machine as he reached in to remove finished bricks from within it.

According to the injured worker’s personal injury claims, he had been removing the bricks from the conveyor at the end of the machine, but when he reached in his hand became pinned between the conveyor belt and a roller just underneath it. This crushed his hand so severely that, upon rushing him to the North Staffordshire Hospital, it was discovered that there was no way to save his little finger and that doctors had little choice but to amputate it in order to save the hand; the injured man’s ring finger was also damaged so severely by his injury that it necessitated the surgical implantation of a pin.

The Health and Safety Executive went positively mad after discovering that the incident occurred, sending investigators to Bathgate Slate to get to the bottom of such a gruesome and painful work accident. HSE invesigators discovered that there had been plans to install proper safety guarding to the brick making machine once the trial period had come to an end, even though installing the guards during the trial would have completely prevented the painful and debilitating injuries sustained by the hapless worker. been totally avoided.

The HSE prosecuted Bathgate Slate, which resulted in the Chesterton-based manufacturer to admit its guilt in breaching Health and Safety rules. The company was slapped with a £4,000 fine with an additional £5.464 in legal fees and court costs for its mistake.

New data reveals NHS pays through the nose for negligence

Industry news roundup: week ended 14 Jan 2013:

Botched surgical procedures have led to massive personal injury compensation payouts by the NHS for medical negligence over the years, new research reveals.

Newly published data by the NHS has revealed that negligent surgeons, GPs, and other medical professionals have bungled the care of so many Brits that the NHS Litigation Authority has shelled out £1.7 billion in damages over the last fourteen years. NHS staff have been making so many errors that eight new patients are either left with an amputated limb, impaired or lost vision, or with brain damage every week – a chilling figure indeed if you have a hospital visit scheduled for sometime in the immediate future!

Since 1998, more than 800 individuals have brought personal injury claims against the National Health Service for blindness alone, official figures reveal. Not only hat but there were 1,500 compensation claims for the loss of a leg or an arm, while a shocking 2,860 have made claims in the wake of being treated so negligently that the end result was brain damage.

The 2010-2011 financial year saw in excess of £30 million being awarded to victims of medical negligence, according to the newly released figures. That year, there were 56 claims involving blindness, 134 amputation cases, and 215 brain damage incidents with a combined litigation value of £18 million, all of which poured out of the pockets of the NHS Litigation Authority in order to pay for the long-term care needs of those left without sight, limb, or reasoning ability.

However, the massive lawsuit bill wasn’t all related to instances of medical negligence. In fact there was a very small proportion of accident claims that involved slips and trips or falls that occurred on hospital grounds, but the lion’s share of compensation payouts went to those poor patients that had the bad luck to have an incompetent medical professional providing them care.

A NHS Litigation Authority spokesperson commented on the new – and rather chilling figures – remarking hat for the most part the NHS was excellent at providing safe environments for their patients. However, in the event that mistakes were made, any patients injured in such incidents had an ironclad right to compensation, the spokesperson added.

Turns out not everyone loves bacon after all

Industry news roundup: week ended 7 Jan 2013:

While bacon is one of those wonderful foods that nearly everyone enjoys eating, it was revealed this week that one man has reason to dislike the foodstuff.

Orbital Foods Ltd worker Rui Sousa suffered massive crush injuries to his arm in a personal injury at work after it was caught in a bacon press machine at Orbital’s Chapel Pond Hill location in an incident that occurred in March of 2012. The engineer had been working to recondition the machine when the accident happened, but unbeknownst to him the press’ safety feature had been overridden, and the machine’s power and air supply were still connected as Mr Sousa undertook his work, only to have the press suddenly start up, crushing his arm in the process.

The poor man will mos likely never be able to think of bacon the same way again after suffering such severe injury, all because someone had either meddled with the machine or had not realised that the safety feature of the press was no longer working as it was supposed to. Unfortunately for Mr Sousa’s employer, the Health and Safety Executive got wind of the incident, launching an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the engineer’s injuries and discovering that not only had there been no safe system of work put in place by Orbital Foods but that there had not been any risk assessments carried out regarding the use or maintenance of the bacon press that flattened Mr Sousa’s arm – and left him with most likely a lifelong aversion to bacon as well.

The HSE proseuted Orbital Foods to the hilt for violating health and safety violations. The company folded under the watchdog’s onslaught, entering a guilty plea at Magistrates’ Court recently and walking away with more than £10,000 in fines and court costs combined; bad luck for Orbital Foods but not unexpected.

There’s no word on whether Mr Sousa will be seeking personal injury compensation for his injuries, but it can only be assumed that such a lawsuit may already be underway. Hopefully the injured engineer’s personal injury lawyers will secure a sizable damages award for him.