Sometimes it doesn’t pay to go off to work in the morning

Industry news roundup: week ended 29 July 2013:

Everyone’s had days where they would rather stay in bed instead of going to work, as these two blokes that got injured on the job recently can attest to.

First up the unfortunate tale of a very unlucky brewery worker that ended up a few fingers short after a run-in with a faulty grain dust extractor. The poor man had been busy trying to clear a blockage on the extractor by hand, but as he reached deep into the machine’s chute the rotary valve inside made short work of his index and middle fingers.

Poor bastard needed five surgeries to repair his hand. On top of that, the Health and Safety Executive found out that the brewery’s owners, Hall & Woodhouse Ltd, had somehow neglected to place any arrangements in place for employees to clean out the piece of machinery besides, you know, sticking your hand in.

I swear it’s like employers have their heads up their arses when it comes to employee safety. This poor man should get the biggest, meanest personal injury solicitor he can find and he should sue the pants off his employer; I’ll wager that will be the last time that brewery looks at safety issues the same way!

Meanwhile, this isn’t just an isolated incident. Another story I read recently recounted how another food industry worker – this time the health and safety manager for a Lincolnshire frozen potato product manufacturer, ironically enough – ended up showered with scalding hot 160-degree oil because he inadvertently knocked into a pipe as he was keeping an eye on an unrelated procedure.

62 year old Harvey Hopwood, an employee of PAS (Grantham) Ltd, was simply making sure the lads were jet washing the facility’s oil storage tank properly when the incident occurred, which left him with 10 per cent burns over his upper body. Poor Mr Hopwood was laid up for a month before eventually having to leave the company due to his injuries, which occurred because the pressure valve of the pipe he came into contact with fell right off.

This is another case where I hope Mr Hopwood has a very aggressive injury solicitor working for him. I can’t imagine the pain, suffering, and indignity of having to be showered with boiling hot oil because my employer is too lazy to ensure that all the pressure valves at their facility are secure and working properly!

Injury claims a-plenty predicted for two manufacturers

Industry news roundup: week ended 22 July 2013:

Some days it just doesn’t pay to get out of bed: not one but two manufacturers are likely facing costly injury claims after serious work injuries.

It’s gruesome and nobody wants to think about it – especially me – but manufacturing workers are often the recipient of some of the worst incidents of personal injury at work out there. Yes, construction workers often suffer nasty falls from height, and we can’t discount the type of injury an office worker can get if he or she slips and falls on the job, but by and large the worst and most painful injuries often occur to these poor blokes who work in manufacturing roles.

I mean, did you hear the story of Michael Taylor? The man was working for The Paper Pallet Company when his hand was pulled into a laminating machine. If you don’t have any idea what these machines do, they have two massive rollers designed to glue things together, and that’s where Michael’s and and arm ended up getting sucked into.

The poor man’s injuries were absolutely dreadful. In fact it took a total of four surgical procedures to get his hand back into some semblance of working order, and he still needs physiotherapy; even in the face of all that work, his doctors say there’s a good chance he may not regain the full use of his arm even after all that effort.

On top of that, it turns out the laminating machine wasn’t guarded properly, which spells bad, bad news for Michael’s employers. This sets up a situation where Michael can bring a personal injury claim against The Paper Pallet Company, and let’s be honest: he probably deserves every single penny he can get from them.

Meanwhile things aren’t much better in Somerset at the Brothers Drinks Co Ltd manufacturing plant, where another worker ended up arm-deep in yet another machine. This time it was a depalletiser that nearly severed the arm from the 52 year old employee (his name is being withheld from the press); the machine, which features a mechanism that swipes empty bottles from a conveyor on their way to be filled with whatever drink the firm is bottling that day, started up suddenly while the worker was trying to clear a stoppage.

Maybe it’s just me but shouldn’t employers ensure that their machinery doesn’t do that? It’s not too bright to operate unguarded pieces of machinery like that, especially when a work accident claim is going to absolutely ruin a company; perhaps these firms will learn their lesson?

Mind the gap or you might need to make an injury claim!

Industry news roundup: week ended 15 July 2013:

Public transport can be a pain, but it can be positively dangerous to your health as well; nowhere is it more dangerous than in London!

At least that’s what it looks like if a recent Freedom of Information request can be believed, as it came out this week that the London Underground has seen so many accidents over the past four years that it’s had to pay out on £2.5 million in personal injury compensation to thousands of injured tube riders. There were some 3,471 injuries last year alone – an increase of some 200 over 2011 figures, according to the information – with the most common occurrences being trips and falls.

You should be especially careful if you get on or off at Kings Cross St Pancras as well, as this station has the dubious honour of being the most dangerous. Transport for London received 147 passenger injury reports in 2012, making it the clear ‘winner;’ from 2009 to last year there were a total of 661 reported injuries in all.

Budget cuts have been the culprit, according to the Road Transport Union, as stations with skeleton crews simply can’t keep up with the maintenance needs of a massive railway network like the Underground. I wonder if it would have been cheaper to simply pay the salaries of a few more railway workers instead of paying out on such an enormous number of accident claims over the past four years!

It’s not just passengers that need to watch their necks, either; the few railway workers left are also experiencing some rather serious injuries whilst on the job. In fact i read about how a 32 year old railway worker that was severely burnt in an explosion has ended up with a massive settlement after he was left in the burn unit for an excruciating 10 weeks.

The poor man suffered 30 per cent burns to not just his upper body but his face as well, causing severe injuries and limiting his ability to breathe and speak. He also has ended up with poor movement in his right hand due to numbness and is now permanently disfigured as well, all because he had been working on a power cable that hadn’t been isolated properly and was actually coursing with electricity.

Can you imagine the pain and suffering this railway worker has had to endure since his personal injury at work? I suppose tripping down the stairwell at a tube station seems like a rather minor injury indeed in comparison, doesn’t it?

Win modestly but dream big when it comes to damages

Industry news roundup: week ended 8 July 2013:

When it comes to personal injury compensation claims, it’s all right to dream big – but don’t be afraid to take a modest win if you can.

At least that’s the lessons that I’ve gleaned from this week’s crop of injury news anyway, especially when I’ve read about one successful claimant taking a £15,000 settlement offer even as another one makes a new claim for nearly £650,000! It’s a big gap, but I think it illustrates the point perfectly: aim high, but don’t leave money on the table.

Lina Waghorn definitely made the right decision in my case when she accepted a settlement offer from Dundee City Council the other day. The senior education officer for the council had brought a work injury claim after a nasty spill down some stairs saw her with a broken leg as she was working as one of the school’s musical theatre producers in 2011.

Mrs Waghorn initially faced more than a bit of pushback from her employers based on the fact that they said she wasn’t working in her normal role at the time of the injury. The whole matter was being hotly debated when the city council finally decided to just offer the injured woman the settlement – probably because its legal costs were mounting – and not wanting to prolong the matter on her side either, the injured woman wisely took it. Good on her!

Of course, just because your end result is relatively modest doesn’t mean you can’t reach for the stars. That’s what one seriously injured carpenter is doing with his £645,000 accident claim made against a film company for a grisly injury involving a table saw on the set of the Adam Sandler movie ‘That’s My Boy.’ Notwithstanding whether or not Adam Sandler should be sued for his horrid sense of humor or not, the injured carpenter named him and other production company bigwigs in his compensation claim for the injury that saw more than one finger sawed clean off his right hand and probably left him with nightmares for the rest of his life!

The table saw just wasn’t adequately guarded, according to his personal injury claim, and if this turns out to be the truth then Happy Madison is going to be in big, big trouble. Sandler’s going to have to put out a few actually funny movies to pay this legal bill, if you ask me!

In all honesty I haven’t actually seen ‘That’s My Boy,’ but it looked absolutely rubbish. I’m sure I’m not missing anything.

Only those deserving should bring accident claims

Industry news roundup: week ended 1 July 2013:

There are all too many people with legitimate injuries that deserve personal injury compensation – yet there are still those that try to game the system.

Luckily when it comes to those trying to pull the wool over on insurers it seems that these bastards are caught quite regularly. In fact, one such high-profile instance in the news this week was the exposure of 31 year old David Ribchester as a complete and utter fraud after his insurer secretly filmed him playing rugby – despite the fact that he was making injury claims for nearly £1 million in compensation due to wrist injuries he allegedly suffered back in 2006.

Ribchester swore up and down that he couldn’t conduct simple tasks such as hold his baby daughter, pick up and carry shopping bags, or even drive, but something smelled fishy to RSA Group and decided to clandestinely follow him about for a few days. Much to Ribchester’s chagrin, the insuerr caught him on camera engaging in activities such as playing the drums, driving, carrying shopping; the rugby playing was just icing on the duplicitous cake if you ask me.

Well Ribchester was rewarded for his blatant falsehoods by being awarded an eight month jails sentence and the only thing I can say is ‘good,’ considering how he tried to game the system like that. It just makes things that much harder for people who are legitimately injured and need of financial help!

However, this week saw another high-profile accident claim that turned out much better for the claimant, considering she made off with £14 million in damages. Unfortunately the injured party – a 17 year old girl who was left with life-changing injuries from a car crash at the age of nine and is confined to a wheelchair that she controls with her chin, needs the cash to provide for her medical needs for the rest of her life, which includes the need for a ventilator.

The terrible car accident that left her completely paralysed hasn’t slowed the girl down though, considering that she completed her AS levels. Not only that, she’s set her sights firmly on university with an eye to seek out languages as a career path.

Good on her, I say. She’s infinitely more deserving of that massive financial reward than that fraudster Ribchester; I wish that girl nothing but the absolute best of luck and success in all her endeavours.