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.

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