A joiner has been awarded compensation after suffering a serious allergic reaction to a certain kind of hardwood dust.
Brian Ogden made the claim against his brother’s company, Classic Joinery Manufacturers, who he had been working for from 1984. He first noticed problems with the dust of Iroko hardwood timber over 20 years ago.
Inhalation of the Iroko dust caused Mr Ogden breathing difficulties and irritation to his throat and nose.
When the company undertook a large project using Iroko wood back in 2008, Mr Ogden told management of his allergy to the dust. He was provided with an air-filter mask but within days he became seriously ill.
He was taken to hospital with breathing problems and swelling to his face and eyes. He returned to work and was given a more expensive mask. He had problems again however when the battery on the new mask was not replaced.
The Manchester Evening News reports that he has now received compensation from the insurers of the company. The company went into liquidation in 2009 and Mr Ogden now reportedly works as a building skills teacher.
A NHS Trust has been fined after contractors were unknowingly exposed to asbestos during maintenance work.
The incident happened at Sunderland Eye Infirmary in March 2012. The contractors drilled through the door surrounds of a ward to install cables. However, a member of staff at the Infirmary raised concerns that the door surrounds were made of asbestos insulating board.
Asbestos insulating board is not dangerous unless it is damaged or disturbed. This then causes the asbestos fibres to be released into the air, which is a health risk.
The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive, who found that the Control of Asbestos Regulations had been broken. This was because City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust did not inform the contractors that there was asbestos in the door surrounds. This was despite the fact that the Trust had an asbestos survey which highlighted the presence of asbestos.
City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust pleaded guilty to breaking Control of Asbestos Regulations at court last week and were fined £3,000.
Workers exposed to asbestos can go on to suffer serious health issues such as mesothelioma later in life.
A council on Merseyside has been fined after 29 of its employers developed Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome from using vibrating machinery.
At Wirral Magistrates Court yesterday, it was recounted that 29 workers for Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council had developed Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) in just over a four year period between 2005 and 2009.
HAVS can cause the tips of the fingers to go white. It also causes pain and numbness, with heightened sensitivity to cold weather. The effects are mainly irreversible.
The council employees, who developed HAVS, did so from using vibrating equipment to cut grass, trees and bushes. The Health and Safety Executive investigated the council and found that they had not assessed the risks of using such tools, and had not taken steps to limit exposure to vibrating tools.
The HSE reports that one of the workers who developed the condition, worked as the Head Green Keeper at Hoylake Golf Course. After developing HAVS from the prolonged use of mowers and strimmers, he had to move jobs to one that does not use machinery.
The council pleaded guilty to breaking Control of Vibration at Work Regulations at Wirral Magistrates Court yesterday. They were fined £25,000.
An engineering firm from Swansea has been fined after workers were exposed to asbestos.
Wall Colmonoy Ltd had contracted out work to renovate a building opposite its premises to Oaktree Construction. The plan for the company was to expand its operations into the new site.
Wall Colomonoy Ltd had two surveys undertaken into the presence of asbestos on the site. These surveys (later deemed inadequate) found that asbestos was present in some areas of the building.
The Health and Safety Executive told Oaktree Construction that a Refurbishment Demolition Survey was required before work began. Despite this, demolition work started on the building.
During the demolition, an asbestos insulation board was damaged. Debris from the asbestos insulation board was found on the floor of the building when a HSE inspector made an unannounced visit months later.
The HSE decided to prosecute Wall Colomonoy Ltd for breaking health and safety regulations. They found that the firm failed to appoint a competent co-ordinator for the work. The asbestos surveys the company had were poor and had been confirmed as inadequate by a licensed asbestos remover. No attempts had been made to safely remove the asbestos or prevent the risk of exposure. The firm was fined £16,000 last week.
Oaktree Construction were also prosecuted by the HSE, and were similarly fined £8,000 this week. This was because they broke regulations regarding the control of asbestos by failing to prevent its employee’s exposure.
A former steelworker has received a compensation payout after suffering from hearing loss due to work conditions.
Kenneth Clarkson worked at two different South Yorkshire companies between 1956 and 1999. He was exposed to loud noise from cranes and fork-lift trucks whilst working at JJ Habershon and Sons. He was also exposed to loud noise levels from machinery whilst at work for Tata Steel.
Mr Clarkson was never provided with personal protective equipment to protect his hearing from the effects of noise exposure. He was also never warned about the possibility of noise induced hearing loss.
The Star reports that the exposure to noise whilst at work has left Mr Clarkson with permanent hearing damage. This means that he will require the use of a hearing aid for the rest of his life.
The paper reports that he has now received £4,710 compensation for his hearing loss. This money will help to cover the cost of the hearing aids that Mr Clarkson needs.
He tells the paper that the background noise in the steelworks was very loud but was easy to get used to. He states that he was unaware of the lasting damage this background noise could have on his hearing.
A company has been fined after its employees were exposed to dangerous chemicals.
The exposure happened to staff at Endeavour Speciality Chemicals Ltd. The chemicals in question are used in food production to flavour products and for smell purposes, but can be hazardous in large quantities.
Employees of the chemical manufacturing company had to pour these chemicals into containers so that they could be delivered to the firm’s customers. However, there was not adequate ventilation in the work area and employees suffered as a result.
One female employee was confirmed as suffering from occupational asthma and rhinitis after undertaking regular work with the chemicals. The conditions have meant that she is now unable to work with chemicals, and has found another job.
The Health and Safety Executive investigated the working practices at the company and found a lack of risk assessment into the packing work on the premises. This resulted in a lack of measures to control employee’s exposure to hazardous chemicals.
At Northampton Magistrates’ Court last month, the company pleaded guilty to breaking the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations. They were subsequently fined £15,000.
A spokesperson for the HSE stated afterwards that simple measures such as a fume cupboard, ventilation or PPE could have made the handling of such chemicals safe.
A man has been left suffering from asthma after being exposed to ozone gas whilst at work.
Richard Sharp was servicing a UV light system for a soft drinks manufacturer back in July 2010. He had been given a permit to work in the plant room of Cott Beverages Ltd but had not been told that ozone gas was present.
The ozone gas was used as a disinfectant by the company, and had been present in the plant room since generating equipment had been fitted in 2001.
Mr Sharp was exposed to the ozone whilst working and has been left with acute irritant asthma as a result. His occupational asthma is severe enough to have made him unable to return to work since. He is now highly sensitive to chemicals, with many everyday smells such as exhaust fumes or perfume capable of causing him an asthma attack.
The premises of Cott Beverages were subsequently investigated by the Health and Safety Executive. They found that the risks of the ozone generating equipment had not been sufficiently assessed. They also discovered that there was no safe system of work for servicing equipment and staff were not adequately trained to issue work permits safely.
The company was fined £20,000 yesterday for breaking health and safety law.
A HSE inspector stated that the company knew of the ozone leak but did nothing to protect workers from exposure to the gas.
A gardener is suing a Baroness, arguing that the noise of power tools has caused him to go deaf.
Clifford Sayers worked for Baroness Chelwood and her late husband (former MP) Tufton Beamish on the 200 acre estate in East Sussex. He started employment with the couple in 1981, working up until 2000.
During his employment, he claims that he regularly had to use loud power tools such as chain saws, lawnmowers and strimmers. He claims that this prolonged exposure to loud noise has left him with tinnitus and a 45% reduction in his hearing capacity.
Now, the Telegraph reports that Mr Sayers is in a legal battle, seeking compensation for hearing loss. The Court of Appeal in London has just heard that his reduced hearing means that he struggles to hear the television and hold conversations with his wife. He is said to be seeking £25,000 in compensation.
It was also heard in court that Mr Sayers complained to Lady Chelwood about ringing in his ears, only to be allegedly rebuffed and told she would get similar symptoms when loading guns.
The case is at the Appeal Court as Mr Sayers case was ruled by a county court judge to be past the time limits set for claiming. However, his legal team are arguing that he did not realise he had a case until years after leaving Lady Chelwood’s employment.
A decision on the appeal will be made at a later date.
A former railway worker is reported to have received a compensation payout for his work-relater hearing loss.
Denis Mackie worked as a boiler maker for British Rail between 1967 and 1978. His job involved being exposed to loud noise, mainly from the riveting guns that were used as part of the job.
Mr Mackie was not given protection against the noise by his employers, and he went on to develop hearing difficulties. However, he was only told of the cause of his deafness just three years ago.
After staff at Great Western Hospital in Swindon informed him that his former work conditions were the cause, he started an industrial deafness claim, the Swindon Advertiser reports. A basic test can be performed to identify if hearing loss has been caused by noise exposure or simply from the effects of growing older.
The legal team representing British Rail attempted to argue that Mr Mackie was out of time to make a claim and was therefore not due any compensation. However, it was ruled that because Mr Mackie had only recently found out the cause of his hearing problems, his claim would be successful.
The amount of compensation Mr Mackie has received has not been reported.
A school science technician is reported to have received compensation after being exposed to dangerous fumes.
April Walsh worked as a senior science technician at Richard Rose Central Academy in Carlisle, Cumbria at the time of her exposure. The incident happened when the lid of a bottle of bromine became corroded and caused fumes to escape.
The escaping fumes filled the small poisons cupboard where the bottle was kept and seeped into the prep room next to it. When Mrs Walsh entered this room she was exposed to the fumes and began to feel irritation in her eyes, throat and nose right away.
Mrs Walsh received medical treatment and the rooms were made safe by firefighters, who had to smash windows in the poisons cupboard to let the fumes escape. Mrs Walsh continued to suffer from headaches and chest problems for weeks after her exposure, but luckily has not suffered any long term health problems.
It is reported in the North-West Evening Mail that staff at the school had complained to management about the poisons cupboard. They argued that it was unsuitable as there was no ventilation and the windows in the room did not open. They also claimed they were not given adequate personal protective equipment.
The paper reports that Mrs Walsh made a chemical injury claim against the school, which has just been successful. Her legal team successfully argued that the poisons cupboard should have had ducted ventilation, and that the school should have took action when staff raised concerns. She is reported to have now received £3,500 compensation.