Blog Archives

Joiner Wins Compensation after Allergic Reaction to Wood

Author: • Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

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.

Lighthouse Worker Wins £21k Compensation after Hurting Back in Boat

Author: • Monday, February 11th, 2013

A lighthouse worker has been awarded £21,500 compensation after injuring her back whilst in a boat.

Rosemary Cairns was working as a finance assistant at the time of the accident in October 2009. She was paying a visit to the lighthouse on the Isle of May (located in the Firth of forth) to carry out an inventory check on equipment.

She was in a rigid inflatable boat as it set off from Pittenweem on its journey. As they approached the island, the sea became choppy and the waves became higher. The boat rode up on the waves a couple of times before slamming back down onto the water.

The first time this happened Mrs Cairns felt something in her back. On the second slam down she screamed out in agony as she felt pain in her back. She was taken to hospital and had to take 15 months off work with her back injury.

STV reports that she sought damages for her injury from both the owners of the boat and her employers the Northern Lighthouse Board.

A Judge in the case ruled that the speed the boat was travelling at (17 to 18 knots) was too fast for the sea conditions. This speed caused an increased risk in the boat slamming and was hence caused a foreseeable risk of injury to passengers.

It was also deemed that the safety briefing given by Calypso Marine – the owners of the boat – was inadequate because it did not relate the need for bracing when travelling.

It is reported that Mrs Cairns will now receive £21,500 compensation.

Man's Arm Mangled in Industrial Accident

Author: • Monday, February 11th, 2013

A man has been left with a serious arm injury after an industrial accident involving a slatwall machine.

Christopher Davidson was using the machine in his job at Design and Display Ltd in Elland, Yorkshire. The accident happened in February 2011 whilst Mr Davidson was making large wall panels.

Mr Davidson had experience using the slatwall machine to cut wall panels and had even trained colleagues on how to use the machine. However, the machine had problems before the accident that caused the chain to come off the rollers.

The problem happened again whilst Mr Davidson was using the machine, and so the maintenance team were called to fix the problem. When the machine restarted, he tried to pull a piece of tape from the front of the machine but his arm was pulled into the mechanism.

Design and Display Ltd have just been fined £2,000 in regards to the accident and breaking work equipment regulations. The risk assessment for the machine had reportedly missed the gap in which Mr Davidson placed his hand.

It was noted in court that the company had a previously exemplary safety record in its 23 years of trading. The machine was regularly checked for defects and staff were trained before operating it.

The injury Mr Davidson suffered in the accident has left him without movement in his right arm. The Halifax Courier reports that he is making a compensation claim against the company.

Worker Burnt after Striking Electricity Cable whilst Fitting Fencing

Author: • Thursday, February 07th, 2013

A worker suffered serious burns after they accidentally struck an electricity cable whilst fitting fencing.

The 41 year old worker (who has not been named) was undertaking work at Northgate Vehicle Sales Ltd in November 2010. He was working on the refurbishment of the car park and was fitting fencing in the area.

Each base post of the fencing structure required a hole to be dug for it to go in. The man was using a groundbreaker tool to do this and had been told that there were no underground electricity cables to worry about.

However, the worker’s groundbreaker tool did in fact strike an underground cable, causing a fireball that vaporised the tip of the tool and burnt the worker’s arms and face.

The HSE found that Northgate Vehicle Sales Ltd had not passed on information relating to hazards such as underground cables to the contractor carrying out the work. This contravened construction regulations and a prosecution was brought as a result. A fine of £12,000 was issued against the company after they pleaded guilty at court yesterday.

The HSE reports that 7 people died and 88 were seriously injured by electricity in the workplace during just one year in the UK.

Insurers Appeal Compensation Award as Pedestrian was not Wearing High-Vis

Author: • Thursday, February 07th, 2013

Insurance company, Churchill, have been given leave to appeal a compensation award to a young pedestrian hit by a car.

A High Court Judge had previously ruled in favour of 16 year old Bethany Probert in the case about an accident that happened in December 2009. She was walking home from a riding stable when she was struck by a car.

Ms Probert was wearing headphones and walking in the darkness on the country lane, but was stood on the grass verge when she was struck. She was thrown into a ditch by the car and the driver had to go back and find her.

Ms Probert suffered serious injuries in the accident that have caused lasting health problems. With the help of her family, she made a damages claim against the insurers of the car and a High Court hearing ruled that the incident was entirely the driver’s fault.

The BBC reports that the insurers have now been given leave to appeal the decision that their driver was wholly responsible. They are thought to be arguing that Ms Probert should have been wearing some form of high-visibility jacket whilst walking on the lane.

The appeal is now set to take place at a later date. Ms Probert is thought to be seeking compensation of over £3million to pay for her ongoing care.

Fine for Paint Manufacturer after Worker Left in Back Brace by Fall

Author: • Wednesday, February 06th, 2013

A paint manufacturer has been fined after one of its workers needed a back brace after being injured in a fall.

An accident happened at the premises of Intercoat Industrial Paints Ltd in Walsall during December 2011. Brian Sparrow was working to install a mezzanine floor some three metres above the ground.

The incident occurred when Mr Sparrow fell from an unguarded edge during this work. He had completed the framework for the floor and was attempting to fit metal plates onto this framework when he fell.

The fall caused Mr Sparrow to fracture two vertebrae. This injury required him to wear a back brace to help keep his back straight. On top of this, he suffered numerous minor injuries such as a bruised shoulder and broken tooth. He has been unable to return to work so far because of the injuries he suffered.

An investigation was carried out by the Health and Safety Executive into the accident and the work to build the floor. It was discovered that the floor installation had not been properly planned, risk assessed or supervised. For example, employees were allowed to continue to work beneath the floor during its construction.

After a hearing at Walsall Magistrates’ Court this week, a HSE inspector stated that the accident was entirely preventable. After an admission by the company to breaking health and safety law, a fine of £3,000 was issued by magistrates.

Teenage Worker Loses Five Toes in Wood Chipper Accident

Author: • Wednesday, February 06th, 2013

A teenage worker lost five toes in an accident involving a wood chipper.

Connor Harfield was just 16 years old when the accident happened in September 2011. He was working for Calibra Tree Surgeons Ltd, and was just three weeks into his first ever job.

Mr Harfield was feeding waste shrubbery and tree stumps through a mobile wood chipper machine for his employers. He was using his foot to speed up the process, and had placed his right foot into the chute.

However, as he was doing this, his foot caught on the rollers that feed shrubbery into the chipper. This caused his foot to be pulled between the blades of the machine and he suffered a devastating injury.

Mr Harfield lost all the toes on his right foot in the accident. He also lost part of his foot and has been left with post traumatic stress disorder.

The HSE found that the wood chipper was poorly maintained and missing a safety bar at the bottom of the feed tube. The company kept the chipper in use despite knowing of this defect.

The HSE also found that the young worker was not adequately trained or supervised to use the dangerous machine.

A fine of £7,000 was issued to Calibra Tree Surgeons Ltd by Magistrates yesterday after they pleaded guilty to breaking work equipment and health and safety regulations in regards to the accident.

£35k Compensation after Gastric Band Surgery Error

Author: • Tuesday, February 05th, 2013

Compensation totalling £35,000 has been awarded after mistakes were made during a gastric band procedure.

Rachel Benefer underwent surgery at Hull and East Riding Classic Hospital back in 2007. She had struggled to lose weight due to health problems. After a long time waiting, she was reffered for gastric band surgery.

The procedure was performed via keyhole surgery and appeared to go well. However, after she was discharged, it quickly became apparent that something had gone wrong.

She was in intense pain and was taken to intensive care where she spent two weeks, and was later induced into a coma. In total, she was in hospital for five weeks and had to undergo further operations.

She suffered numerous health complications, including acute peritonitis. The Grimsby Telegraph reports that the problems occurred due to the surgeon failing to close up one of the small incisions used for the entry of the surgical equipment.

The paper also reports that she has now received £35,000 compensation for the surgical error she suffered.

Mrs Benefer is quoted as warning people of the risks and complications possible from gastric bypass surgery.

Car Manufacturer Fined after Polishing Accident Severs Fingers

Author: • Tuesday, February 05th, 2013

A large car manufacturing company has been fined after one of its employees severed fingers in a polishing accident.

Cesar Santos was injured in the accident at Honda UK’s plant in Swindon during February 2012. He was using a manual lathe when he suffered the devastating finger injury.

Mr Santos had a metal component spinning on the lathe as he was polishing it with an emery cloth. As he was coming to the end of the polishing task, his glove became caught and entangled in the machinery.

The accident caused two of the fingers on his right hand to be severed. The injury kept him off work for the following six weeks. Although he has now returned to full duties at work, at times he needs assistance from others.

The investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found that Mr Santos’ glove became caught whilst he was distracted by supervisors. The company has a policy highlighting that gloves should not be worn when using machinery. In this instance however, the policy was not enforced.

At a hearing at Swindon Magistrates’ Court yesterday the company admitted to breaking health and safety legislation. As a result of this they were fined £10,000.

Horticultural Company Fined after Dumper Injures Worker

Author: • Monday, February 04th, 2013

A horticultural company has been fined after a dumper truck overturned and injured a worker.

Grzegorz Krzyzak was injured in the incident at Parkers Nurseries in October 2011. He and two colleagues were undertaking work to replace a path in a greenhouse. To do this, he was using an articulated dumper truck to remove soil from the area.

He was tipping the truck to empty it of soil when it overbalanced and overturned onto its side. His right leg was trapped underneath the truck, which weighs approximately one tonne. The accident caused him numerous bone fractures to his leg and foot, for which he had to undergo several operations. Despite these procedures, it is not clear if he will regain full use of the leg.

The HSE discovered that the accident happened due to a lack of appropriate training concerning using the truck safely. Despite the fact that the man and his colleagues struggled to read English, the instructions and manual for the truck given to them by the company were written in English.

The HSE brought a prosecution against the company for breaking work equipment regulations in this regard. Last week, they pleaded guilty at Colchester Magistrates, Court and were subsequently given a fine of £5,000.

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