Building Company Fined after Work Accident Injury

Home » No Win No Fee » Latest Personal Injury News » 2014 » 7 » Building Company Fined after Work Accident InjuryBuilding Company Fined after Work Accident InjuryA building company and the director of a roofing firm have been ordered to pay sizeable fines following a workplace accident that led to an employee suffering serious injuries.In 2012, a self-employed roofer had been under the control of John Donald of John Donald Roofing, which had been sub-contracted to carry out work on a building project by Right Angle Ltd.During work on a project in which three residential properties were being refurbished and extended, the unnamed worker was at one point clearing materials from a flat roof.He saw a piece of ply board that he thought was debris so he picked it up. However, the board was actually concealing a roof light void. The man, who was aged 28 at the time of the accident, ended up falling from a height of 5.6 metres.Multiple bones in his back were fractured and broken during the fall, while his thigh, lungs and diaphragm were bruised.The extent of the employee’s injuries meant he could not return to work for more than a year, and he has been left with a persistent back problem that requires treatment in hospital. This means he has had to seek employment elsewhere.HSE Work Accident InvestigationA work accident investigation launched by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after the accident and a number of failings were identified at the building site.The HSE criticised John Donald and Right Angle Ltd for failing to take adequate steps to mark and protect voids in the roof.HSE Inspectors described the measures that had been in place as “totally unacceptable” and warned that many workers on the site could have experienced a similar accident. The HSE also identified a number of other shortcomings on the site, including open staircases without handrails and a lack of edge protection on scaffolding.In addition, excess rubbish and debris on the building site was said to have created numerous slip and trip hazards, while there were various fire risks with insufficient prevention measures in place.The HSE concluded that the defendants had not properly planned, managed or monitored the work, which meant that the accident had been completely avoidable.Right Angle Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and was handed a £15,000 fine in a hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court. The company was also ordered to pay £5,375 in costs.In addition, John Donald admitted breaching the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £4,000, plus costs of £3,695.Danielle Coppell, an inspector at the HSE, commented, “There were numerous failings on the part of Right Angle Ltd that exposed multiple operatives to a host of foreseeable risks, including falls, slips and trips.”John Donald has to accept culpability as an experienced roofer who should have known better. He instructed the injured worker to work in an unsafe area where there were wholly insufficient measures in place to prevent or mitigate a fall.”Ms Coppell added that the consequence of their shortcomings is that a young man has been left with life-changing spinal injuries, from which he might never completely recover.By Francesca WitneyOr Call freephone 0800 884 0321SHARE THIS

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Asbestos Blunder Results in Demolition Firm Fine

Home » No Win No Fee » Latest Personal Injury News » 2014 » 3 » Asbestos Blunder Results in Demolition Firm FineAsbestos Blunder Results in Demolition Firm FineA Portsmouth company has faced criminal charges today after it stripped more than 50 metres of asbestos board without the correct licences.James Site Services, of Cosham, was taken to Court by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after inspectors carried out a routine inspection at one of its small development sites in Fareham, Hampshire and uncovered serious failings.Asbestos InsulationPortsmouth Magistrates’ Court was told that James Site Services, which specialises mainly in site preparation for demolition projects, had been hired to strip out asbestos from a bungalow that was due to be refurbished.During an inspection, the HSE discovered the company had illegally removed 54 metres of cancer-causing insulation boards, even though it did not have the correct licence.Only registered tradesmen are allowed to handle asbestos removal work because of the dangers it poses, with Mesothelioma cancer, which is caused by fibres from the material coating the inside of a worker’s lungs, resulting in hundreds of deaths a year in the UK.Asbestos Survey IgnoredAlthough James Site Services had correctly commissioned a survey to identify the presence of asbestos, the HSE said the company chose to ignore its findings and carried out the asbestos removal work itself, exposing workers to serious dangers.For its part in this decision, James Site Services was fined a total of £500 and told to pay £1,000 in costs after it pleaded guilty to a single breach of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.In cases where executives ignore the concerns of third parties in relation to asbestos, penalties are normally larger, but because James Site Services is only a very small company, the sanctions were made less severe.”Serious Failing”Speaking after his organisation’s successful prosecution, HSE inspector Dominic Goacher said, “This was a serious failing on the part of the company. Having received the survey they asked for, it looks as though no one at James Site Services bothered to read it. Or, if they did, they disregarded its contents and failed to act to protect workers from possible exposure to one of the deadly killers in industry.”HSE operates a highly-regulated licence regime in order to ensure work with asbestos is carried out safely by a skilled, competent workforce. By taking the work on, James Site Services not only put their workers at risk but also gained an unfair financial advantage.”Mr Goacher added that it is very important companies not only get an asbestos survey done, but that they also follow its guidance and ensure that staff members are properly protected.One of the most dangerous factors in dealing with asbestos is that it is almost invisible and is very hard to identify at first glance.Asbestos Hidden Killer CampaignIn an attempt to highlight the dangers of exposure to asbestos materials, the HSE recently launched its Hidden Killer campaign to educate small business owners on the seriousness of asbestos inhalation.Not only can improper asbestos extraction lead to litigation, it can cause those affected to suffer from a slow, painful death, as the inner-lining of the lungs is heavily damaged by the material.By Francesca WitneyOr Call freephone 0800 884 0321SHARE THIS

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Genetic cause of heart valve defects revealed

Heart valve defects are a common cause of death in newborns. Scientists at the University of Bonn and the caesar research center have discovered “Creld1” is a key gene for the development of heart valves in mice. The researchers were able to show that a similar Creld1 gene found in humans functions via the same signaling pathway as in the mouse. This discovery is an important step forward in the molecular understanding of the pathogenesis of heart valve defects. The findings have been published in the journal “Developmental Cell.”Atrioventricular septal defect (AVSD) is a congenital heart defect in which the heart valves and cardiac septum are malformed. Children with Down’s syndrome are particularly affected. Without surgical interventions, mortality in the first months of life is high. “Even in adults, unidentified valve defects occur in about six percent of patients with heart disease,” says Prof. Dr. Michael Hoch, Executive Director of the Life & Medical Sciences (LIMES) Institute of the University of Bonn.For years, there have been indications that changes in the so-called Creld1 gene (Cysteine-Rich with EGF-Like Domains 1) increase the pathogenic risk of AVSD. …

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Cable Strike Leads to Fines

Home » No Win No Fee » Latest Personal Injury News » 2014 » 3 » Cable Strike Leads to FinesCable Strike Leads to FinesTwo firms based in the North East of England have been fined by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after workers were put at risk of electrocution.Chester-le-Street company Northern Construction Solutions and its Hexham-based counterpart Egger UK were taken to Court by the authority after failings were found in the management of groundworks by inspectors.Cable strikeNewcastle Magistrates’ Court was told that the cable strike took place as work was being undertaken at Egger’s site by Northern Construction Solutions.Staff members were asked to excavate an area in front of a newly built electrical substation in order to install a drainage system that would prevent power outages in the future if there was heavy rain or flooding from nearby rivers.To complete this task they used a digger, but as the bucket of the vehicle came into contact with the ground after a brief period of excavation, it touched onto a 20 kV underground electrical cable, something with enough power to easily kill any human in close proximity.Injury avoidedLuckily, workers were not electrocuted, despite the metal digger touching the live cable.The accident was recorded and passed on to the HSE, which sought to discover why staff members of Northern Construction Solutions were allowed to be in such close proximity to dangerous cables.It was concluded that it was Egger’s duty to provide Northern Construction Solutions with information regarding the location of electric cables.But while Egger gave the contractor an out-of-date diagram without the live wires in place, something that goes against health and safety law, Northern Construction Solutions knew this was the case and did not inform workers.FinesFor its part in the avoidable accident, which the HSE said could have led to multiple deaths, Egger was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £578.90 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching regulation 22(1)(a) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.Northern Construction Solutions was also sanctioned and told to pay a combined £4,761.60 in costs and fines after pleading guilty to breaching regulation 13(2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.”Fatal consequences”Even though nobody was injured in this case, the HSE has been quick to condemn both companies involved for putting their workers at risk of harm through a lack of record-keeping and poor communication.HSE Inspector Andrea Robbins said, “Fortunately nobody was hurt in this incident. However, the potential for serious, even fatal, injuries was foreseeable.”Had both Egger and Northern Construction Solutions adequately planned and managed the risks arising from contact with live underground cables before the excavation work started, e.g. isolation of the services, provision of up-to-date and accurate information on the location of the underground services, then this incident would have most probably been avoided.”The construction industry needs to be more aware of the dangers of working in the vicinity of live underground services. Appropriate planning and control measures should always be in place.”By Francesca WitneyOr Call freephone 0800 884 0321SHARE THIS

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Students on field course bag new spider species

As a spin-off (pun intended) of their Tropical Biodiversity course in Malaysian Borneo, a team of biology students discover a new spider species, build a makeshift taxonomy lab, write a joint publication and send it off to a major taxonomic journal.Discovering a new spider species was not what she had anticipated when she signed up for her field course in Tropical Biodiversity, says Elisa Panjang, a Malaysian master’s student from Universiti Malaysia Sabah. She is one of twenty students following the course, organised by Naturalis Biodiversity Center in The Netherlands, and held in the Danau Girang Field Centre in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. The aim of the one-month course, say organisers Vincent Merckx and Menno Schilthuizen, is to teach the students about how the rich tapestry of the tropical lowland rainforest’s ecosystem is woven.Besides charismatic species, such as the orangutans that the students encounter every day in the forest, the tropical ecosystem consists of scores of unseen organisms, and the course focus is on these “small things that run the world” — such as the tiny orb-weaving spiders of the tongue-twistingly named family Symphytognathidae. These one-millimetre-long spiders build tiny webs that they suspend between dead leaves on the forest floor. “When we started putting our noses to the ground we saw them everywhere,” says Danish student Jennie Burmester enthusiastically. What they weren’t prepared for was that the webs turned out to be the work of an unknown species, as spider specialist Jeremy Miller, an instructor on the course, quickly confirmed.The students then decided to make the official naming and description of the species a course project. They rigged the field centre’s microscopes with smartphones to produce images of the tiny spider’s even tinier genitals (using cooking oil from the station’s kitchen to make them more translucent), dusted the spider’s webs with puffs of corn flour (also from the kitchen) to make them stand out and described the way they were built. They also put a spider in alcohol as “holotype,” the obligatory reference specimen for the naming of any new species — which is to be stored in the collection of Universiti Malaysia Sabah. Finally, a dinner-time discussion yielded a name for this latest addition to the tree of life: Crassignatha danaugirangensis, after the field centre’s idyllic setting at the Danau Girang oxbow lake.All data and images were then compiled into a scientific paper, which, via the station’s satellite link, was submitted to the Biodiversity Data Journal, a leading online journal for quick dissemination of new biodiversity data. Even though thousands of similarly-sized spider species still await discovery, Miller thinks the publication is an important one. …

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Employee Injured by Reversing Vehicle

Home » No Win No Fee » Latest Personal Injury News » 2014 » 3 » Employee Injured by Reversing VehicleEmployee Injured by Reversing VehicleA Hampshire waste company has been fined by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after a worker was injured by a reversing digger in Eastleigh.Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London has heard that Martin Jewell, 49, from Gosport, suffered life-changing injuries in the accident from which it is unlikely he will ever recover.The accidentMr Jewell, a skip driver, had just completed a job when the accident took place and was returning to the Solent Waste Services site to see if any more work was required.The logistician made his way to a storage unit and asked the digger driver inside to pull out a skip and fill it up, before he turned away and started to walked towards a nearby office.However, as he did this the digger reversed into him, knocking him over and crushing his legs.HospitalAfter being rushed to hospital, Mr Jewell was diagnosed with life-changing injuries that included a double fracture to his right shin bone, as well as broken bones in both of his feet.While broken bones can often be quickly healed, the extent of the compression caused by the weight of the equipment on Mr Jewell’s legs caused him more serious damage than would normally be expected.The skip driver also had to go through a number of painful operations and required extensive physiotherapy to regain movement in his legs, although he has not yet made a full recovery.Vehicle segregationAfter being informed of the accident, the HSE launched an investigation in an attempt to ascertain if anyone was to blame in the case, or if it was Mr Jewell’s fault. An extensive analysis of the Solent Waste Services site found that traffic was not properly segregated, meaning that pedestrians were in close contact with vehicles.This was, according to inspectors, a clear violation of pre-existing guidelines as any industrial site with large vehicles, including diggers, in operation should have a safe work plan in place to stop these kinds of accidents from happening.For its part in Mr Jewell’s accident, Solent Waste Services Limited, of Withy Meadows, Dutton Lane, Eastleigh, was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay £19,752 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Sec 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.”All too often”After the hearing was finished, HSE inspector Zahir Agha criticised Solent Waste Services for its poor practice, directly blaming it for Mr Jewell’s injuries.”Incidents of this kind, where vehicles strike workers because movements are not properly controlled, occur all too often in the waste sector and result in a number of deaths and serious injuries every year,” the inspector explained.”Work around moving vehicles has to be properly planned, in line with guidance that is readily available through HSE and others. Solent Waste Services could and should have done more, and as a result Mr Jewell has been left with debilitating injuries from which he may never fully recover.”By Francesca WitneyOr Call freephone 0800 884 0321SHARE THIS

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Contractor Fined after Worker Crushed by Steelwork

Home » No Win No Fee » Latest Personal Injury News » 2014 » 3 » Contractor Fined after Worker Crushed by SteelworkContractor Fined after Worker Crushed by SteelworkHCL Equipment Contracts has been fined in Court after serious safety failings were found to have contributed to an industrial accident.Serious injuriesThe case involved an unnamed 39-year-old man from Barnsley who was crushed under the weight of a collapsed steel framework.Leicester Magistrates’ Court heard that the employee, who was working with a colleague to cut steelwork into pieces, before dropping them into a frame, suffered “serious crush injuries” because of his employer’s neglect.Both of the men who worked on the cutting project wore harnesses and lanyards that were not suitable for the job they were doing, something that put them at risk of harm. After cleaning various parts of the structure they were dismantling, the men began to work on a standing conveyor.The duo aimed to weaken the component so that it would fall onto the platform they were standing on to make their job easier, but as the 39-year-old was finishing a cut the conveyor dropped to the floor earlier than had been expected.CrushedThe 380 kg object struck the man directly and fractured his sternum, broke two vertebrae, fractured eight ribs, broke a number of teeth and caused deep cuts in his skull that needed 58 stitches.Health and Safety Executive (HSE) bosses immediately sent inspectors to HCL Equipment Contracts after hearing about the accident in order to ascertain the facts of the case.Investigations at the site revealed widespread poor practice, including a lack of proper escape routes, as well as serious failings in the processes involved in scrapping large metal frameworks.For its part in the unnamed worker’s accident, HCL Equipment Contracts was given a large fine totalling £10,000 and told to pay £491 in costs after executives pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.”It could have been avoided”After the hearing at Leicester Magistrates’ Court finished, HSE inspector Tony Mitchell said, “HCL Equipment Contracts Limited was responsible for the welfare of its workers and for ensuring the dismantling work was carried out in a safe manner.”Our investigation found that if this work had been properly planned and risk assessed, and sufficient training given, it could have been avoided.”Tata SteelHCL Equipment Contracts is not the only steelworks company to have been fined by the HSE in recent months.In January, Tata Steel, an Indian manufacturing giant with a plant in south Wales, was fined £25,000 and told to pay £8,320 in costs after it pleaded guilty to three separate breaches of health and safety legislation.The case involved an employee, who had worked at the plant for 34 years, whose hand became trapped in a pair of steel pinch rolls, leading to serious crush injuries and the amputation of half of his index finger and part of his middle finger.HSE inspector Steve Lewis said, “This was a completely needless and entirely preventable incident that left an employee with a permanent impairment.”By Chris StevensonOr Call freephone 0800 884 0321SHARE THIS

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Caravan Firm in Court After Worker Fall

Home » No Win No Fee » Latest Personal Injury News » 2014 » 3 » Caravan Firm in Court After Worker FallCaravan Firm in Court After Worker FallA caravan manufacturer has been fined after a worker was seriously injured in a fall from height.An unnamed 30-year-old from Chingford in Essex, who wishes to remain anonymous, fell from a makeshift platform while he was attaching metalwork cladding to the side of a caravan at the Roma Caravans site in Silsoe, Bedfordshire.ProsecutionThe accident led to the firm’s prosecution, after Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors concluded that Roma Caravans did not have a safe system of work and left its staff members at serious risk of harm when they carried out day-to-day jobs.Although a number of safeguard failings were identified by the HSE investigation, the crux of its case against Roma Caravans was the 30-year-old man’s accident, which indicated a lack of oversight when it came to staff safety.Luton and South Bedfordshire Magistrates’ Court heard that the platform the man stood on comprised a wooden plank placed across a metal frame, something that falls well short of expected standards in the manufacturing sector.FallAs the worker attempted to step off the platform to retrieve his tools, the far end of the plank he was stood on swung up and struck him in the groin.This sent him crashing towards the floor, with the makeshift scaffold collapsing around him.After initial observations it was concluded the man had escaped unscathed and suffered only minor bruising, but two days later he collapsed and was diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome.This condition is a set of symptoms stemming from brain damage incurred during a head injury and can appear days, or even months, after the original accident took place.HeadachesThe anonymous worker has, since his original injury, suffered from regular, severe headaches and pains to his hip.For its failure to protect its personnel from harm, Roma Caravans, of Amenbury Lane, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £3,527 costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.Speaking after the prosecution, HSE inspector Andrew McGill said, “This incident was entirely avoidable and illustrates the need for duty holders to ensure work of this nature is carefully planned and managed at all times.”By not providing suitable equipment, Roma Caravans put the safety of a worker at risk. Appropriate and stable work platforms should always be used for any work undertaken at height.”Falls from heightFalls from height remain common in the private sector and the HSE has outlined that it wishes to see an improvement in the coming months, otherwise further crackdowns could be ordered against businesses that put their workers at risk.Earlier this month it was revealed that a London-based scaffolding company was fined by the authority after a self-employed decorator suffered a fractured arm and dislocated shoulder by falling off a temporary structure.Beacon Scaffolding, of Gloucester Avenue, was fined £5,000 and told to pay £1,737 after pleading guilty to a single breach of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.By Chris StevensonOr Call freephone 0800 884 0321SHARE THIS

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Arm Injury Accident at Work Leads to Fine

Home » No Win No Fee » Latest Personal Injury News » 2014 » 3 » Arm Injury Accident at Work Leads to FineArm Injury Accident at Work Leads to FineCEP Ceilings has been hit with a hefty fine following an accident in which an employee’s arm was injured after getting caught in a machine.The worker was operating a amchine at its premises in Stafford last year when his forearm got trapped in its intermeshing metal gears. He subsequently had to undergo skin grafts in order for the wounds to heal.Inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the accident came about partly because CEP Ceilings failed to carry out an adequate risk assessment on the site.The HSE also discovered that the company had not implemented a safe system of work, while employees were not monitored sufficiently when they were using machinery.£24,000 FineCEP Ceilings later pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 at Stafford Magistrates’ Court. The company was ordered to pay a £24,000 fine plus £1,194 in costs.Unsafe Methods ‘Existed for Many Years’After the sentence was issued in court, the HSE criticised CEP Ceilings for having adopted an unsafe way of working for a long time.Wayne Owen, an inspector at the watchdog, said procedures that had not been fit for purpose had “existed for many years” and this led to the employee suffering a “painful injury”.”CEP Ceilings [failed] to effectively assess the risk to employees from using and clearing the machine and then prescribe a system of work which kept employees safe,” he commented.”Workers were left to determine their own methods of cleaning machinery.”Mr Owen insisted that employers must implement safe working procedures and ensure members of staff are properly instructed and trained on how to comply with these rules in full.This, he said, can help to manage risks during both production and maintenance activities at premises where industrial machinery is in use.”A robust system to monitor employees also needs to be in place to detect any poor practices,” Mr Owen commented.Related Work Accident in StaffordshireThe case follows another work accident in which Andrew Thomas, an employee at Marling Leek in Staffordshire, also suffered an arm injury after it got caught in an unguarded machine.Mr Thomas subsequently had to undergo five operations, but was left with permanent scars, while the strength and feeling in his arm has been reduced as a result of nerve damage and muscle loss.The HSE was particularly critical of Marling Leek as it had been prosecuted over a previous accident in the past, but had failed to address the problems and carry out an adequate risk assessment throughout the business.Lyn Spooner, an inspector at the HSE, insisted that carrying out a risk assessment is a “vital process to allow a company to identify significant risk and ensure it is complying with relevant statutory provisions”.She added that there is extensive guidance on preventing access to dangerous machine parts in the workplace to enable employers to comply with the law.By Chris StevensonOr Call freephone 0800 884 0321SHARE THIS

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Window Cleaners Fined Over Compensation Failings

Home » No Win No Fee » Latest Personal Injury News » 2014 » 2 » Window Cleaners Fined Over Compensation FailingsWindow Cleaners Fined Over Compensation FailingsJason Mawson, the boss of a County Durham window cleaning company, has been fined by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) over compensation insurance failings.Darlington Magistrates’ Court was told that Mr Dawson operated a window cleaning company that traded as We-aredale Cleaning and offered local residents their services on a door-to-door basis.Part of his role as an employer required him to hold insurance against injury or disease liability.This would enable his workers to claim compensation for any industrial accident that took place, but his failure to have cover in place left his workers at risk.An inspector from the HSE asked Mr Mawson to produce his insurance certificate a number of times, but he repeatedly failed to do so, even when presented with a formal notice in September 2013.For failing to have adequate compensation cover in place, Mr Mawson was fined £100 and told to pay £755 in costs after he pleaded guilty to breaching the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969.This statute dictates that employers must, at all times, have a relevant insurance policy in place to allow staff to claim redress in the event of an accident.”As well as being a legal requirement, Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance offers important protection for employers and employees alike,” HSE inspector Victoria Wise said.”Without it, if a worker becomes ill or is injured at work, they will not be able to claim compensation from the employer. For employers, insurance covers the cost of legal fees and compensation payouts in the event of a claim by a worker.”In 2013-14 some 148 workers in the UK died as a result of injuries at work and thousands more suffered industrial diseases caused by issues their employer was liable for.But despite this, many small businesses neglect their obligation to arrange Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance, leaving workers out of pocket and at risk of financial insolvency.By Francesca WitneyOr Call freephone 0800 884 0321SHARE THIS

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Company Fined Over Crush Injuries

Home » No Win No Fee » Latest Personal Injury News » 2014 » 2 » Company Fined Over Crush InjuriesCompany Fined Over Crush InjuriesBouygues UK, the principal contractor for an extension project at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, has been fined by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).The organisation took Bouygues to court over its role in the death of Guilherme de Oliveira, 44, from Portugal, who suffered fatal crush injuries in an accident.Chelmsford Crown Court was told that the 44-year-old was working through an agency as a banksman and was responsible for fixing beams across supporting towers to form the concrete structure of a new building.Mr de Oliveira and another banksman climbed the towers to unhook some lifting chains, but was three metres off the ground when he did this.A concrete beam was then lifted up to the duo, but increasingly fast winds made the job difficult.Before the Portuguese man was able free the heavy object from its hooks, winds blew above safe limits and as a result the crane carrying the block moved in the wind, sending it towards Mr de Oliveira and crushing him against an adjacent wall.He died soon after the accident.After being informed of the case, the HSE launched an investigation and found sensors used to measure wind speeds were not being monitored at the time of the accident and that deteriorating weather conditions were therefore not factored into operations.For its part in Mr de Oliveria’s death, Bouygues UK was fined £175,000 and ordered to pay £80,000 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 8 of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations.Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Dominic Elliss said, “Although the judge was not satisfied that the company’s failings were a direct cause for Mr de Oliveira’s death, he said there was a systemic failure where a risk of serious injury was foreseeable.”Lifting operations can be highly hazardous and the appropriate standards are clearly set out in both the regulations and industry guidance.”By Chris StevensonOr Call freephone 0800 884 0321SHARE THIS

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Schoolgirl Injured in Lift Shaft Fall

Home » No Win No Fee » Latest Personal Injury News » 2014 » 2 » Schoolgirl Injured in Lift Shaft FallSchoolgirl Injured in Lift Shaft FallCity of Edinburgh Council has been fined by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after a school girl fell more than five metres down a lift shaft.Morgan Seaton, who was 15 years old at the time of the accident, sustained three fractured vertebrae, bruising and a sprained wrist after she and three other pupils became stuck in a lift at the Liberton High School.Ms Seaton called the school’s office from her mobile phone and teachers quickly arrived and told the children to remain calm while they awaited rescue.But instead of phoning the emergency services, teachers from the school decided to ask the janitor to fetch a lift key and attempt to free the students themselves.After managing to open the lift’s doors on the first floor, it was found that the bottom third of the cab could be seen through the opening.The doors to the lift were then opened so that teachers could calm the children down, but it was then decided by the teachers that the pupils should be squeezed out of the opening and into the corridor.One boy was helped out of the lift successfully, but when Ms Seaton attempted to follow suit she accidentally fell down the shaft and crashed to the ground five metres below.It was at this point that the emergency services were notified and when firefighters arrived they found the lift had not been isolated and could have resumed moving at any point, with catastrophic consequences.She had to take two weeks off school and spent several months in pain, disrupting her education and social life.For failing to have contingency policies in place and neglecting to train teachers in how to deal with broken lifts, the HSE took the school’s operator City of Edinburgh Council to court.It pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £8,000.After the verdict was handed down, HSE inspector Hazel Dobb said, “A 15-year-old girl was seriously injured in an incident that was wholly preventable. As a result she spent several months in pain.”The teachers were well intentioned in their attempts to help, but had they received suitable information and guidance on how to deal with trapped people in lifts they would have called for help and not put pupils at such risk of injury.”By Chris StevensonOr Call freephone 0800 884 0321SHARE THIS

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Fingers Severed in Accident at Work

Home » No Win No Fee » Latest Personal Injury News » 2014 » 2 » Fingers Severed in Accident at WorkFingers Severed in Accident at WorkTayyabah Bakery, a Burnley-based pasty-maker, has been fined by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after a worker severed two of his fingers in a work accident.Reedley Magistrates’ Court heard an unnamed 35-year-old man was working with a machine that was meant to fill pasties with cheese and onion when the accident took place.However, as he did this his right hand was struck by one of the pistons and drawn inside the inner-components of the machine and two of his fingers were cut off.The man has now been off work for almost a year and still experiences pain in his fingers. It’s unlikely he will be able to return to work in the near future, such is the extent of the discomfort he feels on a daily basis.HSE officials visiting the site after the accident found that the pasty filling machine had originally been fitted with a guard, but that it was cut away five years before the unnamed worker’s injuries were sustained.For its part in the work accident, Tayyabah Bakery was fined £1,000 and told to pay £5,002 in prosecution costs after it pleaded guilty to a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 by failing to prevent access to dangerous machine parts.Speaking after the case’s conclusion, HSE inspector David Myrtle said, “The machine was entirely safe to use when it was installed but, by overriding an essential safety feature to speed up production, the company exposed employees to an unacceptable and entirely avoidable level of risk.”It’s vital manufacturing companies put the health and safety of their staff before profits, otherwise accidents like this will continue to happen in the future.”Similar cases to this have seen equipment manufacturers prosecuted by the HSE because their failure to create equipment with the necessary safeguards installed, but in this case it was the fault of the bakery as it had overridden the guarding mechanism.By Francesca WitneyOr Call freephone 0800 884 0321SHARE THIS

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New research reinforces danger of drinking alcohol while pregnant

Women who drink alcohol at moderate or heavy levels in the early stages of their pregnancy might damage the growth and function of their placenta — the organ responsible for supplying everything that a developing infant needs until birth — research at The University of Manchester shows.Placentas studied in a laboratory environment showed that drinking alcohol at moderate (2/3 standard drinks) to high (4-6 standard drinks) rates reduced the cell growth in a woman’s placenta.The research, published in the journal PLoS One and funded by the British Medical Association, investigated the effect of alcohol and its major toxic breakdown product, acetaldehyde, had on the placenta in the first few weeks — a period essential for normal development where three primary germ cell layers in the very early infant develop into internal organs.While placental cell growth was reduced at mid and heavy drinking levels, the cells that ensure the placenta attaches to the mother were unaffected. Alcohol at very low concentrations (1-2units, equal to half or one standard drink) did not have any effect on growth or function. Scientists also found alcohol at moderate to heavy levels reduced the transport of an important amino acid — known as taurine — from mother to baby via the placenta.Taurine is vital for brain and physiological development. However, acetaldehyde did not have any effect on the transportation of taurine suggesting alcohol is the main culprit. Reduced taurine has been shown to have negative effects on behaviour and physical development, so this might explain why some neurological symptoms are seen in children of alcoholic mothers, the researchers conclude.Sylvia Lui, from the Tommy’s Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre based at The University of Manchester who carried out the research, said: “Alcohol and acetaldehyde are known to be toxic at high levels, but these results clearly show that levels easily achieved in a normal population have specific effects in the placenta.”Placental growth is reduced in comparison to non-exposed placentas, suggesting that in the long-term, there could be consequences to how much support the infant receives from the placenta during the rest of the pregnancy after this exposure.”Dr Clare Tower, consultant obstetrician at Saint Mary’s Hospital part of Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Though low levels of alcohol did not have a harmful effect, moderate to high levels were damaging. The safest clinical advice would be to agree with the current Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology guidelines and abstain.This is because UK studies show that there is still a lot of confusion in the perception of what alcohol ‘units’ are, as well as a lack of accurate self-monitoring of drinking levels.Professor John Aplin, Professor of Reproductive Biomedicine in the Tommy’s Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre at the University, said “This research also suggests that women who are trying to conceive should not drink as the damage caused by alcohol can happen very early on in pregnancy — perhaps before a woman knows she is pregnant.”Jane Brewin, Chief Executive of baby charity Tommy’s, said: “It can often be a few weeks before a woman discovers she’s pregnant, and this research shows that moderate drinking during those vital first weeks can have a big impact on the development of the baby.”Many pregnancies are unplanned, but for those actively planning a family this research raises questions about whether women should consider their alcohol intake even before they fall pregnant.”Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by Manchester University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Worker sustains horrific injuries following sawmill incident

Home » No Win No Fee » Latest Personal Injury News » 2013 » 10 » Worker sustains horrific injuries following sawmill incidentWorker sustains horrific injuries following sawmill incidentA Dumfries-based sawmill has been fined after a worker suffered severe arm injuries when it became trapped in a poorly guarded machine.Scott Campbell, aged 32 at the time of the incident, was working for Howie Forest Products at its Kenmuir Sawmills site in Dalbeattie when the accident took place on January 12th 2010.Mr Campbell was stacking wood on a machine when he reached over the top of a safety fence to pick up banding strips to tie some planks together. But as he did this, one of the machine’s components pinned his right arm inside of the fence and trapped it.The man’s arm was then hit by the base block of the machine arm, snapping his elbow and leaving a bone protruding from the skin. Upon arriving at hospital the sawmill-worker was put straight into surgery and the fracture did not repair until four months later.Mr Campbell has returned to work but he is not expected to recover the full range of movement he once had in the limb and this will have a significant impact on his quality of life.An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) looked into the causes of the accident and found Howie Forest failed to assess the risks to employees of improper equipment guarding.Inspectors also criticised the placement of banding strips, which forced workers to put their arms in dangerous areas – as was the case with Mr Campbell.For these guideline breaches, Howie Forest Products was fined £20,000 after it pleaded guilty to not following Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.After the prosecution, HSE inspector Russell Berry commented: “This incident was entirely preventable.”If the company had adopted a consistent approach to assessing the risks of all the machines at the site, the higher standard of protection that existed on the newer machines would have prevented this incident from occurring.”Howie Forest Products should have been aware that the safety measures on this stacking unit were inadequate.”By Francesca WitneyOr call us on 0800 884 0321SHARE THIS

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The Greatest Escape Motorcycle Ride

Worthington & Caron, PC in association with Bartels’ Harley-Davidson and Pacific Meso Center is proud to present The Greatest Escape, a memorial motorcycle ride to celebrate the 50th anniversary ofThe Great Escapemovie starring Steve McQueen, whose life was cut short at the age of 50 on November 7, 1980 by malignant peritoneal mesothelioma.McQueen’s story is well known. After his diagnosis in Los Angeles in 1979, McQueen eschewed conventional therapies for untested nostrums in Mexico, such as laetrile, coffee enemas and cow fetus injections. The Hollywood icon died soon after in 1980.Join us Sunday, September 22, 2013 for a beautiful scenic ride on coastal Pacific Coast Highway beginning at Bartels’ Harley-Davidson in Marina Del Rey up to Sycamore Cove State Beach. The ride will be followed by a delicious tri-tip …

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Asbestos ‘expert’ fined over failings

Home » No Win No Fee » Latest Personal Injury News » 2013 » 10 » Asbestos ‘expert’ fined over failingsAsbestos ‘expert’ fined over failingsA man labelled by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as an asbestos expert has been fined after workers under his supervision were exposed to the carcinogenic substance.Steven Kelly, 41, was prosecuted by the HSE after three men were spotted in an area of Trafford College where a large quantity of asbestos was being removed.It later emerged the individuals worked for Manchester-based Winsulate and were not wearing appropriate protective clothing or masks to protect them from inhaling potentially lethal fibres.However, Trafford Magistrates Court was told by the HSE that Winsulate had thorough policies in place in regards to workplace safety, but Mr Kelly, who was employed as a fully-trained and qualified supervisor ignored these guidelines and put his staff in danger.HSE inspectors discovered Mr Kelly sent the three men into an undercroft beneath Trafford College’s classrooms, which had been sealed off from the rest of the building, in order to fix a temporary lighting system.But while they were meant to wear disposable clothing and full-respiratory masks, they wore their own attire underneath overalls and were instead equipped with half-masks.This, magistrates were advised, was not the fault of Winsulate, but was caused by a lack of safety measures put in place by Mr Kelly.For this and a number of other errors on the site, Mr Kelly was fined £790 and told to pay £250 in costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to take reasonable care of workers under his supervision.Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Laura Moran commented: “Asbestos is responsible for thousands of deaths in the UK every year but it only becomes dangerous when it is broken up and fibres are released into the air.”That’s why asbestos can only be removed by specialist contractors but, as the site supervisor, Steven Kelly put workers at risk by not following the correct safety procedures.”By Chris StevensonOr call us on 0800 884 0321SHARE THIS

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Pharma company fined after man burned by chemicals

Home » No Win No Fee » Latest Personal Injury News » 2013 » 9 » Pharma company fined after man burned by chemicalsPharma company fined after man burned by chemicalsA pharmaceutical company based in the north-east of England has been fined for a serious safety breach after a worker was doused in a corrosive chemical.The unnamed employee was conducting his normal duties at the Aesica Pharmaceuticals site at the Windmill Industrial Estate in Northumberland when the accident took place.Although a previous inspection at the facility highlighted a tank containing bromine needed decommissioning as soon as possible, this had not been done by 2012 when the incident took place.Part of the unit was breached and bromine sprayed all over the staff member.He was immediately rushed to hospital, where he nearly died, but after 48 hours in intensive care the man pulled through.For failing to adequately maintain its equipment, Aesica Pharmaceuticals was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive.The firm pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was forced to pay fines and costs totalling £107,803.By Francesca WitneyOr call us on 0800 884 0321SHARE THIS

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Kebab worker injured in horrific accident

Home » No Win No Fee » Latest Personal Injury News » 2013 » 10 » Kebab worker injured in horrific accidentKebab worker injured in horrific accidentAn Essex-based kebab manufacturer has been fined after a worker suffered horrific injuries on February 9th 2012.Ethem Torunoglu, 36, from London, was working for Kismet Kebabs when the incident took place and Chelmsford Crown Court was told the man was cleaning a derinding machine when he noticed a piece of meat caught in a stripper comb.Even though the device was still running, Mr Torunoglu decided to try and dislodge the blockage by using a pressure washer, but when this failed to render the unit usable, he simply reached inside and tried to grab the offending debris.The 36-year-old’s hand was drawn inside and a serrated roller began to grind away at his hand and he could not free his limb.Despite there being an emergency stop button right next to the machine, this was just out of reach and he had to wait until a colleague could arrive and disable the unit.Mr Torunoglu was rushed to hospital and doctors treated him for significant injuries, including the loss of all knuckles on his right hand and tendon, vein and flesh damage.These ailments led to a 19-day stay in a medical facility and the 36-year-old had to have three operations to rebuild his limb, including a large skin graft taken from his left thigh. He has since had to undergo two more operations and is awaiting plastic surgery.According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Mr Torunglu has been unable to return to work.HSE inspectors told Chelmsford Crown Court training for the deriding machine was poor and employees had not been made aware of risks involved in cleaning the device.As a result of this, Kismet Kebabs was fined £17,500 and told to pay £7,500 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching two regulations.After the successful prosecution, HSE inspector Julie Rayner said: “This incident was wholly avoidable. Ethem Torunoglu was failed by the company’s lack of proper training, inadequate assessment of risks and lack of effective measures to stop access to dangerous parts of equipment.”By Chris StevensonOr call us on 0800 884 0321SHARE THIS

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Psychological effects of genetic testing for risk of weight gain

Sep. 4, 2013 — Obesity gene testing does not put people off weight loss and may help to reduce self-blame, according to a new study by researchers from the Health Behaviour Research Centre at UCL (University College London).Previous studies have shown that genes play a role in a person’s risk of becoming overweight. One gene, called FTO, has been found to have the biggest influence so far.FTO has two variants, one associated with greater risk of weight gain (A) and one associated with lower risk (T). One in two people carries at least one copy of the A variant. People who inherit two A variants (one from their mother and one from their father) are 70% more likely to become obese than those with two T variants. Even those who inherit one have a higher weight than those with two T variants.Researchers can now use a gene test for FTO (although this is not yet commercially available). However, it was not known how people would react to finding out the results of the genetic test.Some clinicians thought it would help people to become motivated to manage their weight. Others thought that the ‘genes as destiny’ perspective might mean people felt there was nothing they could do about their weight. If people responded fatalistically it could be harmful because diet and exercise are still very important for health and weight control, perhaps even more so if a person is ‘battling against their biology’.UCL’s Professor Jane Wardle and Susanne Meisel decided to test a small number of volunteers (18) for their FTO status and interview them about their experience. The sample of volunteers included men and women, who spanned the weight range from underweight to obese.They found that the volunteers were very enthusiastic about receiving their genetic test result. …

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