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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Coating Firm Fined After Worker Seriously Damages Hand

Home » No Win No Fee » Latest Personal Injury News » 2014 » 3 » Coating Firm Fined After Worker Seriously Damages HandCoating Firm Fined After Worker Seriously Damages HandDT Powder Coating, a Bedfordshire-based business, has been handed a large fine following an episode that saw an unnamed employee suffer serious injuries to his right hand.What happened?In September 2012, at the company’s Leighton Buzzard site, the worker was struck by a metal basket and cradle which fell on him after an eyebolt attached to a crane failed, leading the objects to be launched into a degreasing tank.Injuries sustainedThe heavy metal cradle struck the employee’s right hand, leading to serious lacerations, several bones being broken and damage to his nerves and tendons.Since sustaining his injuries, the employee found himself unable to work for over a year.HSE investigationThe first failing by DT Powder Coating was that it did not report the accident within the required 15-day period.However, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) was eventually called in to investigate the event and identified a number of areas in which the company had failed to prevent such accidents from taking place.The HSE investigation into the case revealed employees had been concerned about the health and safety practices carried out by DT Powder Coating for some time.Speaking after the Court case, HSE inspector Emma Rowlands said, “We received several complaints from current and previous employees regarding this company.”These three employee concerns led to four improvement notices being served to DT Powder Coating by the HSE.During the inquiry, it was found that employees had not been properly trained on how to lift equipment safely and there was no system in place to ensure such tasks were carried out in the correct manner.The HSE noted the faulty eyebolt needed to have been screwed into the basket’s framework much more securely, as its looseness appeared to be the primary cause of the accident.Ms Rowlands said, “Our investigation revealed a lack of basic employee training and that lifting operations were carried out in a way that exposed employees to risk of injury. In this case, an employee suffered a needless injury, which has prevented him from working for over a year.”OutcomeEarlier this week, Luton Magistrates’ Court ruled that DT Powder Coating was guilty of breaching Regulation 2 of the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act and Regulation 3 of the 1995 Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations, as well as Regulation 5 of the 1998 Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations.The first of these breaches relates to the company failing to ensure the welfare of its workers, while the second is because the firm did not report the accident within the correct period of time. The third and final breach relates to the business’ failure to maintain its machinery properly and keep records of any repairs needed or how long it has been since they were last carried out.For these safety failings, the firm was ordered by the Court to pay a fine of £36,000 plus an additional £10,509 in legal costs.By Francesca WitneyOr Call freephone 0800 884 0321SHARE THIS

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What’s Covered Under Workers’ Compensation?

When someone is injured on the job, or suffers an illness because of job-related conditions, that worker is entitled to file a workers’ compensation claim. Even though all states have somewhat different workers’ compensation laws, workers can count on being able to receive workers’ compensation when they suffer certain types of injuries or illnesses.Work-Related InjuriesPeople can receive workers’ compensation benefits when they suffer an injury that is work-related, but the term “work-related” is sometimes more complicated than it might first appear. In general, any injury you suffer as a result of your job duties, or those that arise while doing your job, are covered under work-related injuries.For example, a truck driver who is injured while loading cargo is clearly performing work-related tasks, and would be covered under workers’ compensation. Similarly, someone who is on a business trip or who is attending a conference to represent her employer will also be entitled to workers’ compensation should she suffer an injury.On the other hand, injuries a worker suffers that aren’t related to the job are not usually covered by workers’ compensation. So, for example, if you get into a car accident while on your way to work, you won’t be able to file a workers’ compensation claim. Though you have to travel to your job in order to perform your duties, the act of commuting to and from your job is not considered part of your employment responsibilities.Additionally, workers who suffer self-inflicted injuries, injuries that arise as a result of intoxication or drug use, or injuries suffered as a result of fighting with other workers, are not typically covered by workers’ compensation.Work-Related IllnessesJust as with injuries or accidents, people who want to file a workers’ compensation claim for an illness must be able to show that the illness occurred as a result of the work environment. These types of illnesses are often referred to as “occupational diseases.” An occupational disease is an illness or chronic medical condition that you get specifically because of your job.For example, workers in the health care or medical sectors are often exposed to dangerous diseases, chemicals, or hazardous situations. Those who are infected with a disease, such as HIV, because they were exposed to it in the workplace can file a workers’ compensation claim. Other medical workers might be able to file a claim if, for example, they were exposed to high levels of radiation as a result of working near radiological equipment.Mental IllnessesWorkers’ compensation goes beyond physical injuries and illnesses, and also covers mental health problems that arise as a result of employment. As with physical injuries, mental illnesses or psychological disorders an employee suffers must arise out of workplace conditions in order for the employee to be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits.For example, a worker who witnesses a workplace accident that leads to someone being seriously injured or killed might suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. …

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Workers Compensation

Despite the best actions of employers and employees, accidents on the job do happen. Whether an employee works behind a desk, drives behind a wheel, or stands behind a counter, things can go wrong and injuries can occur. Regardless of their nature, injuries and illnesses have financial, emotional, and personal costs – including lost wages, lost earning potential, and physical pain and suffering.In the event of a job-related injury, laws are in place to protect workers’ rights. In every state but Texas, almost all employers are required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance in order to cover medical expenses that result from work-related illnesses and injuries, and to partially replace workers’ lost wages.This mandate incurs a large cost for employers.A report from the National Academy of Social Insurance indicated that in 2007, 131 million U.S. workers were covered by workers’ compensation insurance at a cost of $85 billion dollars to employers. If those numbers seem extreme, consider these numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:Nearly three million cases of non-fatal illness and injury were documented in the private sector in 2011, equal to a rate of 3.5 cases per every 100 full-time workers. A key measure of the severity of injuries and illnesses is the median number of days away from work, which was eight days for 2011, and virtually unchanged from the three previous years. In 2010, nearly 4,700 workers died as a result of injuries sustained while at work – which translates to one worker dying every two hours from a job-related injury. Highway incidents remain the most common cause of fatal occupational injuries, followed by falls, workplace homicides, and being struck by objects. In 2010, the private construction industry experienced the highest number of fatal occupational injuries (774), while the agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting industry had the highest fatal work injury rate (27.9 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers). …

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Sharing the wealth with loyal workers

July 29, 2013 — Workers who are loyal to their employers tend to be paid more, according to the first broad-scale study of worker loyalty and earnings.Michigan State University researchers surveyed 10,800 employees in former socialist countries that introduced capitalist economies in the 1990s. While previous research has found that worker loyalty bolsters companies’ bottom lines by lowering labor turnover costs and enhanced customer service, this study shows that employees benefit as well — by making more money, said Susan Linz, lead author and professor of economics.”We know that firms realize financial gain from loyal workers, but we wanted to know if they share those benefits with the workers,” Linz said. “And among the more than 650 workplaces included in our study the answer is yes, they are sharing the wealth.”The researchers surveyed employees from 2005 to 2011 in six culturally and economically diverse countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazahkstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Serbia. The employees came from a wide range of sectors including manufacturing, retail and financial services, health care, education, public sector, construction and transportation.Loyalty was measured in three ways: by workplace seniority; whether the employee would turn down an offer of slightly more money to change jobs; and whether the employee was committed to and engaged with the company — i.e., did they buy into the company’s mission even when it was outside their job responsibilities.Linz said she was surprised to find such a strong link between worker loyalty and higher earnings. In three countries, the contribution of loyalty to earnings was equivalent to the contribution to earnings of an additional year of experience.Workers were more likely to be loyal if they expected to earn a bonus or learn new skills. In addition, loyalty was higher among employees who expected that doing their job well would result in job security and the feeling that they were accomplishing something worthwhile.Contrary to previous studies, however, praise from supervisors was not always positively linked to worker loyalty.The findings have implications in the global economy. Western-based companies looking to set up shop in countries such as Azerbaijan or Russia, for example, need to know how to train their managers to motivate workers. Knowing which strategies promote loyalty is crucial.”If Western managers come in and start offering them praise, telling them they’re doing a great job and so on, it might not have that big of an effect,” Linz said. “Managers might have more success by offering the workers a chance to learn new skills, which can contribute to their sense of better job security or desire for more job autonomy, all of which were positively linked to loyalty in our study.”In the United States, where it’s common for workers to switch jobs and where companies and entire sectors are downsizing, popular perception is that it doesn’t make sense for employees to be loyal. But what if firms do reward loyalty? …

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Improving overall employee wellness could yield multiple benefits

June 17, 2013 — Controlling health care costs is crucial for Iowa manufacturers to remain competitive. But a big question for many companies is whether investing in an employee wellness program will cut costs and improve productivity. To help answer that question, a team of Iowa State University researchers is conducting a pilot program with three Iowa manufacturers.”All our evidence says there will be a net positive financial return for the companies,” said Mike O’Donnell, program director for CIRAS, the Center for Industrial Research and Service at Iowa State. “While we’re relatively sure helping employees become healthier will improve absenteeism rates, the real question is will it impact health care premiums?”To gauge the potential impact, researchers had to first create a baseline for employee health. Ruth Litchfield, an associate professor in food science and human nutrition, and graduate research assistant Kayli Julander recruited 60 employees, at each of the three worksites, who volunteered to complete a health risk appraisal. Instead of just looking at a single indicator such as diet or exercise, the team took a holistic approach to assess physical, financial and emotional health.Employees were then randomly assigned to a control group, which completed only the health risk assessment, or an intervention group, which completed a six-month program on nutrition, exercise, stress and finances. Future assessments will allow researchers to compare differences between the two groups and determine the benefits of offering a wellness program in the workplace.”Americans spend a lot of time at work. If we can make it convenient for the employees to take a healthy lunch and learn how to improve their well-being or go for a walk during lunch, it’s a great opportunity for the employee as well as the employer,” Julander said.Surprising resultsAfter checking blood pressure, testing cholesterol levels and gauging body composition, researchers were most surprised by the lack of flexibility among employees. The majority — as many as 85 percent when testing for the left arm — had poor or low flexibility, which can have significant consequences.”When you’re dealing in a manufacturing environment, regardless of the task, dexterity and flexibility are always going to be important. You need to assemble things, you need to weld them, and some people need to lift things,” O’Donnell said. …

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Role conflict and emotional demands are ‘most important’ risk factors for distress in workers

June 3, 2013 — Employees who face high emotional demand and conflicting roles are more likely to report psychological distress — placing them at higher risk of mental health disorders and reduced productivity, reports a study in the June Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, official publication of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM).Håkon A. Johannessen, PhD, and colleagues of the Norwegian National Institute of Occupational Health, Oslo, used nationwide survey data to look at how the psychosocial work environment affects employees’ levels of psychological distress. Sixteen percent of workers said they were at least slightly bothered by psychological distress — including symptoms of depression and anxiety — over the past month.The study focused on two main risk factors: role conflict, such as being given work tasks without enough resources to complete them and receiving contradictory requests from different people; and emotional demands, defined as “dealing with strong feelings such as sorrow, anger, desperation, [and] frustration” at work.Perceived role conflict and emotional demands were “the most important and most consistent risk factors” for psychological distress. Problematic levels of distress were 53 percent more likely for workers reporting role conflict and 38 percent more likely for those facing high emotional demands.Other risk factors were low job control, bullying/harassment, and job insecurity. “We estimated that one-fourth of employee psychological distress was attributable to self-reported adverse work-related factors,” the researchers write.Psychological distress may represent early anxiety and depression, and has been linked to decreased job productivity and absenteeism. Other psychosocial working conditions have been linked to distress, but the new study is the first to highlight the importance of role conflict and emotional distress. Dr Johannessen and coauthors believe the identified risk factors should be a key focus of efforts to improve the psychosocial work environment — and thus promote good mental health and productivity among employees.

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