Injury Compensation News

Worker Compensated for Bakery Accident

November 10, 2014

Compensation has been paid to a worker who suffered head injuries from a blunt metal pipe after an accident in a bakery.

The worker, Jonathan Wain, fifty-six of Trent Vale in Nottinghamshire was working as a cleaner in Premier Foods factory in Stoke-on-Trent when the accident occurred. After entering an area where the ingredients for almond slices are prepared, an overhead steel pipe fell and hit Mr Wain on the head as he closed the door. Ordinarily, the pipe would raise upon entry to the cage. Mr Wain sustained serious blunt trauma to his head and received treatment for the injury in a hospital.

As a consequence of the incident, Mr Wain suffered from concussions, blurred vision, dizziness and headaches. He was then required to take seven weeks off work after returning home from hospital. An investigation into the circumstances of the accident ensued. It was discovered that the rubber seal that was supposed to be at either end of the pipe was missing from one, causing the pipe to fall on the victim’s head. His employers, Premier Food Limited, then proceeded to carry out a comprehensive maintenance check of the machinery in the bakery to ensure that faults was not found anywhere else, and all rubber seals necessary were present on the machines.

Mr Wain sought legal counsel after his accident and subsequently made a compensation claim for the injuries he sustained at the bakery. He claimed that the bakery was at fault due to a lack of suitable maintenance of the machinery, leading to the oversight that the seal on the steel pipe was missing. He alleges that if the adequate maintenance was carried out, the seal would have been in place and his accident would not have occurred.

After Premier Foods Limited admitted liability for Mr Wain’s accident, the compensation claim put forward was settled in out-of-court negotiations. Mr Wain received £4,370 in compensation for the incident, but cited that the best outcome of the case was the repair of the machine – preventing the accident happening to anyone else. Mr Wain has since returned to work.

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Company Receives Fine for Deadly Crane Accident

October 30, 2014

A £90,000 fine has been issued to a company situated in Oldham after an employee died in a crane accident at his workplace. The company have also been ordered by the Manchester Crown Court to pay £35,000 in prosecution costs.

The tragic accident occurred on the 11th July 2011 when Michael Wickstead of Radcliffe, Greater Manchester was at work for Refinery Supplies Ltd., situated in Chadderton. The company manufactures specialist equipment for use in refining metals such as lead and zinc.

Mr Wickstead was involved in the manufacture of steel vessel that weighed three tonnes, which was being held in place by a crane overhead. A colleague of Mr Wickstead was moving a different container with a different crane when the two cranes collided. This caused the steel vessel that Mr Wickstead was working on to fall and crush him.

The injuries sustained by Mr Wickstead were substantial, and proved fatal. An inquiry conducted by the Health and Safety followed his death and investigated the events surrounding the incident. It was uncovered that Refinery Supplies Ltd. did not have any clear protocol laid out to prevent such injuries occurring from colliding cranes. Additionally, there was a lack of safety mechanisms, such as anti-collision devices, as a preventative measure for such crane collisions.

As Refinery Supplies Ltd. were in breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, they were prosecuted at the Manchester Crown Court. Company representatives have plead guilty for the charges brought against them. They were fined £90,000 and told to pay £35,000 in prosecution costs.

Helen Jones, a HSE inspector said that the failure of Refinery Supplies Ltd to adhere to minimum safety standards resulted in the distressing loss of Mr Wickstead’s life, which could have been avoided. She has also stressed how important it is for employers to consider the safety of each of their employees and prevent future tragedies. She said that the type of accident that claimed Mr Wickstead’s life had occurred on previous occasions, but without the fatal outcome because of the precautionary steps taken by the companies.

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Fine Issued to Company After Employees Burned in Work Accident

March 31, 2014

A company that was found guilty of health and safety failings after two of its employees sustained serious burns in a work accident has been fined £20,000.

The fire occurred on the 16th December, 2012 at the Maxibrite’s coal briquette manufacturing plant in Llantrisant.The fire started after a rotary drier in a tower on the site caught flame. Simon Gilbody, a works manager for Maxibrite, attempted to dampen the flames by hosing the tower with water after his attention was brought to the fire.

However, these attempts failed and Mr Gilbody, with the assistance of Carl Lewis – another Maxibrite employee working on the site – tried to free some obstructions in the tower by opening an inspection hatch at the base of the tower. Yet upon opening the hatch, a torrent of burning coal and cinder fell from the inspection hatch and seared Mr Gilbody’s face, neck and chest.

Mr Lewis then tried to close the hatch door to prevent more coal emerging, but he too had sustained burned and his injuries prevented him from closing the hatch door. Following this workplace accident, a skin graft was carried out on Mr Lewis as a result of the grave burns inflicted upon him. Mr Gilbody was able to go home after being treated by paramedics attending the accident at the Llantrisant site.

An investigation surrounding the circumstances of the accident ensued, carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). It was uncovered that the company, Maxibrite, failed to carry out any risk assessment concerning the likelihood of the rotary drier starting a fire. Additionally, no effort was made to educate the staff of the proper safety procedures should such an event occur.

Having breached the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations, Maxibrite were prosecuted and told that they must improve staff training such that in includes comprehensive instructions for guiding employees in the safe use of fire-fighting equipment.

The case was heard at Pontypridd Magistrates’ Court, where representatives of Maxibrite plead guilty to both charges brought against them. The were issued a fine totalling £20,000 for their negligence, resulting in the workplace accident that caused two of their employees to be burned. The company were also ordered to pay £5,115 in costs.

HSE Inspector Steve Lewis stated that the two employees involved were fortunate in that they were not injured more seriously, yet added that every employer had a responsibility to educate their employees of fire safety procedures should a fire break out in the workplace.

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Chef Compensated for Injury at Team-Building Event

February 10, 2014

A chef at Kildare’s Carton House Spa and Golf Hotel settled his claim for an injury that occurred at a team-building activity organised by his workplace whilst the hearing to resolve the case was in progress.

The injury occurred in October 2006 when Cathal Kavanagh (54) participated in various team-building activities organised by his employer and held at the Riverbank Arts Centre, Co. Kildare. The activities were intended to bring employees together as a team, and were organised through JikiJela Ltd. of Co. Sligo. Whilst participating in a relay race, in which team members were required to hop forwards and then run backwards to pass a baton to the next team member, Mr. Kavanagh fell to the floor and broke his wrist.

After receiving medical care, Mr. Kavanagh consulted a solicitor who informed him that there would be cause to seek compensation for the team-building activity injury. Following this advice, Mr. Kavanagh made a claim against Kildare County Council, who own the Riverbank Arts Centre, the organiser of the activities, JikiJela Ltd, and his employer, saying that the three defendants had neglected to ensure that each event organised was safe.

Each party denied any responsibility for the injury sustained by Mr. Kavanagh, and the case proceeded to the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin. On the day the scheduled hearing, Mrs. Justice Mary Irvine was told that the compensation claim had been resolved and the case was struck out.

 

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Businessman Prosecuted for Failing to Prevent Risk of Fall from Height at Work

January 17, 2014

A businessman has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for failing to prevent the risk of a fall from height at work.

Rajesh Voralia – a textile trader with offices in West Drayton, Hillingdon – was prosecuted for failing to prevent the risk of a fall from height at work after a passing HSE inspector spotted two of his employees working dangerously close to the edge of an unprotected roof.

The official immediately stopped the men from working, and served a prohibition order on Voralia preventing any further work from taking place on the roof. Mr Voralia told the official that he was unaware the two men were on the roof and that they must have been sent up there by his assistant warehouse manager.

A subsequent HSE inspection found that access to the roof was via an unsecured ladder which had worn feet, damaged rungs and which only projected 20 cms above roof level. The roof itself was sloped and there were a number of fragile roof-lights adding further risk of a fall from height at work.

The Westminster Magistrates Court heard that Voralia was a textile trader, and that the premises in Hillingdon were used for sorting discarded rags for recycling. HSE officer Jane Wolfenden explained to the magistrates that just prior to the risk of a fall from height at work being identified on 30th August 2012, a leak had developed in the roof which was spoiling the rags.

She said “Mr Voralia told [the] HSE there was no work at height taking place in the unit despite the fact that there was a ladder available and that the unit had a mezzanine floor. Whilst there was no actual injury in this case, the risk of serious injury or death from falls during roof work is high and Mr Voralia could have easily prevented such work by removing access equipment and issuing a blanket instruction to his staff not to go on the roof”.

Magistrates find Voralia £4,000 with £3,500 costs for failing to prevent the risk of a fall from height at work after he admitted breaching the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

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Rig Worker Awarded Crush Workplace Injury Compensation

July 12, 2012

A rig worker from Louisiana, who suffered permanent debilitating injuries when he was crushed between a drill pipe and the derrick leg of the gas rig he was working on, has been awarded 4.1 million dollars in crush workplace injury compensation.

Von Phathong, aged 42, was employed by Houston-based Tesco Corp (US) as a “roughneck” (labourer) on a drilling rig at Rifle, Colorado, when the accident occurred in December 2005. As he was aiding with the change of heavyweight drilling pipe, the unsecured lower drill pipe fell into Von and crushed him against the rig´s derrick leg.

Von suffered many spinal fractures and herniated cervical discs and will never work again because of the pain he experiences whenever he moves. After being discharged from hospital, Von sought legal advice about claiming compensation for a crush injury at work and, as Tesco Corp (US) denied their liability for Von´s injuries, the case was heard before the United States District Court.

In court, Von´s solicitors showed evidence that the “crossover sub” which was being used to join the two drilling pipes had the wrong thread and the supervisor on the rig had tried to use a powerful top-drive to force the thread of the crossover sub and the drill pipe together. It was also shown that the drill pipe which caused Von´s injuries should have been safely secured before the operation was begun.

Further evidence at the hearing established that Tesco Corp´s health and safety was the worst ever seen by a drilling expert supporting Von´s claim for crush injury at work compensation and that the site worked on a culture of “intimidation and fear”. The jury found Tesco Corp (US) 90 percent to blame for Von´s injuries and awarded him 4.1 million dollars in compensation for a crush injury at work

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Soldier´s Loss of Hearing Compensation Case for Settled Out of Court

July 7, 2012

A former soldier, who was forced to leave the armed services due to sustaining a hearing injury, is to receive compensation for soldier´s loss of hearing after an out of court settlement was agreed between his solicitors and the Ministry of Defence.

Michael Lee (26) had joined the armed services in 2003 at the age of eighteen and had fully intended to be a career soldier until age forty. However, in 2009 the Lance Corporal was found to have permanent bilateral hearing loss of 15dB and downgraded for promotional purposes.

After speaking his legal representatives, Michael made a claim for soldier´s loss of hearing compensation as, he alleged in his claim, his injury was attributable to excessive levels of noise at prolonged drum and bugle practice between 2004 and 2008.

The Ministry of Defence admitted liability for Michael´s hearing injury and a negotiated settlement of compensation for soldier´s loss of hearing was agreed to account for Michael´s relatively young age, his loss of future earnings and pension, and future expenses related to hearing aids.

The compensation award of 300,000 pounds is in line with other recent compensation settlements for soldier´s loss of hearing, including Charles Bradlaugh (22) – who received 330,000 pounds after suffering a hearing injury on a practise exercise in which ear plugs were not provided in 2004.

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Out of Court Compensation Settlement for Soldier´s Loss of Hearing

July 4, 2012

A former soldier, who had to leave the armed forces due to sustaining a hearing injury, is to receive compensation for soldier´s loss of hearing after an out of court settlement was agreed between his solicitors and the Ministry of Defence.

Michael Lee (26) had entered the armed forces in 2003 at the age of eighteen and had fully intended to be a career soldier until age forty. However, in 2009 the Lance Corporal was diagnosed with permanent bilateral hearing loss of 15dB and downgraded for promotional purposes, he was then discharged from the armed services in 2011.

After seeking legal guidance, Michael made a claim for soldier´s loss of hearing compensation as, he alleged in his claim, his injury was attributable to excessive levels of noise at prolonged drum and bugle practice between 2004 and 2008.

The Ministry of Defence admitted liability for Michael´s injury and a settlement of compensation for soldier´s loss of hearing was agreed to account for Michael´s relatively young age, his loss of future earnings and pension, and future expenses related to hearing aids.

The award of 300,000 pounds is in line with other recent compensation settlements for soldier´s loss of hearing, including Charles Bradlaugh (22) – who received 330,000 pounds after suffering a hearing injury on a practise exercise in which ear plugs were not provided in 2004.

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Work Deafness Injury Compensation Claims on Increase

May 22, 2012

One of Europe´s biggest work injury insurer´s – Zurich Insurance – has revealed that work deafness injury compensation claims increased by almost 25 percent in the UK during 2011.

The insurance firm claims that part of the significant increase in claims from employees seeking compensation for work deafness is due to the marketing of claims companies targeting this particular industrial disease; but personal injury solicitors have pointed to a recent change in the law which lowered the noise threshold above which employees could claim hearing injury compensation.

The Health and Safety Executive has calculated that more than one million employees in the UK are exposed to dangerous levels of noise at work, and the TUC claims that 170,000 people suffer deafness, tinnitus or other ear injury due to exposure to excessive noise at work.

Solicitors´ organisations have identified a variety of settings from which claims for work deafness compensation have been initiated – including bars and shops as well as more traditional manufacturing environments – but, as a Cenric Clement-Evans of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers explained, proving that a work deafness injury is attributable to the negligence of an employer can be difficult.

“Like many industrial disease cases you’ve got other competing causes, potentially, but a medical assessor would look at things like shooting, DIY, music.” Mr Clement-Evans went on to say “they [claimants]may have seen adverts, but they are people who have been exposed to noise – probably, the vast majority, in breach of the employer’s duty of care.”

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No Win No Fee Asbestos Injury Compensation Claims to be Exempt from Changes

April 25, 2012

The government´s justice minister, Jonathan Djanogly, has announced that “No Win, No Fee” asbestos injury compensation claims and claims for compensation for asbestos-related diseases will be exempt from the changes being introduced in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill.

According to the original plans to reform No Win, No Fee Conditional Fee Agreements (CFAs), the government was keen to remove access for all claimants to no-win, no-fee legal representation, but the Department of Justice has bowed to pressure from the Lords and from campaigners to exempt those suffering from mesothelioma cancer, asbestosis and diffuse pleural thickening.

In a statement read to the Commons, Mr Djanogly said there had been “careful reflection about the special case of mesothelioma sufferers”, and a delay would now be imposed to the removal of access to No Win, No Fee asbestos claims. Mr Djanogly also said the government was searching for ways of making it easier for sufferers and their solicitors to trace their former employer’s insurers.

Shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan welcomed the victory for No Win, No Fee asbestos claims, telling the House “The key question here is should victims of industrial diseases like mesothelioma have to hand over part of their damages to their lawyers and insurer, or should the wrongdoers fund the cost of the successful litigation?”

Read more about no win no fee here.

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