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Accidents At Work

Company Director Jailed for Causing Death After Selling Asbestos Roofing

Company director Robert Marsh has been sentenced to 12 months in jail after he supplied secondhand roofing containing asbestos which lead to the death of Tony Podmore. Mr Podmore had been hired to construct a roof using the materials. As a result of the poor quality panels, Mr Podmore fell through the roof landing on concrete six meters below. He later died in hospital because of his injuries.

The pre-used roofing sheets were sold to a farming partnership for £4000. The farming partnership were led to believe they were receiving a quality product however the roofing hadn’t cost Mr Podmore anything apart from the £250 delivery expense.

The court were told how Mr Podmore fell through the fragile asbestos concrete sheets while working on the roof. The court also heard how Mr Marsh tried to persuade witnesses to help hide the sheets and that they were all going to “take the fall for this”.

Before the court hearing it was revealed how the family of Mr Podmore was told he fell of the side of the roof rather than through the sheets and how Mr Marsh tried to persuade them not to report to incident to the Health & Safety Executive.

At the trial Mr Marsh pleaded guilty to a contravention of The Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals Regulations 2008 and one breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. It was ruled that the asbestos panels were a significant contributing factor that led to the death of Mr Podmore.

Along with the 12 month sentence, Mr Marsh has been banned from being a director for 6 years and and ordered to pay £10,000 in costs.

Judge Michael Cullum said the actions of Mr Marsh was “wholly reprehensible” and that he acted selfishly to maximise profits by compromising health and safety. After the sentencing HSE inspector Luke Messenger said the health risks of asbestos filled panels were widely known and have been banned for many years.

“Mr Marsh demonstrated a complete disregard for the law for his financial gain. In this case, the weak second-hand panels he supplied were a significant contributing factor to the death of Mr Podmore.” Mr Cullum said.

Over 3000 people a year die in the UK due to asbestos related causes.

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Heinz ordered to pay £60,000 After Worker Loses Hand

Heinz has been ordered to pay £50,000 worth of fines and costs of £9,961 after an employee lost his hand at the factory in Westwick. The engineer, Alec Brackenbury, is also suing the company for compensation in a separate civil case.

The accident occurred when Mr Brackenbury reached inside a pump that was part of a potato peeling machine he had been working on. He had switched off the potato peeler and believed the pump which cleared away excess peelings was on the same circuit.

The pump began running while his right hand was in the machine and his hand was severed entirely. Surgeons operated eight times on Mr Brackenbury’s arm. The injury has left him being unable to drive, work or live normally.

The Health and Safety Executive investigated the accident and found that the pump was a separate device to the peeler and that Mr Brackenbury had no way of knowing that it would suddenly begin working.

The HSE said the accident was brought about because there was no guard on the peeler which would have prevented Mr Brackenbury being able to put his hand in the machine.

Heinz pleaded guilty to violating Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

It was determined by HSE inspector Tony Brookes that the accident could have been entirely avoidable if the correct safety measures were in place. Mr Brookes said Heinz’s assessment of the risks was completely inadequate and that there was a “lack of effective measures to stop access to dangerous parts of equipment.”

Solicitor, Ian Comer, has told how the loss of Mr Brackenbury’s hand has been catastrophic and that his career as a mechanical and electrical engineer was over as both jobs required the use of two hands.

Mr Brackenbury is pursuing a civil claim against Heinz and said: “I hope now the HSE prosecution is out of the way the defendant’s insurers will now formally accept responsibility for my claim so that I can start putting my life back together.”

In another blow to Mr Brackenbury, his caravan home was recently destroyed in a storm leaving him without a permanent residence.

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New RIDDOR Regulations Now In Place

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has updated its Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) while also altering the way in which companies must undergo first aid training within its ranks. The HSE claims that the changes have been made in order to make the first aid and health and safety regulations easier for businesses to follow. The new rules offer a more common sense approach to the topic of health and safety.

Whereas it was once necessary to have first aid training approved by HSE, companies are now free to look around and choose the training that they provide their staff. All businesses, regardless of size, stature, or industry are affected by these changes and there are still certain conditions that must be met for training to be considered suitable and legal but these are considerably easier than they were.

RIDDOR, which outlines the necessary reporting process that companies undergo when an accident occurs, has also been changed. The list of major injuries has been replaced by a shorter and less complex list of specified injuries. With fewer injuries to have to choose from this should make the process a simpler and more streamlined one and it means that businesses will not have to take as long preparing incident and accident reports.

Similarly, the previous list of 47 industrial disease types has also been replaced with a shorter list. There are now 8 categories of industrial disease or work related illness that need to be reported. The final change is that there are fewer types of dangerous occurrence that require reporting and all of these changes should enable businesses to be able to complete accident reports quicker while ensuring that they still provide the relevant level of information and data.

It is important that businesses and organisations do report accidents, injuries, and illnesses when required. If the employee takes action then the report can be used during the subsequent case and the HSE may choose to investigate itself if it believes that there is a case to do so. If accidents have not been reported then this can lead to action being taken against the company.

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Handling Injuries Are The Most Commonly Reported Accidents At Work

The Health and Safety Executive keep detailed statistics regarding the types of injury that are reported every year. According to these figures, handling injuries are the most commonly reported type of injury and while these can take many forms, they do not tend to be fatal injuries. More than a million working days are lost every year to employees suffering the ill effects of handling injuries. It is, therefore, in the interest of employers as well as employees to ensure proper training and the use of the most appropriate types of equipment.

Handling injuries vary in their severity and even the injury type sustained. They can range from sprains and strains to breaks and fractures. Trapped fingers as well as cuts and lacerations are also common types of injury that are sustained while handling and moving items. Virtually all industries suffer some degree of handling injuries.

According to the most recent confirmed figures from the HSE, 30,663 handling injuries reported during 2011/2012. During this period there were no fatal injuries of this type but 28,328 injuries led to absences of three days or over while 2,335 injuries were considered major. The average number of days lost per handling injury was 8.8 days and this totals 1.2m days lost to this type of injury through the 12 month period.

Some handling injuries can be prevented through proper training. Lifting and handling courses are a legal requirement in certain types of job or career. Where heavy loads are lifted, it is important that employees are taught to lift properly and in such a way that they have the least chance of injuring themselves. However, handling injuries can be seemingly mundane and can be caused lifting and handling small and lightweight objects.

The water and waste injury had the highest incident rate per employee. There were 451 reported handling injuries for every 100,000 employees but it was in health and social care where there was the largest total number of reported handling injury incidents. 5,800 injuries of this type were reported within this sector, although this is equivalent to just 162 reported incidents per 100,000 employees.

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Enterprise And Regulatory Reform Act 2013 Slammed For Victorian Values

The new Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 is now in operation and the new rules, which mean that employees injured at work will have to provide evidence of negligence, are being attacked by critics claiming that it is setting workers’ rights back a hundred years. The new rules mean that employees will now have to provide expert statements and evidence in order to be able to sue for compensation if they suffer an injury at work.

Every employer is supposed to be legally obliged to offer a safe working environment for their employees. This means following health and safety standards, providing adequate training, and offering the most appropriate protective clothing and equipment as well as the right machinery and tools. A failure to meet these standards can lead to injury or illness in workers as well as others that set foot on the property of businesses and organisations.

Prior to 1st October, if an employee was injured or became ill at work and it could be shown that the employer did not provide these then it was possible for the employee to claim compensation. The employer was effectively found to be negligent through their negligence. Critics have said that the new Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 changes this by placing too much onus on the employee to prove negligence on the part of their employer.

Proving negligence can be considerably more difficult than it sounds. The decision may rest on witness accounts. In some instances, there may not be witnesses to the actual accident while those that are seriously injured while at work should not have to think about collecting witness details before considering their safety and ensuring that they get the medical attention that they require.

Employees should take every step possible to collect data at the time of the accident to have the best chance of a successful compensation claim. This may require collecting witness details, taking photographs, and gathering information. It is also more important than ever that the employee has qualified, skilled, and experienced legal representation if they wish to have the greatest possible chance of success.

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Death At Work Figures Decrease

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has released figures showing the number of work related deaths for 2012/2013 dropped when compared to the average figure over the five years before. This still accounted for 148 deaths but represents a significant drop when compared to the average of 181 deaths over the five years prior to this date. The figure also represents a drop of 14% compared to the figures for 2011/2012, when 172 people died from work related injuries or illnesses.

The Health and Safety Executive releases figures of fatal workplace accidents every year but the number of deaths means that comparing year on year is not considered the best approach. Instead, a single year’s figures is compared to a five year average in order to determine whether the tally is experiencing an upward or downward trend. The last full year figures show that 141 people died through work related injuries while the five year average is 181.

The HSE updates figures every quarter. These quarterly figures include a large number of incidents that are still under investigation and, as such, the figures are prone to change in time. For the quarter ending June 30th 2013, there has been a total of 57 fatalities. The industry which has experienced the greatest fatality is the services industry with agriculture the second most deadly and construction next.

Finalised figures for 2011/2012 show that two thirds of all injuries fall into four main categories. Falling from height, being struck by a moving object, being stuck under a collapsing object, and being hit by a vehicle are the most common causes of death in the workplace. Handling injuries are the most common form of all injuries and, when combined with slips and trips, approximately two million working days were lost as a result of these types of incident.

Employers have a legal responsibility to ensure that employees are kept as safe as possible while at work. Employees that can prove negligence and suffer an injury or illness as a result of their work may have a right to claim compensation for their employer. Fatalities are obviously the most severe level of injury and a downward trend is obviously a positive sign.

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Court Of Appeal Rules That Secondary Victims Must Witness The Accident To Claim

A recent case is being viewed as a landmark ruling because it determines that secondary victims must have been present at the accident itself, rather than the death of a person involved in an accident, in order to be able to claim compensation.

In the case of Taylor v A Novo (UK) Ltd, the courts were asked to judge on whether the daughter of a victim that died several weeks after an accident at work but as a direct result of the accident was entitled to claim compensation for the psychological suffering. While the courts initially judged that the daughter was entitled to claim, the Court of Appeal judged unanimously that this was not the case and that the daughter could not claim because she was not present during the accident itself.

Secondary victims are considered to be those that are not directly injured in an accident but may suffer some form of trauma as a result. Witnessing the death of another person can have a deep psychological impact on a person, for example, and while the person affected was not the direct victim of the accident it is argued that they have suffered injury or illness as a result of the accident that occurred.

The question raised during the Taylor v A Novo (UK) Ltd case did not seek to determine whether secondary victims had a right to claim, but when. HHJ Halbert was asked to determine a single point and that was whether the daughter of Mrs Taylor was allowed to claim compensation even though she had not been present when the accident occurred. Her mother had died as a result of her injuries several weeks later, which the daughter did witness. HHJ Halbert ruled that it would be possible for such a claim to be made.

However, the case went to the Court of Appeal and the ruling was unanimously overturned. The Court determined that it was proximity to the accident itself and not to the death that determined whether Ms Taylor was allowed to claim. The Court said that changing this ruling would require Parliament intervention and not Court judgement.

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Compensation Claim Dropped By Policewoman

A policewoman that tripped and hurt her ankle while investigating a crime has dropped her claim for compensation. The Police Federation said that although she was not seeking vast sums of money she has now decided to drop the claim and that she hopes the government and police force can address any wider concerns over the issues faced by the public. The accident occurred at a Filling Station in Thetford.

PC Kelly Jones had been invstigating a break-in at the Nuns’ Bridges Filling Station in Thetford , Norfolk. During the course of the investigation, Ms Jones and the owner of the filling station, Steve Jones, were checking the outside of the building for signs of break-in when Ms Jones tripped on a kerb and injured her ankle and wrist. The WPC was claiming that Mr Jones had not adequately ensure her proper safety during the course of the investigation.

The case gained a lot of media spotlight and it was not overlooked by government either. Home Secretary, Theresa May told the Police Federation’s annual conference that she did not want a situation where people were afraid to report crimes to the police for fear of being sued and that she wanted to stop “frivolous claims” being made by police officers. She went on to say that suing a member of the public following an accident on private property is not the kind of attitude that the police should have.

The Police Federation represents police officers up to the rank of chief inspector and they covered the legal costs on behalf of Ms Jones. In April it emerged that Ms Jones may have been entitled to as much as £50,000 in compensation but the mother of two has always stated that she only wanted enough to cover her loss of earnings.

Not only did the public and the Home Secretary round on Ms Jones, but her own superior officers also stated that suing members of the public was not the way of the police and that it would undermine the confidence and trust that the public had in the modern police force.

About The Author

Safina Soni is a principal personal injury solicitor at Stocks Legal Manchester, specialising in fatal injuries, criminal injury claims and accident at work claims.

Safina has brought a wealth of experience to Stocks Legal and is a pivotal member of their executive team.

"I am very proud to be a personal injury solicitor as I know that I make a real difference to people who have suffered and continue to have problems as a result of their injuries."

As a market leader in personal injury claims, Safina is really easy to contact. You can call her for FREE on 0800 988 9055 or you can send her a confidential email by clicking here.

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How Employers Should Prevent Accidents At Work

Unfortunately, injuries in the workplace are more commonplace than people imagine. Certain industries, including construction and agriculture are especially high risk but it is also possible to suffer an injury while working in an office or other environment. It is the responsibility of all employers to ensure that their employees are provided with a safe working environment. This means ensuring that machinery and tools are safe for use and that employees receive appropriate training to help prevent accidents at work from occurring.

Machinery and tools are required in the day to day work for many individuals and it is usually the responsibility of the employer to provide these. Furthermore, it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that these are safe for use. Appropriate training should be given, machinery should be kept updated, and any hazards that arise from the use of these items should be legislated for and prevented.

The workplace itself can prove a hazard, especially if it is not kept in a safe and tidy condition. Floors and corridors should not only be clean but they should be kept free of any hazards and potential dangers for the employees. Even a dusty environment can lead to industrial illnesses and this can be prevented simply through regular, good quality cleaning. Workstations, including desks and the surrounding area, should be equally free of hazards and potential dangers.

Suitable training should be provided to all employees. The lifting of heavy objects requires special training to ensure that injuries and physical illnesses do not develop over time. If an employer fails to provide access to this training then they may be held liable for repetitive strain and other long-term ailments related to the continuous performance of a particular task. Training should be provided for the use of machinery, tools, and safety gear as well.

Safety gear should be provided by the employer to ensure that employees are able to protect themselves from potential harm. Safety boots, dust masks, hard hats, and even hazardous material suits may be required depending on the working conditions and the type of work that an employee undertakes. These items should be kept in good order because items like hard hats will not provide the level of protection that they should if they become damaged or are not cared for properly.

If an employee suffers a workplace accident and it is found that the employer was at fault or negligent then the employee may be able to file a claim for compensation. Compensation values will vary according to the severity and type of injury, but they will usually include an amount for the injury as well as special expenses and to cover any loss of earnings that might be incurred.

Where an employee does suffer an injury at work, they should first follow company protocol. An accident report should be submitted and the accident reported to the health and safety representative. This helps ensure that the company is able to rectify the situation and ensure no further injuries occur but it will also prove beneficial if the case goes to court or tribunal.


Making a claim for your personal injuries with Stocks Legal is really easy. You can speak to an experienced personal injury solicitor today by calling 0800 988 9055 or you can use our online claim enquiry form by clicking here. There is no obligation and you have nothing to lose by speaking to us.

About The Author

Mike Topper at Stocks Legal Personal Injury SolicitorsMike Topper is the litigation manager at Stocks Legal Personal Injury Solicitors. Mike is highly experienced in all types of personal injury cases. He is highly focussed on client care and getting the maximum compensation that is available for his clients and their families. He rightly sees personal injury claims as a real must for the English legal System as without a proper compensation structure, many injury people can be left with no support or ongoing medical treatment.

If you have any questions arising from this article to can contact Mike by calling 0800 988 9055 or by sending him an email by clicking here.

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Average Briton Will Endure Thousands Of Work Related Accidents And Illnesses In Their Lifetime

A recent survey of 2,000 people shows that the average Briton will suffer more than 10,000 injuries, illnesses, and accidents during their lifetime and that the majority of them will be made up of bugs picked up from work and accidents in the workplace. The report, released by solicitors Slater & Gordon, shows that cuts and bruises make up the largest section of these and the figures mean that the average person in this country will suffer, in some way, once every three days.

The typical person spends up to 40 hours or more in the workplace so it is perhaps unsurprising that the workplace is responsible for most of our illnesses and injuries. Some of these incidents are unavoidable, for example even the use of antibacterial hand gel may not prove enough to prevent picking up a cold or other bug. However, there are a large number of such accidents and work related illnesses that can and indeed should be avoided.

It is the responsibility of an employer to ensure that all of their employees are safe and free from injury and illness. The term health and safety may be derided as a joke and filled with bureaucratic paperwork but, in reality, it is what keeps employees safe when they walk through the door until they leave at the end of the day. Followed properly, health and safety guidelines can prevent potentially life threatening injuries and illnesses. When ignored, however, it not only leads to more work related incidents but it can land the employer in court.

More than a third of those surveyed said that they had suffered an injury while at work and delving further into these figures, it is also shown that approximately one in five could identify a potential hazard or health and safety risk currently in their workplace. The first step to effective health and safety at work, and preventing work related accidents, should be identifying risk before taking action to remedy that risk. If employees are able to identify such hazards then action should be taken by the employer.

When people do suffer an injury at work, or contract a work related illness or industrial illness, they may have the right to claim compensation from employers. While this compensation will usually be covered by an employer’s liability insurance policy, it can lead to a drop in workplace morale and an increase in insurance premiums required in the future. It should be, therefore, in the interest of employers to prevent accidents and illnesses occurring in the workplace.

Suffering a long lasting injury at work means that an employee is often unable to complete their daily work. This can lead to a loss of earnings and may also mean additional healthcare costs and rehabilitation costs. Compensation is awarded to anybody that suffers at the hand of a workplace injury in order to ensure that they have the financial backing to be able to fully recover from the injury and be back to full health as quickly as possible.


Making a claim for your personal injuries with Stocks Legal is really easy. You can speak to an experienced personal injury solicitor today by calling 0800 988 9055 or you can use our online claim enquiry form by clicking here. There is no obligation and you have nothing to lose by speaking to us.


Mike Topper is the litigation manager at Stocks Legal Personal Injury Solicitors. Mike is highly experienced in all types of personal injury cases. He is highly focussed on client care and getting the maximum compensation that is available for his clients and their families. He rightly sees personal injury claims as a real must for the English legal System as without a proper compensation structure, many injury people can be left with no support or ongoing medical treatment.

If you have any questions arising from this article to can contact Mike by calling 0800 988 9055 or by sending him an email by clicking here.

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