Recycling Plant Fined £15,000 After Worker Involved in Machinery Accident

Rotherham Magistrates have issued a fine of £15,000 for health and safety violations to a recycling plant after one of its workers was involved in a serious accident with one of its pieces of machinery, sustaining serious damage to his arm.

In December 2013, Ryan Jackson (25) from South Yorkshire was working alone in the metal recycling plant. Ryan had only been recently employed by the plant when the machine he was working on stopped suddenly. Ryan investigated the cause of this, and found that there was something blocking the machinery. He attempted to remove the cause this blockage, not realising that the machine would start to function immediately after it was cleared.

As a result of this oversight, Ryan’s arm was caught by the cutting mechanism, and he suffered severe injuries to the area including a cracked shoulder blade, a shredded radial nerve and three different breakages to his arm. He was immediately escorted to hospital where his injuries were treated.

Ryan had to have a nerve removed from his calf and implanted into his shoulder to replace the one that had been destroyed by the machine. He was unable to use his broken arm for several months after the accident occurred. Ryan is still on a course of pain medication to help him with the pain he endures from the accident.

An investigation was launched, and it was revealed there had been a failure to replace a guard that had been placed over the tail drum after it was removed. The absence of emergency stop button near the area of the machine that had been blocked was also noted. The report concluded that the guarding that had been around the conveyor belt leading into the cutting mechanism was inadequate. Therefore, the area in which Ryan was working was not compliant with health and safety standards.

The Health and Safety Executive charged the owners of the recycling plant for breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Magistrates at Rotherham Magistrates Court were informed that the plant had no management system to ensure that the guards were in place, nor to check if suitable safety procedures were being followed. The lack of management system also meant that emergency equipment such as emergency stops or pull cords were not checked for functionality.

It brought to the attention of the magistrates that C F Booth Ltd, the owners of the plant, had been previously advised by the Health and Safety Executive in May 2013 regarding the guards of the end drums on other conveyor belts of the site.

The owners of the plant admitted that they had violated safety procedure. Such a breach was the cause of Ryan’s accident and resulting injuries. In addition to the £15,000 fine, they were required to pay costs of £1,595.

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Health Service Medical Claims Nearly Double Since 2010

Figures released by the State Claims Agency indicated that, in the past five years, medical negligence claims against the HSE have nearly doubled.

The State Claims Agency have recently reported that last year, just under a thousand service medical negligence claims had been made against the HSE in the High Court. This figure is nearly double that reported in 2010. On top of these numbers, the State Claims Agency has to deal with more than 3,000 previous claims dating back from before 2014, and another 218 claims that have already been lodged this year.

However, these 936 health service medical negligence claims fails to include claims made in both the District and Circuit Courts. It also does not address public liability claims for accidents to visitors to hospitals, nor employer liability claims when employees are involved in accidents in Irish hospitals.

The number of claims is expected to rise even further following the Hiqa report into failings at the Portlaoise Hospital, and several high-profile cases involving Irish maternity care. The report caused the chief of the HSE-Tony O’ Brien- to call for a “clear-out of uncompassionate staff”. However, Leo Varadkar, current Health Minister, states that the “wall of silence” is responsible for the huge increase in the number of claims.

Leo Varadkar has previously criticised an “open disclosure” initiative in the HSE and State Claims Agency, first implemented in 2013. According to Varadkar, the initiative was failing to work, as hospital managers were neglecting to fully engage with patients who claimed to have had negative experiences while at hospital. In order to receive answers to their queries about what went wrong with their procedures, they are forced to go to court, due to this lack of engagement.

“When something goes wrong, it’s OK to say that you’re sorry about what happened”, Minister Varadkar said to the press. “It does not mean you’re accepting liability. There is a never a good reason to conceal the truth from a patient or their family once the facts are known. Aside from making sense from a human point of view, it’s the right thing to do financially”

The Department of Health is currently writing legislation to reinforce the open disclosure policy among Irish hospitals. This is hoped to help healthcare professionals engage with their patients, passing on vital information to them, without prejudicing future health service medical negligence claims.

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BT Employees Still Able to Claim for Loss of Hearing Caused by Faulty Headsets

British Telecom employees are still be able to pursue compensation for any loss of hearing they suffered as a result of faulty headsets provided by the company, but the deadline for claims is now subject to the three-year rule imposed by the Statute of Limitations, the company announced in June last year.

BT had said that it will allow workers to claim for compensation for a limitless period of time after acknowledging that some of their workers were given faulty headsets in August 2010, when the Watkins v British Telecom was taken.  The Statute of Limitations will come into effect for all claims as of January 1, 2013, it announced last June.

BT’s acknowledgement that they had provided faulty headsets to their engineers led to several employees pursuing claims for compensation for loss of hearing, some of which occurred years before.

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Gardai Paid €6.7m in Compensation in 2012

Gardai were paid a total of €6.7m in compensation for assault settlements, figures obtained under the Freedom of Information At have revealed. Soft tissue injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder and back injuries were among the most common injuries claimed for, according to the documents.

All of the 121 cases were made for malicious acts taken against Gardai and include three cases of Garda suffering from depression after being threatened with a shotgun, one of a Garda being hit in the head with a bottle, and six where Garda were bitten by humans. The second highest payment to a Garda was recorded during the year — €790,000 for back injuries and post-traumatic stress suffered after an assault. The largest ever — €990,000 – was made to a Garda in 2008 who was shot in the knee.

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Baggage Handler Resolves Electric Shock Claim with DAA and Servisair

A Dublin Airport baggage handler has resolved a claim brought against his employer for two electric shocks he sustained while performing his job in 2009. Patrick Kemmy from Blanchardstown was attempting to connect an electric cable to a Boeing 737 aircraft when he was shocked twice.

The accident left Patrick with a tingling sensation in his right arm – which he still experiences intermittently to this day. He also suffered from headaches, neck pains and a shortness of breath. Patrick has missed work nine or ten times due to the injury.

The shock was caused by an ingress of water into the electric cable, which he claimed had not be properly maintained by the Dublin Airport Authority and Servisair. Despite denying liability, the parties engaged with Patrick to settle his claim out of court shortly before the action was expected to be brought before the High Court.

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Finglas Plumber Awarded Compensation for Work Accident

A plumber form Finglas, Dublin has been awarded �6,750 in
compensation for breaking his ankle after tripping over a stray wire at the Dun
Laoghaire Golf Club. Barry McGrath had just finished working on the golf course
in May 2010 when he tripped on a wire on his way out of work. He was
subsequently taken to the VHI Swiftcare Clinic at Dublin City University to
have his injuries assessed.

Left unable to work by his injury, Barry pursued his claim against
Cosgraves Developments, the managers of the site at which he was injured.
Cosgraves denied liability, claiming that the wire over which Barry tipped should
have been noticed by him as it was bright blue and easy to spot. 

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Waiter Taking Action Against Former Employers

A former waiter at the Slieve Russell Hotel in Ballyconnell,
Co Cavan has had his claim for compensation against his former employers heard
by the High Court. Robert Miloch, who is suing the Slieve Russell Hotel and its
parent company, Quinn Hotels Limited, for a back injury he sustained while
attending to his daily duties.

Miloch, who was unable to walk after two discs in his back
crushed a nerve when he attempted to retrieve breakfast trays from a cart at
the hotel, was unable to walk home after sustaining the injury. In support of
his claim, Miloch showed the court an MRI scan of his injury at the time it

Both defendants are disputing Milcoh;s claim, saying that
his injuries could have been caused by a car accident in which he was involved
later in the year; adding that Miloch’s doctor described his injury as “paradoxical”. 

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Slips, Trips and Falls Among Most Common Workplace Claims

Slips, trips and falls in the workplace are among the most
commonly reported injuries in the workplace, new figures released by the
Injuries Board to coincide with “World Day for Health and Safety at Work” have
revealed. Slips, trips and falls injuries contributed substantially to the
�22,500,000 Assessed by the Injuries Board in 2011, it said.

While the value of claims falling overall year-on-year, most
of the fall has been put down to a smaller workforce and not improvements in
health and safety standards.

“While our figures point to a downward trend in the number
of claims for workplace accidents, the main driver for this is a contracting
workforce rather than notable advices in health and safety programmes,”
commented Patricia Byron, chief executive. “We understand that
businesses today are under constant pressure to drive efficiencies, often
operating with scare resources, but cutting corners on employee safety is a cut
too far.”

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RTE Worker Awarded €18,500 for Elbow Injury

A props assistant at State broadcaster RTE has been awarded
€18,500 in compensation at the Circuit Civil Court for injuries he sustained after
trying to unsnag a curtain during a studio rehearsal of The Saturday Night
Show. Arthur McMullan of Goatstown, Dublin, injured his elbow in the fall,
colliding with a studio lamp after hitting the floor in February 2010.

As part of his claim McMullan said that RTE was aware that
the curtain had been presenting a persistent problem to workers, and as part of
his evidence, showed a clip of host Brendan O’Connor being forced to hold back
the curtain during a band performance. McMullan also benefited from testimony
provided by one of his colleagues.

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Family of Man Crushed By Digger Awarded Compensation

The family of a man crushed to death between two diggers at
his workplace in Co Wicklow have been granted �550,000 in compensation by Mr
Justice John Quirke at the High Court. Twenty-seven-year-old Ronan Conway was
killed when he went to investigate something which had fallen on the ground
where he was working. On leaving the cab of the digger, Conway was crushed by
the two diggers, in one of which he had failed to lock the safety lever in

Conway’s employers, OB Hire and Sales Limited disputed liability,
claiming that Conway failed to heed advice which was given to him when taught
how to operate a digger. They claimed that his own negligence led to his

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