Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Government cuts compensation for victims of crime


Earlier this month the government approved changes to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme which will see a major drop in who can claim and also the amount of compensation recoverable. Despite strong opposition by victim groups and trade unions, these changes have now come into effect. Any applications made from 27th November 2012 will be dealt with under the new scheme.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) is a government organisation which considers applications from people who have been injured as a result of a violent crime. The criteria is strict in terms of who can apply for compensation and there are already many restrictions on eligibility and also the amount of the award.  

The changes which came into effect on 27th November 2012 will see many victims of crime who have been injured no longer eligible for compensation because their injuries are considered 'minor'.
'Minor injuries' include:
  • broken fingers and wrists
  • knee surgery
  • post-traumatic epilepsy
  • permanent speech impairment.
The government considers that these kind of injuries are better dealt with by means of counselling and support for the victime, rather than by an award of compensation.

A spokesperson for the CICA said: ‘...where less serious injuries have been caused, we believe taxpayers’ money is better spent providing support and help rather than what are often small payments well after the crime has been committed.’

However, the changes also reduce the compensation available for loss of earnings, which was previously paid at the employee's salaried rate for the first 28 weeks following the incident, but will now be paid at a flat rate equivalent to Statutory Sick Pay. There will obviously be those victims whose injuries are not considered serious enough to qualify for a CICA award but which mean that they are unable to work and therefore suffer lost earnings. It is cases such as these where the victim will really lose out.

Whilst it is correct to say that the CICA is still considering applications from victims with more serious injuries, those victims will also see their claims reduced by around 25%.

These serious injuries include:

·         facial scarring

·         permanent brain damage

Forster Dean considers that the changes are going to leave many victims of violent crime without a course of redress. This is concerning particulary in cases where the injuries considered 'minor' by the government have left the victim unable to work. However we remain committed to recovering the correct amount of compensation for victims who remain eligible under the new scheme.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Leigh cardboard company in court over crush injuries

A Leigh cardboard box manufacturer has appeared in court after one of its employees almost lost his right arm when it became trapped in a machine.

The said employee was trying to retrieve a piece of card to clear a blockage when his arm was dragged under a roller, causing severe crush injuries.

His employer was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the incident which found the guards on the machine were inadequate and that employees regularly removed blockages without power first being cut.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Mike Lisle said "This is an incident that could and should have been avoided, but instead one of Leighton Packaging's employees has suffered severe injuries that are likely to affect him for the rest of his life."

An employer has a responsibility to ensure that they have a suitable system of work in place and must ensure that it is not unsafe which exposes employees to a risk of injury. Manufacturing firms especially must ensure machines are properly guarded and that safety systems are in place to prevent accidents occurring.

If you or a member of your family has been involved in an accident which has resulted in you sustaining injury and would like a free and confidential discussion with one of our specialised Solicitors, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 389 1978 or visit our website at You can also follow us on Twitter (@ForsterDeanLtd) and find Forster Dean Solicitors on Facebook


Mofozzul Hussain LLB (Hons) -Office Manager (Birkenhead) and Personal Injury Solicitor

Monday, 8 October 2012

Why you should say no to Pre-Medical Offers

The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) has recently called for “sanity” to be restored in the public debate on whiplash.  It comes after their appearance at the House of Commons Transport Select Committee seminar on whiplash.  It was stated by the president of APIL, Karl Tonks that it was “wrong” for insurers to make pre-medical offers. 
Our solicitors work hard to achieve the best possible settlement for all of our clients.  We recommend that our Clients' are seen by a medical expert, this means that an impartial doctor examines the injuries sustained and reports back advising how long the client is likely to suffer for. 

Pre-medical Offers with no legal representation are unfair to the client. When an insurance company offers a settlement amount before a medical report has been sought this is to save them time and money.  The offer does not benefit the client as they are unable to fully value their injuries without a medical report. This would mean the Client has received no advice and has no idea of how severe their injuries are, a simple injury on first assessment may be very different after a medical assessment as this could have a long lasting affects on the Client.  This situation gives the Insurers all the power .

Here at Forster Dean we are able to get our Clients seen by a medical expert swiftly ensuring that they are properly compensated for the injuries they have sustained. We aim to get the best possible settlement for all our clients and aim to get claims settled swiftly, we can often get straight forward matters settled within 12 weeks of instruction. 

If you have had an accident and would like some Advice in relation to the same please do not hesitate to contact us on 01942 366365 or call into our office  at 15 Mesnes Street, Wigan, WN1 1QP were we will be more than happy to assist.
Danielle Winstanley, Litigation Executive (Wigan Office)


Friday, 5 October 2012

Is Health and Safety a Load of Trash?

Move over Kate and Pippa. There is a new Middleton that everyone has been talking about – and he didn’t have to go topless to make the press.

Willie Middleton was himself caught in a compromising position after he managed to get his head stuck in a bin in Aberdeen. Willie had dropped his bunnet into the bin with some rubbish and then became trapped as he stuck his head in to see where it was.

Luckily, he was successfully freed by fire fighters and has now recovered from his ordeal.

It’s amazing how many people are reported to have had accidents by getting stuck in small places – it’s easy to judge on the grounds of common sense. As said by Mark Twain, “the sad thing about common sense is that it is not that common”.

Health and safety consultants with an overzealous approach may look at this incident as one that should have been avoided if strict Health and Safety had been applied. Should Aberdeen Council have risk assessed the possible event of a member of the public putting their head in the bin? Should manufacturers of the bin have considered the average size of a person’s head when designing the dimensions of the opening? Should warnings signs stating ‘Do not put head in bin’ have been displayed to prevent Willie Middleton coming to grief as he did?

Any person who took a reasonable would think such suggestions overkill - a load of rubbish even. Health and Safety has a very important role to play but we, like poor Willie, must be careful not to lose our heads!
Victoria Hepworth (Solicitor - Birkenhead office)

Monday, 1 October 2012

Is it fair to blame the HSE for the demise of ice cream vans?

There has been a recent article in the Daily Express partly blaming health and safety bosses for the demise of the ice cream vans.

The article states that Councils have put the ice cream sellers into meltdown by banning vans from certain areas because of concerns about childhood obesity. Other authorities have limited how long vans can sound their chimes over concerns about noise pollution.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) chair Judith Hackitt has responded with an article headed Don't use health and safety as an excuse to give us a licking, where she commented that she felt they were taking the blame for over protective parents, child obesity, noisy jingles and bad weather.

It is clear that Britain’s ice cream vans are stalling their way into a winter of discontent and towards an uncertain future in which they face becoming as endangered as milk floats. However not all of which can be blamed on health and safety regulations.

Long list of expenses for ice cream sellers including insurance and trade licences together with soaring petrol prices have helped drive a flake into the heart of an industry already on its knees.

Stuart Whitby, managing director of Whitby Morrison, the UKs largest manufacturer of ice cream vans has said “Street vending has dramatically changed. Supermarkets are selling ice cream far more cheaply than ice cream vans can, every corner shop and garage forecourt has an ice cream freezer.”

In my view, taking the above into account, it is clear a number of factors have affected this particular trade and the blame cannot simply be put on the HSE. What we need to bear in mind, is that although your average ice cream vendor is struggling with his trade, many other industries are in the same position. Families might not have thought twice about buying their children an ice cream in the boom times, but now with most peoples finances having taken a whipping, they are thinking twice.
Mofozzul Hussain (Solicitor/Office Manager)

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Health and Safety inspection cut for thousands of firms has been criticised.

Recent decision for hundreds of thousands of businesses to be exempted from health and safety inspections under regulatory changes unveiled by the Government has been criticised by trade unions and safety groups.

Shops, offices, pubs and clubs will no longer face the workplace checks from April 2013, ministers have announced.

In future, businesses should only face health and safety inspections if they are operating in higher risk areas such as construction or if they have an incident or a track record of poor performance.

In addition, the Government has said that it will introduce legislation next month to ensure that businesses will only be held liable for civil damages in health and safety cases if they can be shown to have acted negligently. This will end the current situation where businesses can automatically be liable for damages even if they were not actually negligent.

The reforms are part of government plans to scrap or overhaul 3,000 regulations to ease the burden on UK firms. Business secretary Vince Cable said “Removing unnecessary red tape and putting common sense back into areas like health and safety will reduce fears and costs for businesses,” he said. “We want to help give British business the confidence it needs to create more jobs and support the wider economy to grow.”

The TUC have warned that the decision could put the health of UK employees at risk.

TUC’s general secretary, Brendan Barber stated “Health and safety regulation is not a burden on business, it is a basic protection for workers....Cutting back on regulation and inspections will lead to more injuries and deaths as a result of poor safety at work.”

It is clear some of the ‘low risk’ workplaces identified by the Government, such as shops, actually experience high levels of workplace injuries. This will only get worse if the regulations are eroded by the Governments decision and the employers find it easier to ignore safety risks which may ultimately lead to a rise in personal injury claims – something we are sure the workplaces, their insurers or the Government will not want to see.
Mofozzul Hussain LLB (Hons) -Office Manager (Birkenhead) and Personal Injury Solicitor

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Adopting a balanced approach: NOT taking the joy out of playtime.

Misguided “jobsworths” have turned playgrounds into joyless no-go zones and risk harming children’s education for fear of being sued, the chairman of the Health and Safety Executive, Miss Judith Hackitt, has warned.

It has been said that too often regulations were wrongly cited as an excuse, when the true reason included cost cutting and the creeping culture of risk aversion and fear of litigations, when denying youngsters the chance to have fun outdoors.

Miss Hackitt highlighted a litany of what she called “daft decisions” in recent years which has included ordering children to wear goggles to play conkers and banning running at a pancake race.

The HSE has worked with the Play Safety Forum to produce a joint statement that gives clear messages tackling any misunderstandings.

The statement makes clear that Play is important for children’s well-being and development and when planning and providing play opportunities, the goal is not to eliminate risk, but to weigh up the risks and benefits. It also highlights that accidents and mistakes happen during play – but fear of litigation and prosecution has been blown out of proportion

Miss Hackitt has sent a message to employers and other organisations “own your own decisions...Don’t use health and safety law as a convenient scapegoat or we will challenge you.”

Mofozzul Hussain LLB (Hons) -Office Manager (Birkenhead) and Personal Injury Solicitor

Government Sees Sense Over CICA

Government  ministers appear to have axed plans to cut compensation payments to victims of minor criminal assaults.

The Ministry of Justice had wanted to limit payments under the criminal injuries compensation scheme so that only seriously injured victims would be eligible. But critics claimed the move would leave victims unable to seek redress for attacks and accused the government of putting deficit reduction before justice and compassion.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice has said: The government is committed to providing the best possible support for victims of crime – maintaining compensation for the most seriously affected – and to reforming the criminal injuries compensation scheme to put it on a sustainable financial footing.

"We have listened to the views expressed in parliament and will now consider our next steps."

The shadow justice minister, Rob Flello, welcomed the U-turn, saying: "Even contemplating these cuts that would have affected innocent victims of crime shows this government is out of touch.”

Forster Dean hope that the Government sticks with it’s change of heart so that innocent victims of crime can continue to receive the compensation they deserve.

Danielle Abbott

Manual Handling: Who’s really at risk?


Do you know that over a third of all injuries reported to the Health and Safety Executive relate to manual handling?  It doesn’t surprise me as I deal with many forms of lifting injury on a day-to-day basis.  What at first surprised me though was the nature of the work that would tend to cause such injuries.  Outside of the profession you would probably think that most lifting injuries occur within the building and construction trades, after all, they’re the tough, heavy jobs aren’t they?  Whilst those jobs do carry great risk, they’re also the types of industries which have come under close scrutiny in the past regarding manual handling and so have done quite a lot to “get their act together” so to speak. 


The law regarding manual handling is very strict, which is exactly what it needs to be given the number of lost working days, state healthcare and benefits costs, legal costs and, not to mention, tremendous amounts of pain and suffering, it causes.  The “typical” lifting industries, on the whole, have taken heed of the law.  The result is that, a significant amount of the manual handling injuries I deal with come from perhaps unexpected sources: office workers, cleaners, factory line workers, healthcare professionals, secretarial and administrative staff etc.  The point is: when you’re not thinking about manual handling risks, that’s when you’re at the greatest risk.


Linked with this is the fact that many injuries don’t involve very heavy weights.  Again, when dealing with heavy weights people will often have manual handling in mind – the real danger area, in my opinion, is those weights which lie somewhere in the middle – say 20 – 30kg.  They’re heavy enough to damage a healthy back, let alone a vulnerable back (which most people don’t realise they have until after the accident), but people don’t tend to start thinking about risk assessments etc when dealing with such weights.  In fact, the most severely injured client I have acted for was lifting a 15kg item of machinery at the time.  It’s so often not just about the weight – it’s about the person, the task, the conditions, the repetitive nature etc. 


The law reflects the subtlety and breadth of these risks but, from what I see, employers still have a long way to go in order to “plug the gap” and comply with the law.

If you or a member of your family has been involved in an accident which has resulted in you sustaining injury and would like a free and confidential discussion with one of our specialised Solicitors, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 389 1978 or visit our website at You can also follow us on Twitter (@ForsterDeanLtd) and find Forster Dean Solicitors on Facebook

James Winterbottom, Solicitor, Forster Dean Rochdale.


11th September 2012

Monday, 3 September 2012

Nadia Kerr completes the Bike Events Manchester 100 ride

Congratulations to Nadia Kerr, Head of Personal Injury at Forster Dean Solicitors, who took part in the ‘Bike Events Manchester 100 Ride’ on Sunday 2 September, in aid of The Christie Charity in Manchester.
Nadia, who cycles with TeamGlow based in Manchester, said “TeamGlow was launched at the Manchester 100 ride last year and this ride is now the main event in the calendar. It is a fantastic opportunity to get together – we have a carb loading pasta party social the day before the ride and then we do the ride itself on Sunday. Last year we had 102 women riders – this year we are hoping for more. We have permission from Bike Events to have a reception tent this year which is our meet point and we will be using the opportunity to try and recruit new members. The forecast is good and we are hoping for an amazing weekend of celebration and a great ride”

Nadia Kerr completes the Bike Events Manchester 100 ride

Friday, 31 August 2012

Crime Does Pay - But Not To Victims

In an attempt to save money the Government have confirmed that there will be an overhaul of the CICA system which will mean that around 17,000 victims of criminal injury who suffer "temporary" injuries each year, such as fractured ribs or a dislocated jaw, will lose out on compensation altogether.

Another 13,000 with more serious injuries, including minor brain damage, a fractured skull or damage to the retina, will see their compensation cut. Overall, an estimated 83 per cent of crime victims will lose out.

Other changes will effect dog attack victims who will only be entitled to compensation if the dog involved was used as a weapon. This chance comes as the number of dog attacks are actually going up, with more than 6,000 victims going to hospital last year.

The changes will  tighten eligibility to apply for compensation, for example, by introducing residency criteria for applicants who are not in certain exempted categories (including British citizens, members of the armed forces and EU/EEA nationals and their families). In addition those with an unspent criminal record attracting a custodial or community sentence will no longer be eligible to apply.

Forster Dean are disappointed by the changes to the law which will leave many victims of crime with no or lower compensation.

The changes are due to come into force from 30th September 2012.

If you have been injured as a result of crime, feel free to contact one of our solicitors on 0800 389 1978 for free initial advice.

Danielle Abbott
Solicitor at Forster Dean Solicitors

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Hit and run.....what next?

The term “hit and run” is unfortunately a phrase we hear from the news often.  Just today a 36 year old man has been arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving following a hit and run incident in Leeds that left two children seriously injured and in Manchester it has been reported that three people have been hit by a silver Vauxhall Corsa that failed to stop.

In both of these incidents the pedestrians have been left with significant injuries. Much of the media reporting surrounding a hit and run accident is about tracing the perpetrator, the person who has left the scene. What if the perpetrator is not found? What happens to the victim, the person with the physical injuries, the mental scars and the financial losses?

Accidents can have a huge impact on people’s lives.  Many people are not prepared when they suddenly become unable to work because of injuries, the financial toll is great and the effect on the victims and the families is often life changing. Clients often say to me “it was a hit and run there is nothing I can do.” This is not true! 

The law in England and Wales protects victims of hit and run accidents. The Motor Insurers Bureau will pay compensation to victims of untraced drivers for injuries and financial losses. That applies whether the victim is a pedestrian or another road user i.e. another vehicle driver, passenger or a cyclist. This is subject to the Motor Insurers Bureau's criteria.

Claims to the Motor Insurers Bureau under the untraced scheme are regularly submitted by Forster Dean Solicitors.  Some firms of solicitors will charge for this service, however, Forster Dean ensures that all clients recover 100% of their compensation in MIB claims. We act on a no win no fee basis and there is nothing to pay win or lose.

Forster Dean Solicitors can provide assistance if you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a hit and run accident. 
If you or a member of your family has been involved in an accident which has resulted in you sustaining injury and would like a free and confidential discussion with one of our specialised Solicitors, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 389 1978 or visit our website at You can also follow us on Twitter (@ForsterDeanLtd) and find Forster Dean Solicitors on Facebook

Yvonne Hall
Office Manager and Personal  Injury Solicitor

Monday, 13 August 2012

Port berth operator fined after worker's legs amputated

A berth operator at an Essex Port has been fined £20,000 for safety failings after an employee had both legs amputated after they were crushed by a cargo container in an incident which occurred on the 26th March 2010.

The dock worker was returning to a safe refuge under a quayside crane when he was knocked down by a 45ft container being lowered by a reach stacker. The driver of the reach stacker, unaware that the worker was on the quayside and had been knocked down, continued to lower the container onto his legs. They were crushed to such a degree that they later had to be amputated.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Stanton Grove had failed to ensure the safety of the worker while he was working on the quayside.

HSE Inspector Toni Drury, said:

"This incident clearly demonstrates why it is essential that the risk arising from the movement of vehicles and large lifting plant at docks is carefully managed.

"It is common for a wide range of vehicles and equipment to have to use shared space on the docks. There may also be workers on foot undertaking tasks such as guiding loads, removing twistlocks or supervising operations. Good co-ordination and co-operation between all those who are in control of the berth, the operations and the workforce is a necessity, and an agreed safe system of work must be properly communicated and training provided to all involved.

If you or a member of your family has been involved in an accident which has resulted in you sustaining injury and would like a free and confidential discussion with one of our specialised Solicitors, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 389 1978 or visit our website at You can also follow us on Twitter (@ForsterDeanLtd) and find Forster Dean Solicitors on Facebook

Mofozzul Hussain LLB (Hons) -Office Manager (Birkenhead) and Personal Injury Solicitor

Steel company fined £500,000 after worker died from fall into liquid waste

Global steel company was fined £500,000 for serious safety breaches after a worker died when he fell into a channel carrying slag waste at 1,500 degrees Celsius when covers had been removed for maintenance and not replaced.

The worker was working on a night shift on the Blast Furnace at the Port Talbot steelworks when the incident happened on 25 April 2006.

The court was told that the worker went to the cast house at the site to inspect the slag pool, which was due to close for maintenance work during the day shift. Whilst  on a veranda area, steam from a granulator became acute forcing him to leave.

The worker  tried to retrace his steps through the dense steam and he fell into the open section of a channel that was running slag at 1,500 degrees Celsius. He attempted to climb out and was helped out by workers who heard his cries. Although conscious he died later the same day.

The Health and Safety Executives (HSE) investigation found that the company had a reporting system which showed a significant number of near misses where steam had led to dangerous situations with the potential to injure workers or damage equipment.

It was also common practice to operate the furnace with sections of channels - or runners - left uncovered without taking additional precautions to prevent anyone from falling in.

HSE Principal Inspector Colin Mew, said "This horrific incident could have been avoided if the company had a system in place to ensure that either no covers were left off the runners or - if they needed to be left off - a temporary barrier was erected around them”

If you or a member of your family has been involved in an accident which has resulted in you sustaining injury and would like a free and confidential discussion with one of our specialised Solicitors, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 389 1978 or visit our website at You can also follow us on Twitter (@ForsterDeanLtd) and find Forster Dean Solicitors on Facebook

Mofozzul Hussain LLB (Hons) -Office Manager (Birkenhead) and Personal Injury Solicitor

Wednesday, 1 August 2012


Forster Dean's Head of Personal Injury is very proud to have completed her epic Lands End to John O’Groats cycle challenge, which raised much needed funds for the purchase of an adapted cycle for use by disabled riders.

The Simply Cycling Charity runs open sessions offering cycling opportunities to disabled users and has seen expansion of service users such that more bikes are needed.

Nadia Kerr, 41, Head of Personal Injury at Forster Dean, completed the ride after 14 days of cycling. A core group of 7 completed the full distance of the ride – 954 miles – and visitors joined in along the route. The beautifully sunny and warm 82 mile day stage between Warrington and Kendal was the busiest day when 19 cyclists formed the peloton.

Toughest challenge

Nadia commented “This was, by far, the hardest challenge of my life. The daily distances were long particularly when combined with some steep climbs but the endurance element was where the real work lay – getting on the bike day after day and keeping going was hard. But the group I cycled with was inspirational and I could not have done it without them”

After a total of 20 punctures, the group, which had been supported and subsidised by BikeRight!, arrived at John O’Groats only moments before the legendary sign was removed for the night.

Nadia Kerr – second row on the right

You can read about Nadia’s training journey, including time spent in Majorca with her cycling club TeamGlow at:  

What next? Nadia is mentoring  members of the TeamGlow Club to complete the Manchester 100km and 100mile event on 2 September 2012.

And then? “Lands End to John O’Groats is a ‘one-off’, but I may be tempted into another challenge on the bike. The Channel to the Med ride through France is a possibility, especially with the allure of a swim in the warm Mediterranean at the end of the ride!”

For further information please contact Nadia Kerr on 0151 203 2141 or email -

Thursday, 26 July 2012


At present, cyclists in London face a £130 fine if they use the dedicated Olympic cycling lanes which are only available to Olympic officials, athletes and other approved vehicles but MPs are currently calling on Transport for London to reconsider this decision due to the effect it may have on the daily commute of many cyclists and, most importantly, the safety of cyclists on our roads.

The National cycling charity CTC’s policy co-coordinator Chris Peck has recently said: “The Government has been urging people to take to two wheels to avoid clogging the roads, but restricting them to only one lane of the road will put cyclists in more danger, particularly if they have to share it with lorries or other large vehicles.” I strongly agree with his comments and believe that due to the extreme congestion which is expected throughout the Olympics period we should be encouraging commuters to get on their bikes rather than forcing them to either share lanes or drive instead.

Many of the dedicated lanes will be empty for much of the time and it seems crazy to make cyclists struggle through  traffic rather than using these lanes, especially when you consider the efforts which have gone into promoting cycling in the         UK recently.

Transport for London have suggested that because a large proportion of the dedicated lanes will be in the outside lane of dual carriageways, the effect on cyclists will in fact be minimal however I believe that any effect which can be avoided should be. There are enough accidents involving cyclists already without putting them in danger which could easily be avoided by changing the current policy.

Nicola Mawson LLB (Hons) -Office Manager (Eccles) and Personal Injury Solicitor

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

UK Coal sentenced over Kellingley mineworker's death

UK Coal Ltd and machinery supplier Joy Mining Ltd were ordered to pay a total of £568,000 in fines and costs for serious breaches of safety that led to the death of West Yorkshire pit worker Ian Cameron.

UK Coal had admitted failing to take steps to ensure the safety of workers using powered roof supports. Joy Mining admitted failing to send out its bulletin warning of a dangerous defect in their powered roof supports.

Mr Cameron, 46, died as a result of his injuries when a powered roof support (PRS) lowered spontaneously, crushing him against large amounts of debris that had accumulated within the walkway of the support. The PRS was one of several hundred supplied to UK Coal by Joy Mining, each weighing some 15 tonnes and designed to support 510 tonnes.

It was found that a valve within the powered roof support had become worn and defective. The result was that hydraulic fluid was able to pass under pressure through a valve and cause the PRS canopy to descend without the control button being operated.

A similar malfunction on a PRS made by Joy had happened in Australia previously. The company issued a warning bulletin but failed to circulate it within the UK or provide it to UK Coal; nor did Joy notify them of the incident until after Mr Cameron’s death.

From the outset of production the PRS’s had numerous faults that were recorded but not corrected. UK Coal was aware of the problems but regarded them as production issues rather than a significant risk to the safety of workers.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Principal Inspector of Mines Paul Bradley said:

"UK Coal disregarded the numerous warnings and frequent failures of the PRS’s and failed to take effective measures to ensure the debris was removed and the walking track kept clear.

In respect of Joy Mining Machinery Ltd it stated  “It failed to distribute within this country the Safety Bulletin warning of the solenoid risks or notify one of its major customers is an error of quite staggering proportion and a serious failing in its duty of care."

If you or a member of your family has been involved in an accident which has resulted in you sustaining injury and would like a free and confidential discussion with one of our specialised Solicitors, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 389 1978 or visit our website at You can also follow us on Twitter (@ForsterDeanLtd) and find Forster Dean Solicitors on Facebook

Mofozzul Hussain LLB (Hons) -Office Manager (Birkenhead) and Personal Injury Solicitor

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Construction firms sentenced over worker's fatal fall

Two construction companies have been fined a total of £301,000 after a worker fell 22 metres to his death in Manchester.

The worker was working on the Leftbank riverside apartments in Manchester city centre - part of the Spinningfields development - when he was dragged over the guardrail on a scaffolding platform after becoming entangled in a chain.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted the site's principal contractor and the steel-erection company following an investigation into the workers death.

Liverpool Crown Court heard the worker suffered fatal injuries after falling approximately seven storeys on 29 April 2004. Another worker was also injured and the incident has had a long-term psychological impact on him.

The worker had been using a chain from a scaffolding platform to adjust a steel beam three stories above him, when one of the supporting brackets gave way. He was struck by a falling steel block, became entangled in the operating chain, and was dragged over the edge of the scaffolding.

An HSE investigation into the incident found that the wrong studs had been used to secure the chain, and that the work had not been properly planned or monitored.

The sites principal contractors were found guilty of breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety etc Act 1974, by failing to ensure the safety of workers. The company was fined £300,000 and ordered to pay £333,866 towards the cost of the prosecution on 29 June 2012.

The steel-erection company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(2)(a) of the same Act by failing to provide and maintain a safe system of work. The company, which has gone into administration, received a nominal fine of £1,000 with no costs.

Neil Jamieson, HSE Principal Inspector for Construction confirmed that this was a major construction site and the work taking place should have been properly planned and managed. If the companies had acted differently then this accident could have been prevented.

Every employer has a duty to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons who may be affected are not exposed to risks to their health or safety

If you or a member of your family has been involved in an accident which has resulted in you sustaining injury and would like a free and confidential discussion with one of our specialised Solicitors, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 389 1978 or visit our website at You can also follow us on Twitter (@ForsterDeanLtd) and find Forster Dean Solicitors on Facebook

Mofozzul Hussain LLB (Hons) -Office Manager (Birkenhead) and Personal Injury Solicitor

Company boss fined after worker left paralysed

A demolition boss has been prosecuted after a worker was left paralysed following a fall from the roof of a Sunderland pub.

The 67-year-old worker was working for the demolition company, when the incident happened on 29 June 2010.

The demolition company was demolishing a pub and had chosen to remove the slates and timbers of the pitched roof by hand. A mobile access platform was used to provide access for the workers and act as a barrier to prevent falls from the roof edge.

However, as the platform did not cover the whole length of the roof, the demolition company should have implemented additional controls to provide a safe system of work but many of these controls were lacking, or where provided, not effective.

While working on the roof the worker fell two-storeys, around 18-20 feet to the ground below. He suffered serious injuries including several fractures to three vertebrae, his right elbow and both bones of his lower right leg. He also suffered a dislocated right hip and his right lung collapsed.

As a result of the terrible injuries to his spine, all his limbs are now paralysed and he requires permanent care in a nursing home.

The owner of the demolition company was fined a total of £20,000 and ordered to pay £7,434 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Regulation 6(2) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

HSE Inspector Keith Partington, said:

"The building could have been safely demolished by remote mechanical means using the excavator that was on the site - without the risks to the public, which the defendant claimed was the reason for manually dismantling the roof.

"In choosing to undertake the work at height the system the defendant used was not sufficiently robust enough to prevent one of his employees falling from the roof level to the ground which resulted in injuries that have left this worker in a condition whereby he now needs permanent care to assist him in his daily living.

Falls from height are one of the largest causes of death and serious injury in the construction industry and thus work at height should be planned for carefully, with suitable and sufficient instruction and supervision when executed.

If you or a member of your family has been involved in an accident which has resulted in you sustaining injury and would like a free and confidential discussion with one of our specialised Solicitors, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 389 1978 or visit our website at You can also follow us on Twitter (@ForsterDeanLtd) and find Forster Dean Solicitors on Facebook

Mofozzul Hussain LLB (Hons) -Office Manager (Birkenhead) and Personal Injury Solicitor

Friday, 22 June 2012

Teenage workers seriously injured after falling from height

A Derbyshire manufacturing firm and its director have been fined after two teenage agency workers fell from a lifting platform.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted the manufacturing firm and one of its Directors after one agency worker broke his back in the incident on 6 April 2009 at the firm's depot in Tibshelf. His colleague, another agency worker, broke both of his heels and needed pins and a metal plate put in his feet.

The agency workers were helping to put scrapped trolleys into a skip using a makeshift lifting platform designed by the manufacturing firms director to fit a fork lift truck. As the platform was bringing the two workers back down to the ground, it was caught and dragged off the truck's forks. The workers and platform fell four and a half metres to the ground.

HSE inspector Fiona Coffey said:

"The company should have considered if it was necessary to use a platform like this in the first place, and if it was, used something that was legal and safe - this arrangement clearly was not.

The manufacturing firm was fined £22,000 and ordered it to pay costs of £12,134 and a £15 victim surcharge.

The director was fined £3,500 and ordered to pay costs of £7,866 and a £15 victim surcharge.

The injuries suffered by the injured workers could have been prevented had his employers planned and implemented safety checks before such work was undertaken and followed guidelines and standards in the design of the platform.

If you or a member of your family has been involved in an accident which has resulted in you sustaining injury and would like a free and confidential discussion with one of our specialised Solicitors, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 389 1978 or visit our website at You can also follow us on Twitter (@ForsterDeanLtd) and find Forster Dean Solicitors on Facebook

Mofozzul Hussain LLB (Hons) -Office Manager (Birkenhead) and Personal Injury Solicitor

Monday, 18 June 2012

Affordable Homes Statistics Argument

Affordable Homes Statistics Argument

2 polar opposite press releases have been reported recently.  On one side the Housing Minister Grant Shapps refers to the number of affordable houses being built as having undergone a “rapid and dramatic increase”.  On the other hand the Shadow Housing Minister Jack Dromey states that there has been a “disastrous collapse” in the number of affordable houses.

This appears to stem from the fact that statistics can be interpreted in several ways and often are.  In November of 2011 Labour stated that there had been a “97% fall in affordable new housing” in the first 6 months of 2011-2012.  This was due to the fact that during that period only 429 new affordable homes were built, obviously this is a worrying figure and caused concern about the future of housing.  However in the following 6 months 15,269 affordable houses were built.  If the previous figure of 429 is compared to this, this could be reported as being a 3,500% increase in the construction of affordable housing!!  This shows how difficult it is to use sets of statistics to give a realistic overview of a situation.

 The large fluctuation between these sets of figures was actually caused by a transition period from the previous policy for Labour’s affordable housing programme in which central Government money was used for funding  to the new system in which public money is used to encourage developers to make their own investments in affordable housing.  Furthermore the different position of the Housing Minister and the Shadow Housing Minister seems to have developed because  the Government believes that the contracts currently being signed will deliver 170,000 new affordable homes over the next couple of years, however the Shadow Housing Minister’s position is that these projections are impossible to achieve. 

Due to the lengthy timescale involved in implementing any new policies and new procedures it will not be possible to see which projections are correct for a number of years. Hopefully for the sake of the housing market we can look to the housing minister’s view of matters.

If you or a member of your family are looking to purchase or sell a property and you would like a quotation from one of our specialised Conveyancing Solicitors, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 100 2741 or visit our website at  You can also follow us on twitter (@ForsterDeanLimited) and find Forster Dean Solicitors on Facebook.

Louise Lomax LLB (Hons)

Conveyancing Solicitor
Published 18th June 2012