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 www.forsterdean.co.uk. 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