New Legislation On Agricultural Health & Safety

In UK agriculture, one worker dies every week on average according to the HSE. Farm work can present a myriad of risks; minor, serious and fatal in a normal day. New legislation aims to curve that statistic as new tough penalties for breaches could encourage a safer environment.
 

A Dangerous Profession

Last month we looked at which industry in the UK was the most dangerous from a personal injury perspective. We determined that due to the heavy machinery and tools used, matched with the working environment, that farming is indeed Britain’s most dangerous workplace.

Agricultural work on average sees more serious injuries each year than construction and manufacturing. This is a result of tasks involving a variety of machinery with the ability to cut, shred and maim individuals coming into contact with them. It is also unfortunately an “accepted” part of the farming industry that injury and death do occur at regular intervals during any calendar year.

Farming is the leading cause of workplace deaths each year

New Legislation

February 2017 will see the introduction of new penalties that heavily affect farming, particularly larger farms with numerous employees. From February, corporate manslaughter and breaching other health and safety offences will result in heavy fines or imprisonment.

According to the official publication released by the HSE, offences can see fines scaling from £50 all the way up to £10 million being handed out, depending on how many people were hurt, what the incident involved and how much damage was done. Sincere Law Partner Lucie Illingworth spoke on the tougher stance on agricultural health and safety:

“It isn’t permissible for agricultural bosses to “accept” that serious injury and death is just a part of working farms. Those that add to the statistics are humans with families. They deserve protection. The legislation should help stimulate greater protection and eliminate that notion. Employee safety is above all else in any industry”

Serious farming injury in the UK

Challenge the Norms

Sincere Law’s solicitors have dealt previously with both the serious injury of agricultural workers and the claiming of compensation following fatalities on behalf of their families. Both situations require immense work and empathy for those involved. It can be a distressing time for all involved, not just the person involved in the incident.

As a law firm that supports the victims of serious injury with their recovery, we welcome any legislative change as an effort to clamp down on negligent procedures employers may have risked assigning employees to in the past. From witnessing the effects of serious injury on agricultural workers first hand, we would like to see the frequency of these impactful injuries fall dramatically.

 

Agriculture – Britain’s riskiest profession?

Farming has always been a staple of the British economy. The land holds promise for rearing animals and crops and seemingly will always have a place in British life. It does however often go unreported that this historic job does hold a place as the UK’s most dangerous profession statistically.

Brits and farming

The agriculture industry in the UK has always been a popular source of economic prosperity. With 75% of the UK’s landmass used for farming, it helps supply over two thirds of the nation’s food, from meat and poultry, to fruit and veg. Being an island nation, farming has been a failsafe industry since the dawn of civilisation, allowing us to stay supplied during both World Wars and giving the UK a strong trade out into the world.

From the early days of horse drawn ploughs and farm hands sowing crops; cultivating the land by hand, there has always been plenty of labour available in farming.

Revolution & change

With the industrial revolution adding new machinery and methods of farming, came greater risk of serious injury in the daily life of a farm worker. Farming has always seen incidents of serious injury, including workers becoming entrapped in machinery, being mauled by animals or falling from height working on the buildings.

According to current statistics, farming is still at the top of the tree for injuries and fatalities in the UK workplace. With heavy machinery including a variety of tractors, industrial size machines for collecting and processing crops and the fact that the overall amount of livestock kept rising, it is no surprise that farming does still carry risks of serious injury (and even fatalities).

Farming has the highest rate of serious injury incidents in the UK

Farming safely & what next?

With so many risks of injury, it is imperative anybody involved in farming not only has adequate protection in the form of PPE and working tested equipment, but also to be properly educated on having a safe working environment. This is exactly what one company in Oxfordshire has done by offering training and education for all areas of farm work. It is often overlooked by those that work in the more labour intensive side of farming, but proper education is one step to avoiding unnecessary incidents.

Sincere Law has experienced a myriad of farming related injuries arising from the provision of poor education and inadequate PPE. The cost of an accident working on a farm can far outweigh that of being injured in many other professions, construction and manufacturing included.

With life changing injuries seen including amputations, loss of hearing, loss of sight, 3rd degree burns and broken bones, Sincere Law Partner, Lucie Illingworth, actively welcomes the new resources and challenges other companies to provide the same. Lucie said of the new courses:

“It often goes unnoticed just how badly an injury caused working in agriculture can change a person’s life. Any claims we deal with in this sector go far beyond simply providing a means of compensation. The rebuilding process can take months and years to come close to making a recovery (if at all). The more protection provided for farmers, the fewer lives we are likely to see affected by injuries at work. I’d like to see many more of these initiatives launched to protect UK agricultural workers”.

Will the enhanced education have an effect on the rate of serious injury and fatalities in UK farming? Only time will tell. Until we know for sure, farming is likely to retain its place as one of the UK’s most dangerous jobs.

The Emotional Strain of Cancer

Cancer is the biggest killer of all known diseases worldwide. The effects of a battle with cancer can leave family and loved ones scarred as much as the victim, as it can tear away a loved one from our lives. Over the last few years, a number of public figures have unfortunately slipped away from us, as a  result of the disease in it’s various guises; names including British actor Pete Postlethwhaite,  rock frontman Lemmy Kilmister from the band Motorhead, to the recent passing of music icon David Bowie and film icon Alan Rickman.

Sincere Law - Cancer Statistics

 

Lasting Impact

The impact on the public from losing those they have looked up to and, who at times, have almost seemed ‘immortal’ can take a heavy toll.. It causes us to look at our own lives and helps us think about our future. It can be a very sobering experience. If a public figure dying from such a disease causes us to feel this way, what happens to a close family unit when a prominent member suffers?

Understandably there are a number of strains placed on a family or relationship when one member is diagnosed with cancer. There are questions to be asked about role adjustment and responsibilities within a household, personal needs, plans for the future, social activity, children and many factors behind a successful relationship/family unit.

While the public do get a painful shock whenever somebody they look up to is diagnosed with, and on occasion, succumbs to cancer, the reality of living with it day-to-day can be an incredible test for any family, no-matter the relationship with the affected victim.

 

Our Experiences

As serious injury specialists, we have had first hand experience at seeing the changes a family has to make with a member who has suffered from cancer. A cause that is often overlooked is the development of cancer from airborne sources during a person’s working life. Industrial based diseases and cancers are a common case in the injury law industry; lung based diseases especially so.

We are often required to help provide intermittent funding and ongoing assistance to the sufferer and their family. Not just physically however; but emotionally also.. This is never a cheap experience and so we would urge anybody whose loved one  has or is battling cancer as a result of poor conditions or negligence within their former workplace, to get in touch and get the necessary help.

 

Help Is At Hand

Sometimes when a family member is suffering from cancer (of any kind), all they need is support from those closest to them. For the physical treatment of the disease, this country thankfully has a number of cancer units (with new ones opening regularly), and for the justice for those suffering as a result of outside factors, there is Sincere Law.

Cancer is a difficult subject to approach from any side, be it the medical practitioners, you telling loved ones and friends you have developed it or hearing it yourself from a friend or relative who has been diagnosed. There are numerous cancer charities based in the UK trying to fight the disease every day. Until there comes a time that this debilitating disease is beaten, we, and the other members of the community are here for you, your family, friends and anybody else affected.

Cancer affects families in different ways, hear some stories directly from those involved

What is a “Duty of Care”?

The Dalai Lama was once quoted saying:

“If you shift your focus from yourself to others, extend your concern to others, and cultivate the thought of caring for the well being of others, then this will have the immediate effect of opening up your life and helping you to reach out”.

When we speak of what a duty of care is, it is surprisingly similar to what the revered Dalai Lama was trying to put across here that we should make sure to show care and attention for everyone around us. It may not be the dictionary definition for duty of care, but it definitely puts us on the right track.

duty of care - serious injury claims

Your duty defined

A duty of care is what we owe to anyone we interact with, in any guise of life. We owe a duty of care to our fellow drivers, our fellow employees, our fellow human beings. Before we go into any detail, let’s take a look at some definitions on a duty of care:

A “duty of care” is:

“a legal obligation which is imposed on an individual requiring adherence to a standard of reasonable care while performing any acts that could cause foreseeable harm to others” – Wikipedia

“the legal obligation to safeguard others from harm while they are in your care, using your services, or exposed to your activities” – Collins dictionary

“a requirement that a person act towards others and the public with watchfulness, attention, caution and prudence that a reasonable person in the circumstances would” – Legal dictionary

From the above we can see that a duty of care is owed by any and all people who have some relationship to another person in any form. This includes professional working relationships and special relationships, like using roads, being in the same room or walking on the same pavement.

Relationships in a duty of care do not just extend to a traditional relationship, as soon as you come into contact with somebody else, you will owe them a duty of care. In the simplest sense, for example, we would owe everybody we walk past a duty of care not to flail our arms while walking, as it could cause injury. The same applies while driving to not break the law and drive dangerously, as that could also cause serious injury.

Breaching your duty

How do you breach your duty and what happens following one? Simple, you are in breach if you do not uphold the behaviour, care and attention that would be expected in any given situation; situations such as:

• Being hit by somebody driving erratically, causing a collision
• Your employer having you perform a task, risking injury due to improper PPE, prior training or an unsafe working environment
• Being injured and trusting your health to a medical practitioner, your condition then worsens due to their misjudgement


Doctors owe a professional duty of care to take care of their patients

You are owed a duty to be treated in a safe manner in all aspects of life. Failing to do so could allow you to claim on a serious injury if the actions caused by another are seen to be negligent. You can see many examples of this by viewing our case studies to see the result of a duty breached.

Aftermath of a breach

An incident caused by negligence can result in severe injuries. Back in 2013, 69% of fatal road traffic accidents were the result of negligent driver errors; alongside that 66% of serious incidents also involved that same contributory factor. Our duties are not restricted to the road however; they also count at work and during our everyday lives.

Having dealt with serious injury cases for over 20 years we understand the devastating effect that negligent behaviour can have on a person and their family. Rehabilitation, physiotherapy and psychotherapy from the most serious incidents can take many months or years to recover from.

Sincere Law will always strive to help you or your loved one not only recover, but to get back to as normal a life as possible, following serious injury.

If you or a family member have been affected by someone else’s negligent actions, please get in touch on 0800 092 2896 to speak to one of our friendly advisers or contact us at www.sincerelaw.co.uk. All of our solicitors work on a no win, no fee basis, meaning you get free impartial advice with no commitment and no payments to make if we aren’t successful.

 

The 5 most common work accidents and injuries

Workplace injuries are commonplace in the UK. While we often have training, risk assessments and dedicated staff in place to reduce the number of incidents, they do still happen. Being a serious injury specialist, Sincere Law deals with these kinds of injury cases on a daily basis. What however, are the most common accidents found within the workplace? We’ve put together the top 5 most common accident type to help you stay alert and avoid serious injury while at work.

1. Slips, trips & falls

Slips, trips and falls are by a long way the most common cause of serious injury to UK workers. In 2014 the number of combined serious slips, trips and falls reported by employees reached just over 27,500.

What’s interesting about this number reported by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) was that all these reported accidents included only incidents resulting in a more than 7 day absence from work. According to statistics, 57% of major injuries to UK employees were the result of a slip, trip or fall on duty.

This type of injury can seriously damage somebody; from slipping on a wet floor and fracturing bones, to tripping over poorly placed objects, causing a fall and potentially risking severe damage to not only bones but the brain if the fall is particularly bad. Negligence is quite often the reason for these accidents, with incorrect equipment, unsafe environments and poor direction being the main causes.

2. Manual handling accidents

With over 18,500 workers injured by manual handling incidents in 2014 (accounting for nearly a quarter of reported injuries) these accidents make up a large number of serious injuries at work each year. Of those injured, 9 out of 10 of 2014’s manual handling accidents involved a longer than 7 day period away from work.

Handling injuries can be incredibly detrimental to the long term health of an employee, even risking their future. The most common injury caused by handling is strain and damage to the back, spine and neck. Spinal injuries can result in permanent trouble with movement, requiring lengthy spells of physiotherapy and possibly forcing early retirement if the person affected cannot perform manual tasks following injury.

Common causes of spinal injuries due to handling are overburdening of a staff member by asking to move something around their workplace and not providing proper training on how to lift and carry. Heavier loads usually require apparatus or machines to move. Proper equipment/machinery should always be provided to avoid injury.

serious injury while at work - Sincere Law

3. Car collisions

Driving is big business in the UK. Thousands of people drive each day in company cars to and from meetings alongside those using the roads keeping our logistics network running strong, be it in a van or a heavy goods vehicle (HGV).

In 2014, 1,504 employees were involved in collisions that resulted in a stay away from work longer than a week. Road traffic accidents can obviously stem a range of injury problems from whiplash, giving the driver back, neck and head problems, to the most severe lacerations, amputations and even fatalities.

4. Burns

Burns at work can come in the form not only as burns from fires; electrical burns can badly scar a person just as much as direct flames. Other burn types include exposure directly to harmful substances like acids or other corrosive materials. The result can be anything from large sections of skin peeling to permanent disfigurement.

Burns as a result of exposure accounts for just over 1,000 serious injuries per year according to HSE statistics. The riskiest environments involve employees who deal with fire or corrosives on a regular basis, working with open flames or handling chemicals for example. The aftermath of burns can be long lasting and have detrimental effects on the victim’s self esteem in later life if they have been disfigured as a result of their accident.

5. Electrical accidents

Everybody is aware of the danger electricity can cause. According to statistical analysis, there are around 1,000 cases of electric shocks in the workplace each year.

Even the lowest voltages such as a 50v plug can apply enough electricity to block signals between brain and muscles, risking the heart stopping, prevention of breathing or intense spasms. Electrical accidents are commonly caused by a failure to identify a risk of electrocution due to exposed wires, faulty equipment or lack of PPC.

Electrical damage can be extremely severe with serious, long lasting, even life changing effects. These include disfigurement and burns from skin contact, loss of function in limbs and long term damage to nerves/nerve endings as well as fatality if the voltage has caused the heart to stop beating properly or affected body function.

Sincere Law - Accidents at work

Be Aware!

With thousands of injuries at work each year, severe and minor, we all need to be aware of risks of our particular workplace. Our advice would be to be proactive and actively challenge managers should you be given incorrect equipment or dangerous instructions and to move any objects likely to cause falls or clean up spillages. Reducing risk is the number 1 priority in workplace safety and in an ideal world everybody will do their part to help not only themselves but their workmates too.

If you have unfortunately suffered as a result of a workplace injury that wasn’t your fault, make sure you call us today for free advice and a no hassle conversation on 0800 092 2896. Alternatively simply fill in our contact form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Serious injuries at work – Not just in the office

It was reported recently on Wales Online that a doctor had suffered a “Serious spinal injury” while on a team bonding trip out in the Bristol channel and was claiming damages from her employer, the NHS. The trip, which was in 2008, was to be an hour long journey involving the party boarding a 9 meter long inflatable boat labelled “The Pioneer”.

 

When Injuries Occur

When it comes to serious injuries at work, we often find ourselves pulled into thinking about very common situations such as falling from a ladder while working outside, or suffering injury from not wearing correct personal protective equipment. We sometimes think about what could happen in an office such as lifting heavy objects, unlabeled wet floors or objects falling from shelves. What many of us don’t consider, however, is the chances of being injured during the more social and fun aspects of our jobs, team building days.

Days away from the office can take many forms including:

  • Seminars
  • Assault Courses
  • Outdoor Activates
  • New Skill Courses
  • And Many Others

Team building days are when we are able to relax and get to know others in the workplace, bonding with close team members and even some you may not have regular contact with. These days are meant to be in good spirit and boost morale. However, decisions on safety during these events need just as much care and attention for the prevention of accidents as the workplace itself. Real care must be taken when completing risk assessments and carrying them out.

 

Risk analysis outside the office

Chris Walker, Sincere Law’s partner for catastrophic and serious injuries stressed the added importance of creating an enjoyable but safe environment for team days out of office. He told us:

Boating accidents in particular are unfortunately commonplace; they carry higher risks given location and access to immediate help compared to seminars or physical activities such as assault courses. With any event like this it is vital to look after everyone taking part and that proper precautions are in place”.

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The case involving Dr Feest is not uncommon. We regularly receive calls from individuals who fall victim to poor planning and precaution taking while outside of the workplace. If you feel you or a family member has had a similar experience of suffering a serious injury and would like to know more, or enquire about making a serious injury claim; please call us on 0800 092 2896 or contact us here.

What is Serious Injury? Making a Claim

Making a claim for serious injury, whether it be for you, a partner, family or other, can be a daunting task. Often the results of serious injury claims can last for an extended period of time, long after the initial accident that causes it. Before any claims are made, it must be understood, what exactly IS serious injury considered to be in the UK and what process is involved when making a claim?

Serious Injury Defined

At its most basic level, and using clear terms, serious injury is classed as “an injury which results in a person being detained in hospital as an in patient”. In addition to this dictionary definition, there are types of injuries also included as “serious”. These are:

  • Fractures
  • Concussions
  • Internal Injuries
  • Crushing
  • Burns (excluding friction burns)
  • Severe Cuts
  • Severe General Shock (requiring medical treatment even if not resulting in a stay as an in-patient.)

What’s the difference?

Personal injury and severe injury claims are to be handled separately as not all personal injury claims are serious injury claims. The major difference between the two are that non serious injuries are the opposite of the above definition, with minor injuries judged to be largely treatable at the scene of the accident. These include:

  • Sprains
  • Bruises
  • Minor Cuts
  • Slight Shocks

Sincere Law & Your Claim

As specialists in Serious Injury, and being the UK’s leading claims handlers, Sincere Law has all the knowledge needed to make a successful claim and help the process of rebuilding following a serious injury.

Treatment following the injury is a crucial part of a claimants post accident care. Sincere Law thankfully has some of the best and most qualified medical specialists in the UK. Our team consists of specialists in the fields of:

  • Head & brain injuries
  • Spinal injuries
  • Amputations
  • Severe burns
  • Chronic pain
  • And others

More than simply getting through a claims process, we offer a thorough and complete service that allows seamless movement for a claim from beginning to end, including treatment and advice during the claim. With over 27 years of experience behind us, we have the in house, expert, legal knowledge you will need carry a claim through.

Aftercare & peace of mind

Making a successful claim simply isn’t enough when it comes to serious injuries. Many cases go further than a compensation payout and will have lasting effects on not only the person involved but immediate family too. Depending on the type of injury, lifestyle changes may need to be altered; changes to living arrangements including house and car developments could be required or in more severe cases, carers needing to be in place to assist in the long term.

 

Aftercare and support from Sincere Law is something we pride ourselves on. We want to go further and make the lives of those affected as comfortable as possible following serious injury. After making a successful claim, to make a real difference to those affected, there must be adequate plans in place to prepare for life after the injury.

 

Our team works tirelessly to get the very best outcome for all affected, making definite the time; not only immediately following the injury; but the long term (sometimes the rest of the affected persons life), is as easy and comfortable as it can be for all involved.

Making a Claim

From start to finish, enquiring, making and carrying through a claim with Sincere Law is simple, stress free and reassuring with the knowledge that, at every stage, you will be looked after by our large, experienced team of claims specialists. Initially, all you need to do is get in touch with us by calling our claims centre. A description of the circumstances is all that’s initially required to help us advise and decide on whether you have a good claim and are eligible to proceed. At Sincere Law we try to give you peace of mind when any client decides to proceed; with that in mind, our solicitors work on a No Win No Fee basis.

If you think that either yourself, a family member, partner or spouse has suffered a serious injury and would like to find out more information or make a claim, please contact us here or call us on 0800 092 2896.

 

Can you make an Accident at Work Claim?

Accident in the workplace can happen, no matter how many precautions your boss may take to avoid them and with accidents, often injury follows and in many instances this can leave you unable to work for a short period of time.

There are many different types of injury suffered in the workplace one a daily basis from burns to lacerations, broken bones from a fall to amputations. In the most severe cases, sometimes even fatalities can occur.

For each type of accident there is always a reason behind it and it is your employer’s duty of care to adhere to the advised measures to avoid the likelihood of an accident occurring. If they don’t take these measures then they have breached their duty of care and if you suffer an injury as a result, then you could be entitled to make a claim for compensation.

For what injury could I make an Accident at Work Claim?

Obviously any injury suffered in the workplace could potentially lead to an accident at work claim, depending on the circumstances that caused them. The most common situations where a claim can be made include:

  • Slips and Trips – caused by wet floors which aren’t adequately signed or obstacles that are left unattended and out of sight of the victim. These are highly common in accident at work claims
  • Burns – usually brought about by not being supplied with the correct protective equipment
  • Back and Spinal Injury – often brought about by a lack of sufficient training or through heavy lifting. Can also be caused by faulty equipment and crushing
  • Loss of Sight – Again tends to be caused by lack of sufficient safety wear, in this case glasses.
  • Amputations – Tends to happen as a result of faulty machinery or lack of sufficient training on heavy duty equipment. Crush injuries caused by fork lift crashes can also cause this type of injury.
  • Fatal Injury – in very severe cases death can occur as a result of health and safety regulation not being met, either through faulty machinery or lack of sufficient training.

How to make an Accident at Work Claim?

It is important that in any instance of injury caused by an accident at work, you or the victim reports it immediately to your boss to ensure that it is recorded. Next you need to make sure, before making a claim, that you can prove that your injury was caused by negligence. At the end of the day accidents do happen because of the victim’s own negligence so just because you have been hurt in work, it does not mean you are necessarily entitled to submit a claim.

Proving liability for negligence can be tricky and in some cases daunting to do, which is why taking on legal advice from a solicitor who has experience of dealing with accident at work claims is important.

It is also important that you instruct that you submit your claim within three years of the accident happening as there is a three year limitation period for accident at work claims.

The limitation period begins from the day your accident occurred or from when you first notice the symptoms of your injury and in the case of a fatality the three years begins from the date of their death. This is to allow grieving time for the family.

Why is a Solicitor so important?

As mentioned previously, accident at work claims can be tricky in terms of proving liability, which can make claims of this nature complex.

A solicitor who specialises in accident at work claims will increase the likelihood of you claim succeeding, as they have extensive knowledge about what is needed in order to ensure liability is admitted.

It also allows the victim of an accident at work more time to focus on their recovery and will even help to ensure that you get the best medical care to aid you rehabilitation.

At Sincere Law we take care of all your care and rehabilitation needs and if you require amendments to your home we will also ensure that this is arranged. While we look after this we will use all of our experience to build the strongest case possible for your claim. Our accident at work solicitors are expertly trained to deal with each element of this sort of claim, therefore increasing the likelihood of a satisfactory settlement.

If you have suffered as a result of an accident at work and wish to find out more information about making a claim. Fill out the form below or call us on 0800 092 2896.

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