Archive for February, 2016

Bus Accident Compensation in Northern Ireland Almost £2 million in Five Years

Posted on: February 9th, 2016

The amount paid out in bus accident compensation in Northern Ireland amounted to nearly £2 million in the five-year period from April 2010 to April 2015.

Northern Ireland public transport services are run by Translink – a company responsible for operating Citybus, Ulsterbus, the Metro and Goldlink bus services and the NI Railway. In the five-year period from April 2010 to April 2015, the company paid out £1,647,000 injury compensation plus a further £301,000 compensation for material damage in bus accidents according to figures released by Regional Development Minister Michelle McIlveen.

Ms McIlveen was responding to an Assembly question from SDLP MLA John Dallat – who sits on the province´s regional development committee. Mr Dallat described the payouts of bus accident compensation in Northern Ireland as “horrendous” and said that the board of Translink needed to implement measures that would avoid bus accidents, and also review its policy on defending claims for bus accident compensation in Northern Ireland.

Translink issued a statement in which it said it was committed to delivering the highest safety standards for passengers and other road users. However, transport unions said that budget cuts were having a “devastating impact” on public safety. Last year the Department for Regional Development cut Translink´s budget by £13 million. Further cutbacks were made after the company recorded a £8.4 million loss.

A Translink spokesperson said: “It is important to put some context around these figures which cover a five-year period. The level of compensation paid out is less than 0.5% of our annual revenue, and more importantly, Translink’s annual level of compensation is also amongst the lowest paid out when benchmarked against other UK operators. We carry around 80 million passenger journeys every year and their safety is a top priority for everyone at Translink”.

Substantial Fine for a Death Caused by Corporate Negligence

Posted on: February 1st, 2016

A leading power company has been fined £1 million and ordered to pay costs of £153,000 by Chelmsford Crown Court for a death caused by corporate negligence.

On 24th July 2012, four runners from the Saffron Striders running club were training for a forthcoming race when they took a route through a cornfield alongside a public footpath in Newport, Essex. As the lead runner – Dr James Kew – entered the field, he ran into an electric cable carrying 11,000 volts that was sagging at a height of 1.5 metres due to the securing porcelain insulator having disintegrated.

James (41) from Ashton in Essex was killed instantly, and several of his colleagues suffered burn injuries when he completed the electrical circuit from the cable to the ground. The inquest into James´ death heard that the sagging cable had been reported to the National Grid and UK Power Networks thirty minutes prior to the fatal accident but, rather than cut the power in the area, UKPN sent an engineer to investigate. Sadly the engineer arrived twenty minutes too late.

An investigation in James´ fatal accident by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that there had been an “underestimation of the risk to human life”. The HSE prosecuted UK Power Networks under Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 – effectively charging the company with death caused by corporate negligence.

UK Power Networks pleaded guilty to the charges when the case was heard by Chelmsford Crown Court last week. The company was fined £1 million for a death caused by corporate negligence and order to pay £153,000 towards the cost of the HSE investigation. Speaking after the verdict had been announced, HSE inspector Paul Carter said: “Dr Kew’s family remains completely devastated by their loss and witnesses to this incident have suffered severe trauma and stress-related illness. The incident was entirely preventable”.