Archive for November, 2016

Company Fined £3 Million for Employee Chemical Injuries at Work

Posted on: November 10th, 2016

Hull Crown Court has fined a Grimsby company £3 million for breaching health and safety regulations that resulted in employee chemical injuries at work.

In the early hours of 5th March 2010, Paul Doyley (48) was working underneath a large metal tank at the Crystal Pigment chemical plant in Grimsby, when a build-up of Titanium Tetrachloride within the tank came into contact with water and created a violent reaction, rupturing the vessel.

Paul was showered with the corrosive liquid and, as the liquid came into contact with the air, a toxic vapour cloud was created, causing internal injuries to his lungs as he breathed in. Two colleagues who tried to rescue Paul also suffered employee chemical injuries at work.

The toxic vapour cloud expanded rapidly to several metres in height and was blown across the River Humber – closing the shipping lanes for several hours. The incident was eventually brought under control by the Humberside Fire and Rescue Service.

Paul was taken to the Pinderfield´s Hospital in Wakefield, where he received specialist treatment for his employee chemical injuries at work. Tragically he died from his injuries on 18th March. One of rescuers – Ron Ingoldby – survived his injuries, but now has irreversible lung damage.

An investigation into the accident that caused the employee chemical injuries at work was launched by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). HSE inspectors found that Crystal Pigment UK Ltd had deviated from the normal procedures for the management of Titanium Tetrachloride.

The HSE inspectors also found that parts of the plant were poorly designed and that the company had not established robust safety management procedures and systems of work to assess and control risk. Furthermore, there were no measures in place to ensure what procedures were in place were actually followed.

The HSE prosecuted Crystal Pigment UK Ltd for breaching Sections 2 and 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. At Hull Crown Court the company pleaded guilty to the charges and was fined £2.4 million for the incident that led to the employee chemical injuries at work, plus a further £600,000 for breaching the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 1999 in a later incident in which fortunately nobody was harmed.

Court Rules Woman Entitled to Compensation for a Fall from a Horse

Posted on: November 7th, 2016

The High Court has ruled that an eighteen-year-old woman, who broke her back in a horse riding accident, is entitled to compensation for a fall from a horse.

On 22nd September 2012, Ashleigh Harris (then aged 14 years) was encouraged to ride a thoroughbred racehorse by Rachel Miller – the mother of her then boyfriend – at the Miller family home in Malthern near Chepstow.

Although Ashleigh had considerable experience riding ponies, she had never before ridden a racehorse in an open field. After trotting the racehorse for five minutes, the racehorse broke into an “uncontrollable canter” on a downhill descent.

The racehorse started throwing its head and bucking, and Ashleigh was thrown from the saddle. Despite wearing body armour, Ashleigh broke her back when she fell and is now permanently paralysed from the waist down.

As soon as she turned eighteen years of age, Ashleigh claimed compensation for a fall from a horse against Miller on the grounds that there was a foreseeable risk of injury due to the racehorse being difficult to control.

Miller contested the allegations – claiming that she had sought permission from Ashleigh´s mother before allowing her to ride the racehorse. The case went to the High Court in London to be resolved, where it was heard by Judge Graham Wood QC.

At the hearing, Judge Wood found that Miller had made a serious error of judgement by encouraging Ashleigh to ride “a green, unresponsive and uneducated horse who, by her very nature, as a thoroughbred racehorse, would be strong, potentially wilful and difficult to control.”

Finding in Ashleigh´s favour, the judge added: “By positively encouraging Ashleigh to ride the horse and condoning, if not specifically instructing, a trot in an open field for the first time, Mrs Miller was exposing her to a risk of injury from a horse which could not be controlled in other than the most benign of conditions.”

Judge Wood adjourned the hearing for reports to be conducted into Ashleigh´s future needs. The outcome of the reports will determine how much compensation for a fall from a horse she is entitled to. Ashleigh´s lawyers believe that, due to the cost of Ashleigh´s ongoing specialist care, the final settlement of compensation for a fall from a horse could be several million pounds.