Asbestos compensation claim?

If you think you have an asbestos compensation claim then please read this.

The government should not cut the levy on insurance companies introduced to meet the cost of otherwise uncompensated cases of the asbestos cancer mesothelioma, the TUC has said.

The union body was commenting on a government announcement that the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme Levy for 2015/16 will be reduced to £23.2m from £32m in 2014/2015.

News of the reduction came in a 12 January written statement from safety minister Justin Tomlinson, who said the system was “in line with the commitment by the insurance industry to fund a scheme of last resort for sufferers of diffuse mesothelioma who have been unable to trace their employer or their employer’s insurer”, which had run at a surplus last year.

Commenting on the funding cut, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “We are very disappointed that the mesothelioma levy is being reduced. Asbestos is the UK’s biggest workplace killer. Around 5,000 people die each year from mesothelioma and asbestos related lung cancer – 13 people for every day of the year. The government should maintain the levy at last year’s level and use any surplus to extend the compensation scheme to all victims of asbestos or for research into treatment.”

The government indicated in November 2015 it would not support an additional levy to finance research in asbestos disease treatments.

Bonnar Accident Law fights to get victims of asbestos related health problems fair compensation in Scotland.

Industrial deafness compensation claim.

Now hear this…industrial deafness claims company fined a whopping £220,000.

Noise-induced hearing loss compensation

If you think you might have an industrial deafness compensation claim from working in a noisy industrial environment such as a shipyard or a steelworks, then the chances are you and your family have been harassed to the point of distraction by claims companies.

The good news for personal injury solicitors like us, who do not cold call people at home, is that The Hearing Clinic is the first company handed a financial penalty by watchdogs after they were given new powers last year.

It followed hundreds of complaints from members of the public, many of whom were registered with the Telephone Preference Service, who received speculative calls about claims for noise-induced hearing loss.

The Hearing Clinic, which is based in Derby and operated under a string of different trading names, has also been made subject to restrictions and could even be closed if it breaks the rules again. It was seeking to cash in on the occupational deafness experienced by millions of workers who have been exposed to excessive noise during their working lives.

The fine came as the Ministry of Justice announced that 105 claims firms had received warnings in the past year. Claims Management Regulation head Kevin Rousell said: “The new fines mean we have greater powers to crack down on claims management companies that make nuisance calls. Companies should be in no doubt that if they break the rules then we won’t hesitate to fine them in addition to the tough action we already take.”

Let’s hope so…

Justice Minister Lord Faulks said: “The Government has taken action to help people who are having their time wasted by the unscrupulous practices of some claims firms out to make themselves a profit at others’ expense.

We welcome the new powers to levy fines and close claims companies and we recommend anyone who receives an unsolicited call about a workplace injury or illness to make a complaint to the Claims Management Regulator and, if they think they may have a claim, to contact an APIL (The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers) approved  personal injury solicitor.

Bonnar Accident Law operates an Industrial Disease Advice Centre at our office:

83 Graham Street, Airdrie, ML6 6DE


Car accident compensation claim.


Need help with a car accident compensation claim?

insurance logosSome car insurance companies are charging “eye-watering” fees on top of annual premiums, according to the consumer organisation, Which? in a recent study

It found that some insurance companies charged up to £75 for cancelling a policy – even in the cooling-off period. Others charge £50 to renew a policy or £30 for duplicate documents.

In response, the industry argued that overall premiums had fallen and that the market was highly competitive.

So that’s alright then. For a minute we thought that the ABI was justifying this type of shabby behaviour as a legitimate tactic to claw back profit from hard-pressed motorists.

Make no mistake, these are the people who bleated to the coalition government about the cost of road traffic accident compensation claims ‘crippling’ the insurance industry. They got their own way back in 2011 but re-shaping the UK insurance industry in their own image and likeness is patently not enough for the ABI.   

In its study, Which? looked at fees being charged by 44 UK car insurers.

‘Squeezing money’

It found that one company, IGO4, charged £35 for adjustment fees, such as changing your name, your address or your job.

Five other companies did not charge anything.

Another company, 1st Central, charged £50 to renew a policy, while most other companies process renewals for free.

Axa Direct and Swiftcover both charged £30 to provide duplicate documents – again a service that is usually free.

Other companies charged considerably more than their rivals when it came to paying monthly, rather than annually.

“We’ve found some insurers charging customers eye-watering admin fees that can be hard to avoid,” said Richard Lloyd, the executive director of Which? “We want companies to ensure their fees reflect actual costs, and aren’t just a way to squeeze more money from customers.”

In an ironic twist, The Association of British Insurers (ABI) advised customers to read their policy documents carefully…yes, “READ THE SMALL PRINT”…because we are probably going to rip you off.

But it agreed with Which? that extra charges should reflect the costs involved.

“In accordance with the rules of the Financial Conduct Authority and relevant legislation, the fees insurers charge must be clearly and fully set out, and broadly reflect the costs they incur,” said James Dalton, the director of general insurance policy at the ABI.

How strange that the insurance companies agree with Which? when their sharp practice has been exposed.

This is the organisation that vilifies and demonises accident victims and their families for having the temerity to claim compensation for a car accident…then for good measure it goes on to blame hurt and injured people for the rise in car insurance premiums. 

As personal injury solicitors specialising in car accident compensation, Bonnar Accident Law is wise to all the dodges perpetrated by the insurance companies and their legal teams.

Don’t be fooled into thinking they are on your side, or that their lawyers are your friends. The name of their game is profit and you are a barrier to the bottom-line they would like to see eliminated from the equation.

So, get ‘independently lawyered up’, or get well and truly injured twice. We handle most road traffic accident compensation claims in Scotland on a zero percent success fee basis. 

It’s No win, No fee, No worry.

Call us now on 0800 163 978.        



www…aka – Website Waffle Wednesday.

Accident Advice Helpline

Here we go again, with another example of website waffle courtesy of The Accident Advice Helpline Dunfermline ‘entry’…and I can’t say it didn’t make me laugh / cringe / scratch my head in disbelief. Well, not the latter if truth be told, if only because this effort at keyword stuffing is up to their usual high standard of non-relevance and it came as no real surprise when I stepped once more into the world of website waffle.

So, let’s imagine that you are a resident of Dunfermline or live somewhere nearby in the Kingdom of Fife and you are looking for a personal injury solicitor to help you with a car accident claim.

Here’s what you get when you click on their site…our comments in blue.


Car accident piqued you? (‘Piqued you’? Really? A car accident can do many things to a person such as, oh, injure you, but pique you??) 

Dunfermline car accident piqued you because you are unable to understand how to go about seeking compensation for the injuries that you got in a car accident in Dunfermline? (How to stuff a sentence with  the locator term Dunfermline – oops, I’ve done it again. As for writing in coherent sentences?) Do not get provoked by this sort of a legal predicament, (Do not get provoked by this sort of twaddle. I mean ‘legal predicament’. Jeez…there is no predicament . Just call an injury lawyer in Dunfermline…oops I’ve darn well gone and done it again, haven’t I?) just take the help of the Accident Advice Helpline. (The question here is why would you? Maybe because Esther says so.)

Though it looks very easy to drive a car, this is not at all the case (quite) and there are various safety measures that must be taken to ensure that you do not meet with a car accident (Drive safely – no problem with that, but this site is about the aftermath of a car accident and what to do next) when you drive a car. (‘It looks very easy to drive a car’. Are they serious? This is an accident advice company, not a driving school, right?) Here are a few car driving safety tips to help you…

Compensation for Dunfermline car accident?

Dunfermline has been twinned with Albufeira in Portugal, Sarasota, Florida in the United States of America, Wilhelmshaven in Germany,Albany, New York in the United States of America, Spain Logroño in Spain, Vichy in France and Trondheim in Norway. (Is it me? Now we have well and truly entered the Twilight Zone of website waffle. Unless of course your Mastermind Special subject is Dunfermline’s Twin Towns) One of the most famous people in the world was born in the year 1835 in Dunfermline and he is (‘was’, surely) none other than the world famous philanthropist and entrepreneur, Andrew Carnegie. (Well at least the Carnegie reference has a modicum of relevance… wait , no it doesn’t.)

If you got injured in a car accident in Dunfermline, it is possible for you to get compensated for this car accident, (oh dear, nearly verbatim repetition of CAID in the same, short, nearly sentence…That’s car accident etc…) in the following circumstances:

◾Medical treatment was needed as (because?) you got injured in a car accident in Dunfermline.

◾Some other person was the cause of you getting injured in a car accident in Dunfermline.

◾You got injured in a car accident in Dunfermline, within the past 3 years.


Any more options? and how many times did you spot excessive utilisation of CAID?


Dunfermline car accident solicitor?

Did you get wounded (OMG, as the young people say. ‘Wounded’??) in a car accident in Dunfermline (CAID) and are you now keen on being compensated for this car accident? (‘keen..? What? No ‘in Dunfermline’?)

Talk to the Accident Advice Helpline in the event that you are seeking help to try to get compensated for this Dunfermline car accident and you can get in touch with these experts (‘these experts’? – our experts, surely?) in injury compensation at the number 0333 500 0993 from a cell phone (mobile, surely. Nobody says cell in the UK., do they?. Maybe this wasn’t written in the UK…) or in case you are calling up from a land-line, dial the number 0800 689 0500.

Or not…

There’s more pseudo-localised cut and paste drivel like this to be found across most of their web pages, which has the sole purpose of giving the impression they are active, with a ‘bricks and mortar’ presence in every town, village and hamlet… which they’re not.

However that isn’t the main problem. We just plain and simple get irritated by all the claims companies’ crass attempts to hoover up business across the length and breadth of the land by posturing as personal injury law firms when they are, in fact, merely middlemen who sell your injury claim to the highest bidder.

We don’t play the claims game…and we hope that injured people looking for help and advice with an accident claim in Dunfermline won’t be tempted by smoke and mirrors.

So, wait for it, if you have been involved in a car accident in Dunfermline and you want to know if you have the basis of a compensation claim, you know who to talk to…in DUNFERMLINE!

..and yes, we do have a book to plug, but it’s a good book and it’s crammed full of useful ‘must know’ information for accident victims and their families. It’s called :

‘The Scotland Accident & Injury Advice Book’

and it’s available free to download from our website.

Till next time.


Posted by Andy Thorogood





British insurers and your car accident claim


Dalton Gang


Got a car accident claim? Well look out because The Dalton ‘gang’ plan to carry out daylight robbery. 

ABI does not stand for The Association of British Insurers, it stands for Anti-Britain’s Injured and in its howls of hubris-fuelled hyperbole, it never ceases to amaze in its crass attempts to hijack the accident compensation agenda and engage in behaviour befitting Wild West outlaws.

Who do these people at ABI think they are to lecture society on what is good for us? WHAT’S GOOD FOR INSURERS MORE LIKE…

Emboldened by a closed-door tea and biscuits love-in at Number 10 back in 2011, an unseemly and on-going Ministry of Justice love-affair plus tacit support from ‘stalwarts’ of working people’s rights who should know better such as Jack Straw, the insurance industry has suggested for the first time that whiplash compensation could be removed altogether.

James Dalton, head of motor and liability for the Association of British Insurers, said yesterday that it was time for a ‘public policy debate’ on removing all damages for low-value claims, instead asking insurers to pay directly just for treatment.

Dalton has previously called for discussion on reducing damages paid to whiplash victims but this is the first time a complete removal has been mooted.

‘We need a debate about whether someone should be awarded money for a low-value, low-impact and very minor injury claim,’ he told the Modern Claims conference in London. ‘It’s a debate about whether you should be provided with rehabilitation and no cash. That is a legitimate public policy debate for society to have and politicians to decide on.’

Dalton also reignited the argument about the value of solicitors in low-value claims and said the ABI is working on safeguards to persuade the government to raise the small claims limit. 


ABI working on Safeguards? This has to be a sick joke. The wolf takes charge of the sheep pen…

Of course  the point about so-called low-value-claims is that they might become high-value-claims if personal injury solicitors – especially members of APIL – get involved and manage to circumvent the ABI’s plans to eradicate the principles of justice. 



The supine  Ministry of Justice last year opted not to increase the limit but Dalton said he was confident that will change ‘depending on the outcome of the election’.

Now why would Dalton be confident? Has the lobbying already been successful? Are we already stuffed? 

He added: ‘There will always be a role for PI lawyers in complex, high-value claims – my question is whether there is a place for them at all in low-value factory-based claims. The MoJ made it clear last year there were good arguments for the claims limit to up to £5,000 – that will come up again sooner rather than later.’


WARNING…WARNING…If the MoJ doesn’t hold the line on low-value-claims then the whole edifice will crumble and hurt and injured people might as well give up the struggle. Make no mistake this lot are determined to avoid paying out at any cost.

What exactly is a factory-base claim anyway? Could it be a claim processed by the juvenile call handlers employed by insurance companies to collude with claims management companies, bodyshop garages and car hire firms to DEFRAUD society in the guise of making swift and derisory ‘low-ball’ compensation payments to accident victims?

The ABI like factory-based claims because they are cheaper than fair compensation. They do not want injured people to appoint an independent personal injury solicitor. They do not want injured people seeking proper medical advice to determine the true extent of their injuries and therefore the true value of their claim.


The Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS) and Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) said they would fight any attempt to remove compensation altogether from whiplash victims. We think all interested parties in this debate better ‘smell the coffee’ because we are up against a PR machine that has the ear of government. 

MASS chair Craig Budsworth said recompense should always include loss of amenity as well as rehabilitation.

‘Even if their injury means they can’t go to the gym – for some people that is their life and that deserves compensation. We will be saying that is wrong for the innocent accident victim.’

Deborah Evans, chief executive of APIL, said all sides had worked together on ways to combat fraud in the system, but removing solicitors would take away a vital barrier to fraudulent claims.

She added: ‘It has always been much easier when you have the client across the table from you to tell if they are being truthful. The more removed we get from the client the more fraud will prosper.’


We think that there is no working with the ABI. Could they have made their position any clearer? They want to vilify accident victims and marginalise personal injury solicitors.

This is not about lawyers making money – which is still legal, for a while longer if we’re lucky – it is a battle for the hearts and minds of a nation and the type of society we want to see.

We need to get real and get on the front foot or it will be daylight robbery – Wild West style.  

Andy Thorogood, Business Development Manager, Bonnar Accident Law

www…aka – Website Waffle Wednesday

Accident Advice Helpline




(Back so soon guys?)

Just when you think claims company website waffle couldn’t get any worse, it can and it does.

Now, we’re not saying that Accident Advice Helpline are the worst offenders (cos they’re not; sadly there’s much worse) and we’re not saying that bits of their website aren’t all right, sort of…

What we are saying is that their ‘Accident Solicitor Airdrie pages’ are inane, inept and inaccurate. Worst of all, their bumptious blurb is a pretty shameless attempt to mislead people looking for help and advice with an accident compensation claim in Airdrie, which just happens to be the kind of thing we do….help hurt and injured people that is, not mislead them.

So what, exactly, are they saying on their website and why does it matter?


The first part: The words wot they have wrote…


Accident solicitor Airdrie


Contacting an Accident Solicitor Airdrie

Accidents come in all shapes and sizes, much like the people that cause them. Getting into an accident can very distressing, especially if you were hurt in the process, and if it was somebody else’s fault then that is just adding insult to injury. (You have got to be joking…)

If you have been hurt in this way in an accident, then you may be tempted to fire up your favourite search engine with accident solicitor Airdrie. (Fire up your favourite search engine??)

While this may well throw up a lot of results for you, how many of them would actually be relevant? (Well ours, for a start…) In terms of personal injury claims there a lot of factors involved, such as the kind of accident that occurred and the varying complications that each can bring. (No ‘kidding’, Sherlock.)

For accidents occurring in the work place, for example, the nature of the industry involved can play a part simply because the regulations for each can vary wildly.  (‘The nature of the industry involved can play a part’? Really???)  A set of procedures and regulations for the building trade will not be the same as for companies that are predominately office based. (Eh? Come off it.)

It is for this reason that there are solicitors that specialise in specific industries. (Could you possibly talk down any more to clients?)   Obviously logistics dictate that not every solicitor’s office can have specialist teams or solicitors.  This is where a search for ‘national accident solicitor’ would be more appropriate, as opposed to accident solicitor Airdrie.(More appropriate for whom? Hurt and injured people actually looking for an accident solicitor in Airdrie? Accident Advice Helpline perhaps? National good – Local bad? Has the author read Animal Farm, perchance?)


The Accident Advice Helpline


A national company would be better placed to handle a wider variety of claims cases because they are able to draw from a wider pool of talent. (It ain’t necessarily so and it definitely ain’t so in this case)  The Accident Advice Helpline is one such company, except that their team of legal experts are in house and so are more readily available, and thus your claim is handled and processed much faster. (What does ‘in house’ mean in this context, given that they operate a panel of law firms? What is TRUE is that ‘your claim will be processed’.)

The Accident Advice Helpline have over ten years of experience in the personal injury arena, and in that time they have helped tens of thousands of accident victims claim compensation where the accident was not their fault. (Dontcha just love phrases like ‘in the personal injury arena’?)

One of the reasons that the Helpline has been so successful is that their claim submission process is so straightforward.  A simple online form is all that stands between a potential claimant and their claim being put forward. (Alternatively, all that stands between a potential claimant and a  disastrous choice of solicitor is their simple online claim form, alledgedly.)

30 second Test

The onsite 30 second test can give an estimate of the amount that a claimant could receive, should the case be successful.  There is also a Freephone number that can be used twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.

All three communication methods take just a moment to complete (It’s English Jim, but not as we know it),  and they are all obligation free; a claimant can cancel at any time and owe nothing.  Even the claims that are not successful are not subject to a fee.

With all of this, is it any wonder that the Accident Advice Helpline is the number one choice? (Er, yes, it is rather…Anyway is it / are they the number one choice? Says who?)


…and what WOULD Esther say? I’ll let you know, perhaps?


The second part: why it matters


There is hardly any need for us to declare a fairly acute level of self-interest here – and why not? – but let’s put the obvious aside for one moment.

We feel that this particular mish-mash of a marketing message is misleading and the method is primarily a matter of chucking a large wedge of cash at the market in the hope something sticks.

It is self-evidently clear that our featured website cares less about veracity and more about making pompous positioning statements designed to charm potential clients into thinking they have come to the right place to receive the best legal advice.

If the quality of advice matches the quality of the message..?

See you next week for more ‘Website Waffle Wednesday’, featuring claims company and insurance industry drivel and disinformation.

Bonnar Accident Law operates independently from claims companies and insurance industry panels. We never work for people who cause accidents, preferring to dedicate our efforts towards securing the financial and medical needs of hurt and injured people and their families.


Andy Thorogood, Business Development Manager, Bonnar Accident Law



Injury lawyers?

Injury lawyers…

Today’s featured ‘marketing collective’, with an East Kilbride ‘operation’.

(See below * for latest regional faux pas on part of large ‘customer centric’ organisation…)

first 4 lawyers 2

 “First4lawyers  – i.e. today’s featured injury lawyers, are a marketing collective that provide highly qualified personal injury, industrial disease and clinical negligence claimants to law firms.”

(Taken from First4lawyers solicitor panel online membership form)

As injury lawyers ourselves, we can’t really expect hurt and injured people to know the difference between a ‘marketing collective’ and a law firm. We certainly can’t bemoan the fact that such organisations exist and continue to thrive by driving a wedge between accident victims and personal injury solicitors.


The ‘marketing collectives’, or claims companies as they are more commonly known, spotted a gap in the market and they filled it so ‘fair play’ to them in the sense that they are commercial enterprises with an agenda to grow their business, which just happens to be selling accident claim information to the highest bidder.


…and that is where they idea of fair play – from the injured person’s perspective – starts and finishes, in our opinion.


Basically, hurt and injured people and their families are in effect being duped into thinking that they are dealing direct with solicitors when they are in fact dealing with sales organisations, viz. ‘marketing collectives’. At no point in any of the ubiquitous tv commercials do we see a prominent disclaimer that informs the viewer that these organisations are not, strictly speaking, independent firms of solicitors. The ads talk about ‘our lawyers’ but fail to explicitly state that ‘our lawyers’ are anything but, in the accepted sense of the word.


There is always the small print at the bottom of the ‘about us ‘page on these types of websites, wherein readers are informed that they will put in touch with a panel solicitor and that they can choose to select a different lawyer of their own choosing… but who ever reads THAT far?


Slight of hand, subterfuge, deliberate misinformation even? The problem for us is that the person least well qualified to assess the competence of a legal advisor – the injured party –  is being manipulated into thinking that the advertiser – whatever the firm in question is – is the best qualified source of legal advice. Once the claimant has entrusted his or her claim to the ‘marketing collective’ they are no longer in control because the really important decision, viz. which lawyer to appoint, has been taken out of their hands.


Even this situation might not be too bad in every case as some ethical and competent law firms continue to source enquiries from these organisations, but in many cases the claimant’s file is sold to the highest available bidder regardless of that firm’s PI credentials. Thus the injured person is unlikely to receive the best advice despite the claims company’s spurious claim to the contrary.


…and finally, there is an East Kilbride twist*…


In an all too familiar fashion, typical of much claims company website waffle, First4 lawyers ‘helpfully’ include the following ‘useful’ contact information on their East Kilbride page:


East Kilbride City Chamber, City Chambers, George Square, Glasgow G2 1DU

There isn’t any such institution and if there was it wouldn’t be in Glasgow, but what do they care? 


Bonnar Accident Law has offices in Airdrie, Dunfermline, Edinburgh, East Kilbride and Glasgow and works exclusively on behalf of hurt and injured people and their families throughout Scotland.

We operate independently of ‘marketing collectives’ and claims companies.

Accident claim lawyer in East Kilbride?

Accident Advice Helpline

The other day I was checking out how our own website fared in a search for ‘accident claim lawyer in East Kilbride’ and stumbled upon Accident Advice Helpline’s entry.

It begins…


“Kilbride lies in Northern Ireland and like all surrounding areas it has suffered much conflict and many troubles over the past 100 years and still does to a lesser degree today. There has been a lot of economic troubles too especially since the 1950’s when the towns mill, Corgi Mill, closed down leaving a large percentage of the town unemployed and destitute in a time when welfare benefits were extremely new and extremely difficult to obtain. Today there is still a larger than average rate of unemployment here possibly due to the lack of industries and the aging population meaning people are keeping their occupation for longer.”


Given that EAST KILBRIDE is in the west of Scotland, there is no need to comment further on this rather lazy, inaccurate and inept opening statement.


Now, just in case you don’t know what a lawyer in East Kilbride does or knows, the copy continues thus…


“A lawyer in East Kilbride knows that over the years many things do change but nothing more than British law, there are now strict rules and safety measures in place by law to ensure your safety at all times, whether you are in the street, in a shop at work, or on the road unbeknown to you it is someones responsibility to ensure your safety….It may be time to contact a lawyer in East Kilbride.”


Can’t spell, can’t construct a sentence, failed geography…


Of course the problem with much of this type of banal rubbish is that it doesn’t really matter in the sense that the big claims companies can spend fortunes on adwords campaigns and simply buy up the premium slots. What they say on their websites is rarely subject to scrutiny. 

Some claims companies can and evidently do, churn out some terrible, toe-curling, semi-literate drivel to fill space on their website but they know deep-down that all they need to do is attract attention, promise the earth and let marketing spin do the rest…

With adwords doing the heavy lifting they can forget about search engine optimisation and the need to provide hurt and injured people with, accurate, helpful and qualified INDEPENDENT LEGAL ADVICE.


Meanwhile proper lawyers will continue to market themselves properly with a concern and respect for their clients.


Footnote: Bonnar Accident Law operates independently from claims companies.

By Andy Thorogood, Business Development Manager, Bonnar Accident Law.


Another child mauled by family ‘pet’…

shar pei

The word ‘puppy’ conveys an image of fun and friendship and for the vast majority of dog owners the family pet poses no danger to young children or adults…

Unfortunately, not all dogs are safe with people.  

5-year old Eithan Adamson was mauled by a Shar Pei puppy at his mother’s home in Bellshill, Lanarkshire, last Wednesday.

Surgeons reattaching the skin on Eithan’s head said they “lost count” of the stitches required.

The boy’s mother, Karina, 23, revealed yesterday she is having the dog put through a temperament test with a view to it being given a new home.

Vet Neil McIntosh said he wouldn’t hesitate to put a dog to sleep if it had attacked a child in such a horrific manner. Neil said: “If you have a dog which has carried out a vicious attack for no valid reason, unless it is particularly unwell and is suffering from a painful condition, then taking the risk again is too great. In the overwhelming majority of cases such as this, parents or owners want the dog to be put to sleep.”

Under the Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act 2010, police have powers to seize dangerous dogs, but if the owners don’t want them to be put down, a report goes to the procurator fiscal who will make the decision in each individual case.

Police said last night: “A report on this incident has been sent to the fiscal.”


FFI? Health & Safety wheeze about to hit the buffers?

Courtesy HSE

Photo: Courtesy HSE

FFIas acronyms go it’s an ‘open goal’...if you’re looking for a cheap larf that is.

As ideas go, FFI is more of an ‘own goal’ but it ain’t no laughing matter because this particular Government wheeze, introduced last October, is helping to undermine 170 years of progress in workplace safety.

The evidence is that the scheme is spectacularly failing to deliver on it’s key objective which is: to make companies pay for Health & Safety Executive visits where breaches of health and safety regulations have ocurred.

Only a blinkered, insurance-lobby friendly Government, driven by an anti-workplace safey agenda and a mis-guided dogmatic belief in the ‘compensation culture’ would have thought an idea like this would work…and what’s worse, only such a Government would have foisted this change on UK industry.   

The idea was that a system of charges caled FFI – Fees For Intervention –  would make companies guilty of ‘material breaches’ of health & safety law pay for the HSE’s investigation costs and help fill a large hole in its budget caused by government funding cuts. However, in its first year just ended, the scheme to cover HSE-related costs, which include call-outs, inspections, investigations and taking enforcement action for companies in breach of safety laws, brought in just £5,532,565.

The government had ‘ambitiously’  put a cap on the amount of income HSE could retain from the scheme at £10m for 2012/13, £17m for 2013/14 and £23m for 2014/15. Clearly the first year results suggest the contentious scheme will not deliver anything like this boost to HSE’s income.

If the FFI income comes in at the same rate throughout this financial year, it would leave HSE with a fees and DWP income of around £170m for 2013/14, compared to the £239.4m HSE received from DWP in 2009/10, the last year before the current government took power.

The TUC, among other concerned commentators, is concerned that the fees scheme may have made firms more reluctant to report injuries, which it suspects part explains the drop in reported major injuries last year.

What this scheme has delivered is a quadruple whammy:

  • A reluctance by business owners to ask HSE for advice for fear of incurring charges
  • A further reduction in HSE income

leading to

  • An even more reduced level of HSE inspections

leading to

  • An increased likelihood of breaches of health and safety legislation – AND MORE DANGEROUS WORKPLACES.

It doesn’t take a conspiracy theorist to ponder the motive behind this cost-cutting and cost-shifting ‘initiative.’ 

Tellingly, major insurance group ZURICH, has delivered the following advice to its customers on it’s website:

“One final point, those in key health and safety roles should be aware of this fundamental change to the HSE’s role. No longer should the HSE be seen as an advisory service. In fact, highlighting issues that are of concern to a business could result in a finding of a ‘material breach’ and a fee being applied.”

If that doesn’t help reduce reported health & safety breaches…