Historic Scotland and Visit Scotland both ‘slip up’ on safety record

Staff and visitors at some of Scotland’s top tourism sights have injured themselves almost 250 times since the beginning of last year. Some 126 members of staff at Historic Scotland and VisitScotland, and 120 visitors to their sites, found themselves hurt in accidents, making the locations equally hazardous for the public and workers alike.

According to figures released today through a Freedom of Information request, more than 100 visitors at Historic Scotland sites received injuries ranging from cracked ribs to dislocated elbows and broken shoulders. Almost 20 members of the public at VisitScotland sites recorded injuries, including a child at the Wallace Monument in April of last year who had to have the tip of their finger removed after trapping it in a toilet door.

A spokesperson for VisitScotland said: “The safety of our staff and customers across our network of offices and visitor information centres is of paramount importance. We are striving to improve our performance in this area.”

Some of the more serious incidents at Historic Scotland sites resulted in staff or members of the public claiming for damages. A staff member who fell off scaffolding and tore an ankle ligament is currently having their claim handled by Historic Scotland solicitors, as is another who slipped on ice and broke a wrist. A third visitor has a claim currently being handled, after a trip on a raised kerb left them with a cut above the left eye and a broken shoulder.

A spokeswoman for Historic Scotland said: “The nature of our work and the sites that we manage present unique health and safety challenges. However, we recognise our responsibility to manage health and safety and constantly strive for a better performance record. We will continue to engage with employees, local partners, schools, travel trade industry, and the Health and Safety Executive to continually evolve in this area.”

In total, 22 people at Historic Scotland sites were struck by falling or moving objects, and 18 staff members suffered musculoskeletal injuries while handling furniture and other items. Another 21 people walked into or otherwise struck a fixed object – including three visitors who ran into the same interpretation board – and one staff member was involved in a vehicle accident.

Two staff members at Historic Scotland also suffered burns and blisters as a result of coming into contact with “Giant Hogweed”, an ornamental plant introduced to Britain in the 19th century that can cause scars that last for several years, or even permanent blindness.

There were fewer overall accidental injuries at VisitScotland’s sites, with 17 visitors and 28 staff suffering injuries at their locations. Slips, trips and falls accounted for most of these, with 17 people – 11 staff and six visitors – hurting themselves at VisitScotland sites in this way.

Historic sites and visitor attractions may not be inherently dangerous but clearly old buildings and exposed sites do present unique health and safety risks which can and must be managed.  At a time when Lord Young seems hell-bent on decrying the need for sensible risk management and is bemoaning the existence of ‘petty regulations’, the government would do well to remember that people actually expect to return home safe and sound at the end of a day out spent visiting a tourist attraction…and please, let’s not forget about the workers.

If you have been hurt or injured whilst visiting a tourist attraction in Scotland you can contact us for free legal advice and an expert review of your case on 0800 163 978.

20,000 people in the UK die early because of work

Simply being at work can be dangerous and it’s driving 20,000 Brits to an early grave every year, according to a study out yesterday.

The study, by the TUC, comes at a time when health & safety legislation in the UK is under close scrutiny from government appointee Lord Young, who has been asked by the PM to investigate the ‘compensation culture’.

The report claims that thousands of workers in the UK die early because of occupational cancers and lung disorders such as mesothelioma, caused by exposure to asbestos. It also states that thousands of people are injured at work but their accidents go unnoticed. The Health & Safety Executive echoes the TUC study and estimates that a staggering 246,000 workplace injuries were unrecorded last year.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “If the level of HSE funding is cut the effects will be catastrophic.”

Firms such as Bonnar & Company see the effects of workplace accidents on a daily basis and we can only wonder at the rationale behind attempts to cut so-called red tape in the workplace. One person’s red tape is another person’s last line of defence against serious injury or death at work.

If you have been hurt or injured in an accident at work or if you have developed an industrial illness, you can call us FREE on 0800 163 978 for no obligation expert legal advice from a personal injury solicitor.

Dangerous dog owners have something else in common

The owner of a dog which ripped a young girl’s face apart already had a criminal conviction for failing to control the animal.

Gaynor McCabe’s Japanese Akita savaged 10-year-old Toni Clannachan last week. The youngster needed 100 stitches and pictures of her horrific injuries shocked Scotland – but McCabe insisted the attack was out of character for her pet.

Newspaper reports have revealed that McCabe was convicted under the Dangerous Dogs Act in June 2009 after the Akita, called Kruger, attacked a springer spaniel in the street.

This follows revelations that Derek Adam, the owner of the two rottweilers that savaged 10-year-old Rhianna Kidd last Sunday was handed a court order in March this year which he ignored.

These dogs are not family pets, they are vicious out of control animals. In our opinion the new Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act cannot come into force quickly enough.

If you or a member of your family has been injured by a dog please call us FREE on 0800 163 978 for expert legal advice and a no obligation review of your case.

Third dog attack in Scotland in a week

Sadly, today’s headlines tell us that two-year-old Jemma Horn bears the scars of Scotland’s third horror attack by a dog on a little girl in a week.

She came within an inch of losing her left eye and had her nose torn when she was attacked by a Staffordshire bull terrier.

Jemma was mauled as she played with her twin brother Robbie and dad Robert at a family get-together on Saturday afternoon when the terrier – called Moses – pounced as she was standing next to her dad in the garden of the home in North Berwick, East Lothian.

The attack comes just days after two 10-year-olds were savaged in separate incidents in Dundee and Kilmarnock.

Dog owner, Ann Kidd, of Kilsyth, North Lanarkshire, claimed the dog was trying to play with Jemma. She said: “Her dad was trying to get her to pet it and it jumped up on her to try to lick her. Its paw caught her face and cut her. I am distraught about it. I hope the wee girl is OK. It was an accident. The dog is not vicious.”

The new Control of Dogs Act, which comes into force in Scotland in February 2011, is aimed at identifying, controlling and ultimately destroying dangerous and out-of-control dogs of any breed.

If you or a member of your family has been injured by a dog please call us FREE on 0800 163 978 for expert legal advice and a no obligation review of your case.

“Killing machine” fighting dog savages 10-year-old Kilmarnock girl

In what is rapidly becoming an almost  daily occurrence in Scotland, a horrified dad told yesterday how a “killing machine” dog ripped his schoolgirl daughter’s face apart.

Ten-year-old Toni Clannachan needed more than 100 stitches and was scarred for life after the attack by the vicious Akita fighting dog in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire. It came just days after another 10-year-old Scots girl was mauled by two rottweilers in Dundee.

Last night, as Toni lay in hospital, dad James Dixon said: “These dogs shouldn’t be with families or around kids. They are killing machines.”

Toni was playing in a friend’s garden when the family Akita, called Kruger, savaged her. The owner of the Akita, professional dog groomer Gaynor McCabe, has been involved in a previous dog attack.  Her own son Gabriel – whom Toni was playing with on Tuesday when the Akita attacked – lost part of an ear when her Staffordshire bull terrier went for him.

Toni had four hours of surgery at Crosshouse Hospital, two miles from her home in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire. Her cheek had a large hole in it and her top lip was left hanging down her face after the dog took vicious bites at her head. She has been too scared to look at her wounds and nurses have covered mirrors to shield her from the shock.

The Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act 2010 extends the criminal liability of an owner to all places, rather than just public ones, but the legislation does not come into effect until February. We can but hope meantime that certain dog owners will become even more aware of their animals’ potential to cause harm and that they will take steps to protect the public. 

If you or a member of your family has been injured by a dog please call us FREE on 0800 163 978 for expert legal advice and a no obligation review of your case.