“Lord help us” – Tory peer to review health and safety legislation

In a move aimed at targeting the so-called ‘compensation culture’, the new government has already got health and safety legislation firmly in its sights. 

David Cameron has today announced the appointment of the Rt Hon Lord Young of Graffham as Adviser to the Prime Minister on health and safety law and practice. Lord Young will undertake a Whitehall-wide review of the operation of health and safety laws and the growth of the compensation culture.

He is expected to report to the Prime Minister in the summer and will investigate concerns over the application and perception of health and safety legislation, together with the rise of the compensation culture over the last decade.

Commenting on the review the PM said:

“I’m very pleased that Lord Young has agreed to lead this important review. The rise of the compensation culture over the last ten years is a real concern, as is the way health and safety rules are sometimes applied.”

Commenting on his new role, Lord Young said:

“Health and safety regulation is essential in many industries but may well have been applied too generally and have become an unnecessary burden on firms, but also community organisations and public services.”

As urban myths go, the rise of the compensation culture takes some beating – and now it has received government approval! As personal injury solicitors we see no evidence at all to suggest that the overall number of compensation claims has increased during the last decade. In fact all the evidence points towards the opposite conclusion. 

Lord Young would do well to heed a statement released today by The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. Tom Mullarkey, RoSPA chief executive said:

“Let’s not forget that accidents are the principal cause of death among under-35s and that the number of people dying in accidents is going up – the figure currently stands at around 13,500 accidental deaths each year in the UK. There is no room for complacency.”

Quite…

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

Bonnar & Co. launch Headway charity car raffle

‘Hats for Headway Day in Scotland’

Gaille McCann and Catriona MacGregor, Headway Regional Co-ordinators in Scotland help launch the Headway Car Raffle and celebrate ‘Hats for Headway’ with Bonnar & Company Solicitors in Airdrie.

Headway UK, the brain injury association, promotes understanding of all aspects of brain injury and provides information, support and services to people with a brain injury, their families and carers.

Hats For Headway Day is an annual fundraising event designed to increase awareness of brain injury and Headway’s work in the community.  

Bonnar & Company, Scotland’s leading independent firm of personal injury solicitors working solely on behalf of accident victims and their families throughout Scotland, is donating the star prize, a Vauxhall Corsa Sri, in the Headway UK raffle 2010.

The firm is also donating an ipod as an extra prize in the raffle.

Forgotten victims of Gulf oil rig disaster

Nearly two weeks after the tragedy, relatives of the men who died on the Deepwater Horizon plan private memorial services as the world choses to focus on the environmental impact of the worst oil spill in history.

The oil rig was positioned 50 miles south of the Louisiana coast and it is now the final resting place of the following 11 men who died in the explosion on 20th April 2010:

Aaron Dale Burkeen, 37, from Mississippi.

Karl Kleppinger Jr., 38, from Mississippi.

Dewey Revette, 48, from Mississippi.

Shane Roshto, 22, from Mississippi.

Roy Kemp, 27, from Louisiana.

Donald Clark, 49, from Louisiana.

Stephen Curtis, 40, from Louisiana.

Blair Manuel, 56, from Louisiana.

Gordon Jones, 29, from Louisiana.

Jason Anderson, 35, from Texas.

Adam Weise , 24, from Texas.

By any yardstick, loss of life on this scale is a major tragedy. We hope that the cause of the explosion is identified as quickly as possible and that health and safety lessons are learned and implemented throughout the oil and gas industry, in all regions of the world where drilling operations are proceeding. Operator safety should be of paramount importance in hazardous environments where workers have the right to expect the highest possible standards that their employers can achieve.

More people killed at work than in wars says TUC

Personal injury solicitors and their clients often get vilified in the media for creating the so-called ‘compensation culture’.

Critics are quick to dismiss workplace health and safety legislation as being so much ‘red tape’ which stifles enterprise and they rush to stigmatise accident victims as scroungers. If these people could see some of the tragic cases firms like Bonnar & Company deal with, their attitude towards hurt and injured workers would surely change.

According to the TUC website today:

‘Every year more people are killed at work than in wars. Most don’t die of mystery ailments, or in tragic “accidents”. They die because an employer decided their safety just wasn’t that important a priority. Workers’ Memorial Day commemorates those workers.’

Worker’s Memorial Day is held on 28 April every year, all over the world workers and their representatives conduct events, demonstrations, vigils and a whole host of other activities to mark the day. In South Lanarkshire, the local authority and the Unison branch are holding a seminar on health and safety, followed by a commemoration and wreath laying at the Workers Memorial plaque in the grounds of the council head quarters.

If you or a member of your family have been hurt or injured at work please contact Bonnar & Company Solicitors today FREE on 0800 163 978 for expert legal advice and a no obligation review of your case.

April Fool? Construction sites continue to fail HSE inspections

It might be April Fools’ Day, but it is no joke that nearly one in four of the construction sites visited by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) during March failed safety checks.

The HSE announced today that inspectors carried out checks at 2,014 construction sites across Great Britain as part of an intensive inspection campaign aimed at reducing death and injury in one of Britain’s most dangerous industries.

During unannounced visits, inspectors focused on refurbishment and roofing work to ensure that any work at height was being done safely and that the sites were in good order. 2,414 contractors were inspected during the campaign.

A total of 691 enforcement notices were issued at 470 sites, with inspectors giving orders for work to be stopped immediately in 359 instances for either unsafe work being carried out at height or where sites lacked ‘good order’.
The majority of all notices issued related to unsafe work being carried out at height.

Philip White, HSE’s Chief Inspector for Construction, said:

“While it is encouraging that many small construction firms have got their act together and are giving health and safety the priority it needs, the fact that our inspectors needed to take enforcement action on almost a quarter of sites, and on a similar proportion of contractors, is a matter of serious concern.

“There are still a small number of employers or contractors who continue to put their own and other people’s health and safety at risk. This is unacceptable. I want to make it clear to these operators that we will not hesitate to take action where standards of health and safety are endangering workers lives and livelihoods.”

During 2008/09 there were 53 deaths in construction and 11,264 injuries. Last year, inspectors visited 1,759 sites, 2,145 contractors and issued 491 enforcement notices during a similar month-long initiative.

We have always known that construction workers face the greatest risk to their health and safety ,but we are very concerned to note that the number of enforcement notices issued by the HSE has risen by 40%. Consequently, we take issue with the HSE’s contention that it is only ‘a small number of contractors who continue to take risks’. These figures suggest that construction sites are actually becoming more, not less dangerous.

Bonnar & Company specialises in construction site accidents and offers free, no obligation, expert legal advice to direct employees, sub-contractors, the self-employed and apprentices. Please contact us FREE on 0800 163 978.