Hybrid Working Returning to Work Safely

Hybrid Working: Returning to Work Safely

The pandemic has showed us a new way of working as we all moved indoors and began working from home. However, as the government gives the all clear about people returning to offices, this has given rise to the concept of ‘hybrid working’. For employers, it is still a tentative time with Covid-19 still rife in many communities and with the government ready to place measures to curb the rise of cases. In our latest blog, we’re outlining steps employers need to take to ensure a Covid-19 secure workplace.

What the numbers say

An ONS survey found that 46.6% of employees worked from home at least some of the time during the pandemic, compared to the 5% prior. In fact, YouGov research shows that the majority of workers would like to continue to work from home at least some of time following the peak of the pandemic.

What is hybrid working?

Hybrid working is a model of flexible working that allows employees to combine working in an office with working remotely e.g. at home. However, hybrid working is more than just the location at which a worker will split their time. It can also refer to flexible start and finish times to avoid busy public traffic times, and even flexible days of working to account for child minding.

What are the benefits of hybrid working?

There are a number of benefits for employees of hybrid working including a better work-life balance, ability to focus on work (without distractions), reduced commuting time and costs, and increased motivation. Hybrid working is not just beneficial to employees, but also employers in as much as the cost savings on a physical office space, higher employee engagement levels, lower turnover levels, lower absence rates, reduced environmental impact, encouraging diversity and inclusion, and not to mention supporting employee wellbeing.

What steps should an employer take to make hybrid working safe?

Here are the top things to follow so that your employees can return to the office safely:


  1. Make sure you properly assess your office space before any staff return to the space. This can include making sure that heating, windows, doors and any appliances are all in working order.
  2. Ensure that if you are returning to the office that you are following all government guidelines surrounding Covid-19 and the workplace. Visit the Working Safely site for up to date guidance.


  1. Make sure that desks are at least 1 metre apart and that there is enough social distance between employees. You should also make sure whilst rearranging the space that there are no trailing wires or cables that could be a trip hazard.


  1. Make sure you encourage employees to wear masks around communal areas like the bathroom, unless they are eating, drinking, or sitting at their desk


  1. Utilise ventilation where possible. This could mean opening a window in the summer months or open doors during the winter


  1. Make sure there are plenty of antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer available.

What does this mean for the future?

Covid-19 has presented an opportunity for employers to review and evolve their working arrangements following the experiences of working from home during the pandemic. In fact, many employers have already seen benefits of allowing their employees to work remotely, in terms of productivity and worker happiness.

If you have been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault and you would like more information, please get in touch with one of our No Win No Fee solicitors today.

Asbestosis Claims: All You Need to Know

Asbestosis Claims: All You Need to Know


Asbestos was once one of the most popular manufacturing materials, favoured for its strength, resilience, and natural occurrence. Throughout the 20th century across the UK, this naturally occurring fibrous mineral was used extensively in the shipbuilding, construction and manufacturing industries.

Today, asbestos is far more commonly known as ‘The Silent Killer’ and is the direct cause of at least four serious and debilitating diseases.

Exposure to asbestos fibers and asbestos dust was first recognised as an occupational health hazard sometime in the early 1900’s, but it wasn’t until many years later that a clear link between asbestos use and lung problems was confirmed. In fact, it took until 1999 in the UK for the use of asbestos to be completely banned.

Horrifyingly, the number of people diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases continues to rise year-on-year. This is due to the fact that the symptoms of asbestos-related diseases often take many years, in some cases decades, to develop. The Health and Safety Executive reported that there was over 5,000 deaths in the UK in 2021 from asbestos-related diseases.

One of the most common diseases caused by prolonged asbestos exposure is asbestosis, a long term and uncurable lung disease which causes scarring of the lungs.

Here at Bonnar Accident Law, we have significant experience handling all types of asbestos exposure claims, including those who have been diagnosed with asbestosis. In this blog, we’ll explore the main risks and symptoms surrounding asbestosis, and all you need to know about making a claim for compensation.

What is asbestosis?

The Health and Safety Executive defines asbestosis as ‘a form of pneumoconiosis caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibres, which is characterised by scarring and inflammation of the lung tissue’. Breathing in asbestos fibres causes scarring and thickening of lung tissues, which in turn, causes the lungs to lose elasticity and their ability to function properly.

Caused by excessive and prolonged periods of asbestos exposure, asbestosis is a chronic and irreversible condition in which the symptoms typically only start to develop several decades later. Shockingly, deaths from asbestosis continue to rise and there was a total of 490 deaths recorded in the UK in 2019, as a direct cause of asbestosis.

Who is at risk of asbestosis?

Exposure to asbestos occurs when a product containing asbestos is disturbed and asbestos fibres are released into the air and breathed in. The greater the exposure to asbestos, the higher chance you have of developing an asbestos-related disease later in life.

As such, the people who are most likely to be at risk of asbestosis are typically those who were exposed to asbestos in their workplace. People with jobs in the construction, maintenance and shipbuilding industries are identified to be most at risk due to the widespread use of asbestos in these trades. With that said, those who work in those industries today are still considered high risk for exposure as the material can still be found in many older buildings.

As well as those that worked or work directly with asbestos, it is possible for people to become unwell through ‘secondary exposure’. This occurs when people inhale fibres from the work clothes of a family member, or inhalation from living near a site where asbestos was regularly used.

What are the symptoms of asbestosis?

Most asbestos-related diseases are very slow to develop, and it can take years for symptoms to start showing. The main symptoms of asbestosis include:

  • shortness of breath
  • persistent cough
  • wheezing
  • extreme tiredness (fatigue)
  • pain in your chest or shoulder

Sadly, these symptoms can progress to seriously affect normal daily activity and can lead to various complications, which can be fatal.

If you think you may be suffering with asbestosis, please seek advice from your GP who can refer you for the necessary tests to help diagnose the condition.

What other diseases can be caused as a result of exposure to asbestos?

Other than asbestosis, there are three other main diseases associated with inhalation of asbestos fibres; mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer and non-malignant pleural disease.

Here at Bonnar Accident Law, we have significant experience handling mesothelioma claims. Mesothelioma is defined by the Health and Safety Executive as ‘a form of cancer that principally affects the pleura (the external lining of the lung) and the peritoneum (the lining of the lower digestive tract)’.

Cases of mesothelioma aren’t typically diagnosed until the cancer is already at an advanced stage, as the symptoms can be quite non-specific and don’t often appear until much later in the development of the disease. A diagnosis is almost always fatal, and often within 12 months of the symptom onset.

Devastatingly, the number of annual deaths from mesothelioma has increased steeply over the last 50 years, as it takes many years for mesothelioma to develop following inhalation of asbestos fibres. This increase in fatalities, with 2,369 mesothelioma deaths recorded in Great Britain in 2019, is a direct consequence of mainly occupational asbestos exposures that occurred because of the widespread industrial use of asbestos between 1950’s and 1980’s.

If you would like to know more about claiming for other types of asbestos-related diseases, read our blog Can I Make a Claim for Asbestos Exposure or for mesothelioma claims, get in touch with us today for more information.

Who can make a compensation claim for asbestosis?

Anyone who has been exposed to asbestos can potentially make a claim but to make a claim for asbestosis, you need to have formally diagnosed as suffering from the condition.

We understand that making a claim for an asbestos-related disease is one of the more complicated claims processes. If you have been told that you may have asbestosis or if you are unsure of your diagnosis, get in touch with one of our No Win No Fee solicitors today. If you’ve made a claim previously that was unsuccessful, but your condition has since worsened, we may also be able to help

Just as importantly, in Scotland you have three years to file for compensation. This three-year period can start either from the date of your medical diagnosis, or from when you were made aware, or should have been made aware, that your asbestosis symptoms were related to a previous employment. As such, if you are diagnosed with asbestosis, it’s important that you seek advice as soon as possible.

If you’re claiming on behalf of a deceased family member, the claim must also be filed within three years of the date of death, or the date of diagnosis if this was discovered sooner.

How can I make a claim for asbestosis?

Once you have provided proof of your diagnosed asbestosis, any information you have that could help us link your asbestos exposure to a specific workplace as well as any evidence you may have that proves your employer was aware of the risks and failed to take reasonable steps to protect the workforce from exposure, can help your claim tremendously.

However, we understand that asbestos-related diseases can take decades to develop and it’s very common in these situations that your former employer may have ceased trading, or that you can’t quite remember when you were exposed. Not to worry, we can still help. We have extensive experience investigating these types of claims and will work tirelessly to ensure you receive the best financial settlement possible.

If you or a loved one need advice on filing a compensation claim for asbestosis, please get in touch with one of our No Win No Fee solicitors today.

Everything You Need to Know about the 2022 Highway Code Changes

Everything You Need to Know about the 2022 Highway Code Changes

How well do you know the Highway Code? Sure, we all had our copy memorised back-to-front before sitting our driving test but since then, have you ever thought to reacquaintance yourself with the rules of the road?

According to a 2021 study by Rooster Insurance, 46.6% of drivers have never refreshed their knowledge of the Highway Code. As such, we’re sure that those road users might be quite surprised to learn that on 29th January 2022, the Highway Code is set to undergo a significant change with 49 updates to existing rules and 8 new rules being introduced.

After a lengthy consultation which concluded at the end of October 2020, generating nearly 21,000 response, the majority voted in favour of the proposed changes, believing that they would improve safety for cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders.

Amongst the changes is a new ‘Hierarchy of Road Users’ that will prioritise the most vulnerable road users, such as cyclists and pedestrians. This puts more responsibility on the drivers of larger vehicles to look after more vulnerable road users.

There is some concern that the new changes and revisions to the Highway Code could lead to an increase in road traffic accidents throughout both Scotland and across the whole of the UK in the coming months, due to a lack of awareness surrounding the changes.

Here at Bonnar Accident Law, we have significant experience handling road traffic accidents and are well versed in both the legal requirements and advisory behaviours that road users should adhere to. If you’d like more information get in touch today, or keep reading to find out all you need to know about the upcoming changes to the Highway Code and how they could affect any claims for compensation.

The Hierarchy of Road Users

The new Hierarchy of Road Users is being introduced to the Highway Code to ensures that those road users who can do the greatest harm, have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they may pose to other road users.

The new hierarchy is in the order of which road users are most likely to be harmed in the event of an accident and is as follows:

  • Pedestrians
  • Cyclists
  • Horse riders
  • Motorcyclists
  • Cars/taxis
  • Vans/minibuses
  • Large passenger vehicles/heavy goods vehicles

The need to prioritise pedestrian safety has perhaps been highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the increased awareness of climate change, both of which have seen many people deterred from risking public transport and taking to walking more. In fact, a recent study found that 38% of people are walking more than they were before the pandemic.

For cyclists, research from Cycling Scotland has found that between 2020 and 2021, there has been a 47% rise in people regularly cycling, as more people than ever before are taking to their bikes as a safe, economical and environmentally friendly way to get around.

However, whilst it’s clear why the safety of road users such as pedestrians and cyclists needs to be prioritised, the hierarchy does not remove the requirement for all road users to behave responsibly. The new Highway Code states that it is important that all road users are aware of the Highway Code, are considerate to other road users and understand their responsibility for the safety of others.

What other changes does the new Highway Code introduce?

  • Pedestrians will have increased priority at junctions over all other road users, including cyclists. Currently other road users only have to give way to pedestrians who have started to cross at junctions; under the new rule they should also give way when pedestrians are waiting to cross. The same applies in relation to zebra crossings, where currently traffic technically only must stop when a pedestrian has moved onto the crossing.
  • Cyclists can choose to ride in the centre of their lanes in certain situations, such as on quiet roads or at the approach to junctions. At junctions with no separate lights or cycle facilities, cyclists should position themselves in the centre of the lane.
  • Drivers, motorbike riders, horse riders and cyclists at a junction should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross a road into which, or from which, they are turning. Cyclists also have to give way to pedestrians on shared use cycle tracks.
  • Drivers should not cut across cyclists or horse riders going ahead when turning into or out of a junction or changing direction or lane, to prevent ‘left hook’ collisions.
  • Drivers should open car doors using the ‘Dutch reach’ method, with the hand on the opposite side to the door they are opening. This will mean drivers turn their heads to look over their shoulders and reduces the likelihood of hitting passing cyclists with their doors.
  • Drivers should leave at least 1.5 metres when overtaking cyclists at speeds of up to 30mph, more space when overtaking at higher speeds, and allow at least 2 metres space and keep to a low speed when passing a pedestrian who is walking in the road (e.g., where there is no pavement).

Read the full list of full changes set out by the Department of Transport here.

Will the change to the Highway Code affect my claim if I am injured in a road traffic accident?

The Highway Code is being updated to improve road safety for vulnerable road users, but there will be no changes to the law. The rules of the Highway Code are advisory, meaning a person won’t be prosecuted for not complying with them.

However, the Highway Code can be used in court to establish liability in the event of an accident under the Road Traffic Act. This includes rules which say ‘should/should not or do/do not.’ Therefore, if you are found to be at fault in an accident as a result of not complying with the Highway Code, you may face charges in court.

If you are involved in a road traffic accident, whilst we can completely under your distress, we can only advise that you try your best to stay calm and remember as many details as you can, as these can help to support your claim if you weren’t at fault. Try to record the following:

  • Names, addresses and contact details of all drivers involved
  • Vehicle registration details for all vehicles involved
  • Accident date and time
  • Accident location
  • Full contact details of any witnesses

Most importantly of course, if necessary, seek medical attention as soon as possible and report to your GP following any hospital admissions. And remember to always report the accident to the police.

If you have been injured in a road traffic accident that wasn’t your fault and you would like more information, please get in touch with one of our No Win No Fee solicitors today.

The 12 Common Personal Injuries of Christmas and How to Avoid Them

The 12 Common Personal Injuries of Christmas and How to Avoid Them

It might be the most wonderful time of the year but even the most wonderous festive season can be littered with avoidable personal injuries. In fact, research carried out by the National Accident Helpline found that 1 in 4 people feel more stressed than usual during the Christmas period, rising to nearly a third among women. With the hustle and bustle of tidying your house, getting the decorations up, and panic buying and wrapping presents, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 10 men say they are more likely to do things in a rush. And when things are done in a rush, accidents do tend to follow.

According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA), over 80,000 people a year require medical treatment for injuries such as falls, cuts, and burns over Christmas season. Let’s take a look at the most common personal injuries and we’ll give you our top tips on how you can avoid them.

  1. Road Traffic Accidents

It comes as no surprise that in December traffic accidents are much higher than any other month of the year. This could be down to the weather or just the sheer volume of traffic as people travel home for Christmas. Always make sure you pre-plan your route, leave yourself plenty of time for travel, and follow weather advice if there are any weather warnings in place.


  1. Trips and Falls

Did you know that 2.6 million people have fallen off a stool or ladder whilst hanging decorations? Tinsel, decorations, garlands, ladders…getting your home or workplace ready for the festive season can be dangerous. Always make sure that where you’re looking to hang your decorations is accessible and won’t require adverse risk, e.g., standing on a stool on top of a table, standing on an unfirm surface, or stretching unnecessarily. Make sure your decorations are visible, so they do not cause trip hazards and they are able to be taken down easily. All of these things can cause you to lose balance and fall.


  1. Electrical and Fire Safety

More than 1 in 40 people have suffered an electric shock due to poorly wired Christmas lights. Make sure that your Christmas lights and any electric decorations are bought under warranty and are packed away each year carefully – making sure the wires aren’t bent or at risk of breaking. Over half a million have had a fire in their home, so make sure if you have a real Christmas tree that requires watering, that your electrical socket and lights are out of the way.

  1. Kitchen Calamities

Nearly half of those preparing Christmas food have suffered an accident – from cuts when preparing vegetables, burns from hot fat, or smoke inhalation from burning turkeys – taking care in the kitchen will help you avoid injuries that land you in A&E on Christmas Day.


  1. Children Mishaps

Christmas is an exciting time for families with young children, but a lot of the traditions can in fact be dangerous for kids. Christmas crackers can include small toys which can be choking hazards and the kitchen can be a ‘no go’ area in terms of hot plates, dishes, pots and pans. Not only this, but children can cause injury inadvertently to adults, as through sheer excitement they can become trip hazards and can cause harm if not properly supervised. Make sure you have a designated area for children to occupy where they can play with their toys but still have adult supervision. For younger children, a stair gate across the kitchen doorway can keep them out of harm’s way while Christmas dinner is cooking.


  1. All Wrapped Up

Unboxing presents and getting them wrapped up requires tape, wrapping paper, and of course – scissors or a craft knife. Make sure that you give yourself plenty of time to get your gifts wrapped so that you’re not rushing, as this is when accidents can happen.


  1. Allergic Reactions

Everyone indulges a little more than they usually would over the Christmas period. Those with existing allergies know to take extra special care, especially with catered food such as at Christmas parties. However, it’s been recorded that thousands of people every year discover that they have underlying allergies they didn’t know about before Christmas when they experiment. Make sure you clearly check the ingredients before tucking into any new sweet treats.

  1. Festive Cheers

The festive season is marked with office parties, hot toddies, ‘adult’ hot chocolate, mulled wine, and other Christmas fare. A previous study found that over 600 million units or 265 million pints of pure alcohol were drunk by Brits each December. Make sure you know your limit and make preparations in advance for travel via train, taxi, or Uber in case you do overindulge. It’s also important to pace yourself, drink water, and not drink on an empty stomach.


  1. Back Injuries

Sprains and strains are some of the most common injuries which occur during the festivities. Be it from straining to put up decorations in awkward, hard to reach places, or from lifting heavy boxes. Make sure you don’t strain yourself by picking up too many boxes at once and take multiple trips to avoid injury. In turn, when packing and tidying away your decorations, make sure you spread the load and don’t put all your heavy decorations in one box.


  1. Christmas Trees

ROSPA estimates that every year, about 1,000 people are injured by their Christmas tree – usually whilst fixing decorations onto the higher branches. Make sure you can safely reach the top of your Christmas tree if you are fixing decorations e.g., via step ladder on a non-slip surface. Make sure that your tree is on a flat surface and the decorations are evenly distributed so that it is less likely to topple over.


  1. Hanging Decorations

It’s not just Christmas trees that make people feel festive and bright. Hanging decorations that adorn the outside of your home or business can make them stand out from the crowd. However, hanging decorations are often heavy or sharp and if they’re not secured properly, winter weather can cause them to fall, potentially resulting in horrible injuries. Make sure that your hanging decorations or ornaments are properly secured, especially if they hang above high traffic areas or public footpaths.

  1. Snow is Falling

Whilst many of us may be dreaming of a white Christmas, snow, ice, fog and sleet can increase the likelihood of road traffic accidents and personal injuries. Wearing appropriate clothing and footwear is essential and foreplaning your travel will help mitigate any unforeseen circumstances. The RAC also has a handy guide to help navigate driving in snow, you can check it out here.

Here at Bonnar Accident Law, we’d like to wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas and we hope you have a safe and fun-filled festive season. Just remember, whether it’s Christmas or any other time of year, our personal injury team is always here and ready to help you.

If you have been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault and you would like more information, please get in touch with one of our No Win No Fee solicitors today.

Police Scotland's Festive Crackdown on Driving under the Influence: All You Need to Know

Police Scotland’s Festive Crackdown on Driving under the Influence: All You Need to Know

The Minister for Transport and Police Scotland have launched this year’s festive enforcement campaign to tackle drink and drug-driving across Scotland, highlighting the personal and criminal consequences of being found guilty of driving under the influence.

More than 20,000 drivers are stopped by the police in Scotland every month and Police Scotland’s enforcement campaign will see an even stronger focus on drink driving on Scotland’s roads, so the chances of being caught are higher than ever.

The consequences of drink and drug-driving can be devastating and put not only the driver but any other passengers, and road users at risk of serious injury or worse. With more people out and about and enjoying Christmas parties this year, in comparison to the Covid-19 restrictions that consumed the festive season in 2020, Police Scotland’s message is clear: if you’re planning to have a drink, even just the one, leave the car at home.

Police Scotland confirmed that 395 motorists having tested positive for drug-driving, and 600 arrested for drink-driving and related offences throughout Scotland in the last two months alone. Unfortunately, it is the reality that some people do still take the risk.

Here at Bonnar Accident Law, we understand that behind each statistic, there is potentially a family dealing with a devastating aftermath. We have significant experience handling road traffic accidents, and we are here to help every step of the way. If you’d like more information get in touch today, or keep reading to find out all you need to know on drink and drug-driving.

What are the current drink and drug-driving limits in Scotland?

The current drink drive limit is:

  • 22 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath
  • 50 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood
  • 67 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of urine

The drink and drug-drive limit in Scotland is stricter than in England, so just one small drink could put you over. The reason it’s measured as a percentage of alcohol in your breath, blood or urine rather than per units of alcohol, is because everybody processes alcohol in different ways, and the same drink can create different levels of alcohol for different people. This can be influenced by factors such as your weight, age, metabolism, medication or your stress levels.

Although it’s clear that you cannot safely drink any alcohol when driving, the reason the limit isn’t zero is because there’s more than one reason why drivers could have alcohol in their body other than from drinking. For example, certain foods, mouthwash and medications can contain alcohol.

Regarding the drug-driving limit, Scotland has a zero-tolerance approach to tackling illegal drugs and driving. No matter what kind of drugs someone may have taken, or how much, it is a crime to take illegal drugs and drive.

The police can stop you if they suspect you of drink or drug-driving, and if you are found to be over the drink drive limit or to have used illegal drugs, this is treated very seriously. The consequences are severe, ranging from receiving a criminal record, a minimum 12 month driving ban, the possibility of losing your job and receiving a substantial fine. Repeat offenders, or those that cause death due to careless driving, may even face the prospect of a prison sentence and a much longer driving ban.

Can an injured passenger claim against a drunk driver?

As always, the most important element of any claim for compensation is proving that someone else’s negligence caused you to be injured, through no fault of your own. In terms of typical passenger compensation claims, if you can prove that the driver caused the accident, the grounds for your claim would rest on the fact that you were owed a duty of care that you did not receive.

If a driver fails to show due care for their passengers’ safety, and their reckless or negligent driving results in serious injury, the passenger then has the right to claim for any damages which were a direct result of their injuries or loss.

For drink and drug-driving cases, this can be a little more complicated. You could still claim against a drunk driver if you were injured as a passenger in their vehicle that was involved in a car accident. Even if you yourself were drunk. Regardless of whether a passenger is drunk or not, a driver who causes an accident will invariably carry the lion’s share of responsibility for the accident.

However, when a passenger decides to be driven by a driver they knew, or ought to have known was drunk, that passenger may be liable for contributory negligence. Contributory negligence means that any compensation you are awarded would be reduced, owing to the fact that your choice to enter a vehicle with a drunk driver contributed to the injuries you sustained.

What do I do if I’m involved in a road traffic accident caused by drink or drug-driving?

We completely understand how distressing it is to be involved in a road traffic accident, especially if you are injured by someone drink or drug-driving. Just try your best to stay calm and remember as many details as you can, as these can help to support your claim if you weren’t at fault. Try to record the following:

  • Names, addresses and contact details of all drivers involved
  • Vehicle registration details for all vehicles involved
  • Accident date and time
  • Accident location
  • Full contact details of any witnesses

Most importantly of course, if necessary, seek medical attention as soon as possible and report to your GP following any hospital admissions. And remember to always report the accident to the police.

If you have been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault and you would like more information, please get in touch with one of our No Win No Fee solicitors today.