Two Companies Expose Workers to Deadly Asbestos, Pay Price

 

Workers Exposed to Deadly Fibers at Mill
Two British companies have been prosecuted after workers were exposed to potentially deadly asbestos fibers at a mill in Bolton.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) took legal action against Hazelwise Ltd and RH Property Management Ltd after finding dozens of damaged asbestos boards stacked up at Brownlow Mill during a visit in October of 2010.
 
No Plan to Manage Asbestos
Manchester Crown Court heard that neither company had put a plan in place to manage the asbestos in the mill on Tennyson Street, where several small businesses rent units.
HSE became aware of the issue when a contractor on the site raised concerns that asbestos insulation boards had been stripped out of unoccupied floors at the mill, releasing potentially deadly asbestos fibers into the air.
 
Two Prohibition Notices
Inspectors issued two Prohibition Notices banning the removal of tools and other items from four floors of the mill in case they had become contaminated with asbestos fibers, and preventing access to the floors.
They also found that asbestos was present in other parts of the mill, occupied by tenants, but nothing had been done to protect it and make sure it was safe.
The court was told the letting agent, RH Property Management Ltd, had raised the issue of the lack of an asbestos assessment in 2006 but did not take any further action. The owner of the mill, Hazelwise Ltd, also failed to arrange for an asbestos survey to be carried out.
 
Both Companies Pleaded Guilty
Both companies pleaded guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 for failing to ensure the health and safety of people at the mill. Hazelwise also admitted a breach of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 by failing to properly assess the risks from asbestos at the site.
Hazelwise Ltd, of Mauldeth Avenue in Chorlton, was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £8,969 in prosecution costs. RH Property Management Ltd, of Greek Street in Stockport, was fined £15,000 and with costs of £11,011.
 
4,000 People Die Every Year From Asbestos
 
Around 4,000 people reportedly die every year as a result of breathing in asbestos fibers, making it the biggest single cause of work-related deaths in the UK. 
 
 

Author Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher.  www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com Contact mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com

 

 


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Social Worker Stabbed by Psychiatric Patient Wins Right to Sue

 

 
 
A British social worker stabbed by a psychiatric patient for whose child she was responsible, recently won her case at the Court of Appeal, giving her the right to sue two health authorities responsible for her attacker’s care, according to UNISON,the UK's largest public service union.
 
UNISON member Claire Selwood was stabbed six times by Graham Burton, of Murton, after he confronted her during a professional conference at his child’s school in County Durham. Just two days earlier he had told medical staff at Cherry Knowle Hospital, Sunderland that he would kill her on the spot if he saw her. This was the last of a number of threats that were not acted upon.
 
Her attacker left the 42-year-old mother of three for dead. She suffered life-threatening injuries and was profoundly traumatized by her ordeal. Meantime, Burton was jailed indefinitely in for the attempted murder of Selwood. An independent inquiry found a ‘complete failure’ by medical staff to warn her of any danger.
 
If the case is ultimately successful, it could result in every NHS Trust and local authority being required to check that threats against the personal safety of social workers and other vulnerable lone workers are made known to all parties, taken seriously and acted on, according to UNISON.
 
Gill Hale, UNISON Northern Regional secretary, noted, “The attack on Claire was shocking, but also shocking is the fact that it could and should have been prevented. Threats had been made by Burton on several occasions but Ms Selwood was never warned that her life might be in danger. We welcome today’s decision, which could lead improved safety for lone workers like Claire.
 
Organizations such as local authorities and NHS Trusts must protect vulnerable workers in the workplace. There must be procedures when threats are made against staff that work for or with them.”
 
According to Selwood, “This has been a difficult time and I am very grateful for the help and assistance I have received from UNISON.”
 
Following the attack, UNISON took up her case and began a claim for compensation against Selwood’s employer Durham County Council, and the Tees Esk and Wear Valley NHS Trust and Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust.
 
The case against the two NHS Trusts was dismissed by Newcastle County Court on the grounds they did not owe Selwood a duty of care, but she was given leave to appeal.
 
In July, the Court of Appeal accepted it was arguable the two NHS Trusts did owe her a duty of care based on their responsibilities under an agreed protocol. Selwood can now continue the claim against her employer and the NHS Trusts.
 

University Fined for Putting Individuals at Risk of Exposure to Asbestos

Lincoln University in Great Britain has been fined for putting staff, students and contractors at risk of exposure to asbestos.
 
 
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the failings came to light in February of 2010 when a lecturer became trapped in a room after a door lock broke. She enlisted the help of a colleague to release her and once freed, they noticed debris around the door handle. (WCxKit)
 
 
They notified the university's health and safety department which examined the door and others in the area, and discovered most were lined with asbestos insulating board (AIB), and that some were damaged.
 
 
The university notified HSE, which carried out its own investigation. It was found that a number of areas across the university's estate had been subject to asbestos surveys over a number of years and many areas were found to contain asbestos-containing materials or even asbestos debris, yet no remedial action had been taken.
 
 
Lincoln University Higher Education Corporation, of Brayford Pool, Lincoln, pleaded guilty to two counts of breaching Regulation 5(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 at Lincoln Magistrates Court. The university was fined $15,629 and ordered to pay $19,939.77 costs.
 
 
After the hearing at Lincoln Magistrates Court, HSE inspector Edward Walker noted, "Exposure to asbestos fibers is a well-known health hazard that results in approximately 4,000 deaths a year. (WCxKit)
 
 
"The university had an asbestos management plan but had failed to follow it and failed to take appropriate steps to manage the risks associated with asbestos over a number of years, putting staff, students and contractors at risk of potential exposure."
 
 
Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
 
 
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Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Compensation Restored for Asbestos Victims in Scotland

Construction union UCATT has warmly welcomed a recent decision by the UK Supreme Court to reject a case brought by the insurance industry to block an Act of the Scottish Parliament, which restores compensation for asbestos victims.
 
 
According to information from UCATT, in 2009 the Scottish Parliament passed the Damages Act, which restored compensation to victims of pleural plaques, a scarring of the lungs caused by prolonged exposure to asbestos. The Damages Act overturned a decision of the Law Lords in 2007, that pleural plaques victims should no longer be compensated.(WCxKit)
 
 
George Guy, acting general secretary of UCATT, noted, “This is excellent news as its shows that despite their huge financial resources the insurance industry does not have a free hand in the courts. It also underlines just how outrageous their actions have been as for over two years they have deliberately blocked pleural plaques victims in Scotland from receiving compensation.”
 
 
Although the decision is good news for Scottish pleural plaques victims it will create a postcode lottery, as victims in England and Wales will not receive compensation as the Government has refused to restore compensation. The Executive in Northern Ireland are also committed to restoring compensation to pleural plaques victims.
 
 
Guy added, “This needs to be the first step in winning justice for all asbestos victims regardless of where they live. Every year thousands of people discover that their health has been damaged by asbestos and many sadly die. These deaths and injuries were entirely preventable; companies knew that asbestos was lethal. Everyone whose health has been damaged by asbestos must receive compensation.” (WCxKit)
 
 
Harry Frew, regional secretary for UCATT Scotland, added, “This is an important decision as it will help to ensure justice for pleural plaques victims in Scotland.”
 
 
Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
 
 
Author Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality, and manufacturing. She is the author of the #1 selling book on cost containment, Manage Your Workers Compensation: Reduce Costs 20-50% www.WCManual.com. Contact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
 

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©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact

British Union Argues Over Sick Pay

UNISON, the UK’s largest union, has issued a challenge to public sector employers to “do the right thing” and give sick pay to all their workers.
The union is angry and frustrated that across the country, many contracted-out catering and cleaning workers in schools and hospitals are denied this basic right – at the same time as being paid at, or just above, the minimum wage. (WCxKit)
Dave Prentis, UNISON general secretary, noted, “It cannot be right that these massive multinational companies can make huge profits but still cheat workers out of basic terms like sick pay – it is enough to make anyone sick. Cleaners and dinner women in schools and hospitals are paid on or just above the minimum wage, and struggle to make ends meet. Many also struggle into work when they are sick, risking their own health and the health of people around them. This is particularly true in hospitals where vulnerable patients may be put at risk by catching infections.
 “UNISON is outraged at government plans to scrap the two-tier workforce code, which could see even more workers’ rights sacrificed for company profits this year, sparking a race to the bottom. We want local authorities, hospitals and contractors to do the right thing and make a New Year resolution to pay all their staff sick pay. They must ward against this 19th century-style treatment, and make 2011 the year for fair treatment.”
Under current two-tier workforce code, new starters employed by contract companies are meant to get broadly comparable wages, terms and conditions as staff transferred across from the public sector. The code was developed to prevent private contractors making savings by driving down staff terms and conditions. (WCxKit)
However, earlier in December of 2010, the government announced it was to scrap the two-tier code. Together with the increasing push to sell services off to the lowest bidder, UNISON fears the moves will see increasing numbers of workers suffering cuts to terms and conditions, with sick pay at the top of the hit list.


Author Robert Elliott
, executive vice president, Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information.  Contact:  Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com or 860-553-6604.

 

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©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact
Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Number of Workers Killed in UK Falls to Record Low

The number of people killed at work in the United Kingdom dropped to a record low last year, according to the Health and Safety Executive, the government’s health and safety enforcement body. (WCxKit)
Between April 2009 and March this year, 152 people suffered fatal injuries on the job. That compares with 179 workplace fatalities the previous year, according to the London-based HSE.
Major injuries, like amputations and serious burns, also dropped among employees to 26,061 compared with 27,894 the previous year.
“It is encouraging to see the further reduction in the number of people being killed or seriously injured at work,” Judith Hackett, chair of the HSE, said in a statement. “The challenge now is to focus on those areas where improvement is slow to emerge,” she added. (WCxKit)
The construction and agricultural sectors still have high levels of accidents and deaths, according to the HSE.
Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. Contact:  Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com or 860-553-6604.
 
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SUBSCRIBE: Workers Comp Resource Center Newsletter

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
©2010 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

International Workers Comp Experts Contribute to Blog

WC is broader than most people realize. It is not only the corporations we are most familiar with, but also other countries, federal and state agencies, the military and many other entities struggle with WC issues:

 

International visitors: We have many visitors from countries other than the United States. Australia, Canada, UK, and New Zealand are frequent visitors. Actually, it's the governemnt of New Zealand that visits this blog most frequently because in New Zealand, all injuries are covered, not only work-related injuries. Groups from Australia and Canada have linked to our site. We are aggressive in our cost containment efforts, and they seek solutions from us just like we look at the health care systems in other countries looking for better ways to handle it.

 
Other countries: We have visitors from Russian, Germany, Argentina, Brazil, Seychelles, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Korea(south), Italy, Finland, Netherlands, Moldova, France, India, Japan, China, Poland and others.
 
See our list of worldwide contributors here.
 
If you can recommend contributors in the area, or if YOU are an expert and would like to contribute, please let me know at: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com
To read the 7 Biggest Mistakes Companies Make, click here: http://www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/lower-reduce-workers-comp-costs.php

Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

 
Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

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