Avoiding injuries when working in mines and quarries

It’s the same old story. Regardless of where you work from the relatively safe environment of a supermarket or office to the harsher settings of construction sites and farms and forests, the same categories of accidents and injuries predominate.

Mining and quarrying are no different, with falls, vehicles, machinery, being hit by moving or falling objects and explosions killing most people and handling, falls, slips and trips, vehicles, machinery and hand tools causing most non-fatal injuries. Where might you have heard or read this litany of pain and suffering before? Why, from a study of health and safety in practically any industry sector you care to name.

The injuries are the same; the results for the individual injured the same and the effects on the businesses they work for the same. What of course are also the same are the means by which such injuries can be avoided. We are of course talking about employers in the mining and quarrying industries complying with all the requirements of the UK’s copious and all-encompassing health and safety legislation and providing a safe workplace and ensuring as far as is reasonably practicable their employees’ health, safety and welfare whilst they are at work.

The risks to be managed in mining and quarrying, such as the unpredictability of the environment, the presence of heavy machinery and the danger from collapses, flooding and exposure to harmful dusts, gases and other particulates, are obviously different from those encountered in other types of workplace, but the process of managing them, based on risk assessment, remains the same. So why, based on the Health and Safety Executive’s workplace injury report data, are these proven tools not apparently doing their job in the mining and quarrying industry?

There is insufficient space in this article for, and the complexities of mining and quarrying preclude, the inclusion of all the risks and controls involved in helping to prevent injuries, but it still appears that the combination of the hazardous nature of the work and its complexity are continuing to frustrate attempts to bring down the injury rates, both fatal and non-fatal, in the mining and quarrying workforce, despite the industry seriously ramping up its engagement with health and safety over recent years.

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How to avoid factory accidents

The works accident book is recommended by the Health and Safety Executive and various Manufacturing trade bodies’ advice on health and safety as a good place to start when seeking to avoid factory accidents. We are of course presuming that the factory owner/employer is already complying with all the pertinent health and safety legislation applicable to the health, safety and welfare of their employers at work and the safety of the workplace itself.

The contents of the accident book will provide a reliable heads up on any historical and current trends in types of accidents, enabling the employer to identify areas of risk control that need re-visiting. For instance, an upsurge in slipping accidents might point to the fact that shop floor’s none slip surface is wearing out and requires refurbishing or a constant high number of back injuries due to lifting or carrying indicating that the frequency of manual handling training refresher courses needs increasing or more mechanical handling devices need to be integrated into certain processes.

Another source of information that can help to avoid factory accidents comes from the employees themselves. They also have health and safety duties which should be explained to them when they are initially employed. They are:

• To carry out their work in the way they have been trained to do and to follow instructions.

• Report any dangerous situations they encounter.

• Refrain from behaviour or activity that would endanger themselves or others.

Employees also have the right to refuse to undertake work that they perceive to be dangerous and that has insufficient risk controls in place. However it is the employees’ duty to report dangerous situations they encounter that can make the long term difference as to whether a workplace is reactive or proactive in the way it deals with the control of risks. ‘Good’ employers will also empower employees, within the bounds of their competencies, to take a ‘see it, sort it’ attitude to health and safety.

For instance in the case of an artificially lit corridor, where a couple of light bulbs have failed, making a section hazardously dark, the ‘see it, sort it’ empowered employee will take it upon herself, if she can safely do so, to replace the bulbs, rather than report the situation to a central facilities department who might not be able to act on the report quickly enough to prevent another employee tripping over an unseen obstacle in the darkened corridor.

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Common causes of injuries when working in mines and quarries

The coal mining industry in the UK today is but a shadow of its former self having contracted in size to approximately one hundred small to medium sized mines employing no more than six thousand people.  The majority of the coal mining specific, generally prescriptive health and safety legislation, was framed and passed into law over fifty years ago when the industry employed tens of thousands and the technology and working processes were different from those of today. Although it has been supplemented by more recent legislation, it is generally recognised as being in need of re-visiting.

The coal mining industry is also having to cope with an aging workforce and although the remaining workers in the industry are adequately qualified and experienced, the industry is losing far more managers, engineers, surveyors and supervisors due to retirement than it can replace and it is in those categories of employee than the bulk of the health and safety expertise resided.  The Health and Safety Executive acknowledge this loss of health and safety knowledge and awareness at the leadership level in the industry and have linked most fatal and major injuries reported over the last couple of decades to breakdowns of and issues surrounding mines’ safety management systems.  They also express concern about the reduction in scope of mines safety inspections with many concentrating on environmental risks and managing an aging infrastructure at the expense of not adequately addressing work processes related risk.

This situation, on-going, poses substantial problems around maintaining the required levels of health and safety in coal mines and is further exacerbated by the almost complete disappearance of coal mining specific training within the UK’s educational system – a provision which collapsed as a result of the radical reduction in the size of the industry.  This has made recruiting suitably qualified employees at all levels extremely difficult and in turn led to increasing levels of recruitment of foreign, non-English speaking workers – a situation that has its own health and safety implications.

In contrast to coal production, the other forms of mining for metals and minerals and quarrying in the UK present a more dynamic picture when it comes to the workforce, recruitment and training.  However, strangely enough and based proportionally on the number of workers they employ, these other forms of mining and quarrying produce a greater number of fatal and serious injuries than does the atrophying coal mining sector – 3000 reportable injuries, including 24 fatal injuries since the turn of the century.

In 2002 the mining and quarrying sector took top spot, displacing agriculture and construction, as the most dangerous industries to work in.  This might lead to the conclusion that although the mismanagement of risk in the sector is far from systemic, and the rates of fatalities and serious injuries are very slowly reducing there are still far too many pockets of bad practice out there in industries that are by their inherent nature extremely hazardous.

Our personal injury claims experts can help you win compensation for an injury sustained working in a mine or quarry

Working in mines and quarries is extremely dangerous however your employer should still be able to protect you. If your employer has negligently failed to do so, our expert personal injury solicitors could help you win compensation.

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Claiming compensation for a tendon injury

Our tendons are composed of thick fibrous tissues which serve to attach muscle to bone and provide support and flexibility. When the tendons are worn-out or directly traumatised a range of tendon injuries could be sustained. These can range from minute tears and swelling right through to large tears and ruptures. Tendon injuries can be sustained in a number of ways including sports injuries, car accidents and falls and in serious cases where the skin, muscles or bones are penetrated the victim may find that they never regain movement in the affected limb.

The way in which your tendon injury will be treated depends upon the severity of the injury. You may have been relatively fortunate and suffered a micro tear or possible inflammation of the tendon. In such cases you should be able to make a full recovery using the RICE method (rest, ice, compression and elevation) and anti-inflammatories. However, in more unfortunate cases, extensive physiotherapy, injections and shockwave therapy may be required. Some cases may even require multiple surgeries, with the first needed to repair the tendon and the additional surgeries needed to remove the scar tissue. This could therefore mean a considerable amount of time off work incapacitated causing great stress and financial concerns.

Given the anguish and financial troubles associated with tendon injuries, knowing that your injury result from someone else’s carelessness or wilful intent can be especially traumatising. If you have sustained a tendon injury which a third party is to blame for you could make a tendon injury compensation claim. Our expert injury claim solicitors can help as we specialise in such claims and will be able to quickly determine how strong your claim is and how much compensation you may receive. It is crucial that you instruct a specialist because of the volume of work that goes into each claim. Your pain and suffering and the financial losses you incur are central to calculating your final award and these things can be difficult to evidence. However, out solicitors have the skills needed and the necessary links with medical experts who will produce a medial report for your claim. It could be a long time before you recover from your tendon injury so it is only fair that you are compensated for your hardship.

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Claiming compensation for an eye injury

Our eyes are so much more than the sensory organs for sight. They convey emotion, character and help us to build relationships with other people and engage in conversation. Therefore, when one or both of your eyes become damaged, it can cause enormous emotional pain as well as physical pain. However, the tragedy of an eye injury is magnified when it is sustained during an accident for which the victim was not even to blame. Fortunately, under such circumstances, victims may find that they are entitled to claim eye injury compensation.

In order to make such a compensation claim it is crucial that you instruct an expert personal injury solicitor who will be able to evidence the pain and suffering you have endured as well as the financial losses you have incurred as a result of the injury. Our eye injury specialists have the expertise required and will also be able to put you in contact with the expert ophthalmologists and opticians who will be required to produce a detailed medical report on the nature of your injuries and the prognosis which will be crucial to your evidence.

Your eye injury may range anywhere from relatively minor scratches to blunt trauma which blinds you in one or both eyes. Even if your injury is one which you can recover from, the recovery process is likely to involve an eye patch or something similar which will be of great inconvenience. It may not be a single event which damaged your eyes. Perhaps and unsafe working environment or overuse of screens affected your eyes over a long period of time. If your employer failed to take the necessary steps to protect your eyesight, you may be able to claim against them for the damage to your vision.

The idea of losing one’s sight strikes fear into the heart of any individual. No matter what type of eye injury you have sustained, if you believe that you were not to blame for the injuries you sustained, you deserve to be compensated and our specialist injury claim solicitors will work tirelessly to recover the full and fair amount of compensation you deserve.

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Eye injuries can be devastating, so if you have sustained one which was not your fault, it is only fair that you are compensated. Our personal injury solicitors can help you recover the full and fair amount of compensation you deserve.

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How to avoid noise and hearing loss at work

It is an unfortunate fact that many people don’t realise how impaired their hearing has become due to workplace noise until the impairment is well advanced and becomes noticeable through, for instance, the need to have the TV or radio volume higher or as a difficulty in hearing normal conversations. The severity of the damage to an employee’s hearing usually relates to the level of the noise and duration of the exposure to it. Noise Induced Hearing Loss is often permanent and although further hearing loss can be avoided by removing the effected person from further exposure to harmful noise levels, the damage has been done and the harsh truth is that it was completely avoidable.

The fact that hearing loss is still all too often work related is mainly because on starting a job which features a noisy working environment, most employees quickly normalise the noise factor, treating it as just another aspect of their working environment and not something that needs changing or avoiding. This response might not be challenged by their co-workers or contradicted by the health and safety culture (or lack of it) of their company and it will only be several years down the line that the damage to their hearing will become apparent and question asked, ‘why didn’t my boss warn me about the noise?’.

Had of course that boss carried out their legal duty to provide a safe working environment and ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees, the hearing of all their workers would have been preserved intact and they wouldn’t have to be taking hit after hit on their Employers Liability Insurance to cover personal injury claims for compensation from angry and hearing impaired employees and ex-employees. Preventing employees from going deaf at work is, of course, not beyond the wit of man and a competently written health and safety strategy and rigorously implemented risk management plan would have prevented the issue arising in the first place. The steps to managing the risks associated with noise-induced hearing loss are straight forward and do not extend much beyond basic common sense. They include:

• Avoiding noisy processes or the use of noisy machines.

• The use of engineering solutions to reduce the noise of machines and tools and processes that can’t be avoided.

• The use of materials to form sound reducing barriers between noisy machines/processes and employees.

• Ensuring that employees’ hearing isn’t being adversely affected by workplace noise by providing hearing tests for them at regular intervals.

• Limiting the amount of time employees are exposed to harmful noise levels.

Noise Induced Hearing Loss Claim Solicitors available on FREEPHONE FREEPHONE 0800 1404544

Have you lost your hearing at work? Did you employer fail to protect your health? If so, you could be entitled to claim injury compensation. Our personal injury solicitors would be happy to help.

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Claiming compensation for a facial injury

When our loved ones look at us, it is not our legs or arms that they recognise – it is our face. Our very perception of ourselves and the way in which other people recognise us is based upon our facial characteristics and when our names our mentioned, it is our face that people visualise rather than anything else. Without even realising, we convey our inner thoughts through our facial expressions and our face says so much about our moods and feelings.

Given the role of the face in forming our identity it is no surprise that when our faces end up permanently changed as a result of an accident or incident it can lead to unthinkable trauma. The thought that our faces may end up heavily scarred, require prosthetics or have to be surgically altered is terrifying because of the effect that it would have on the way we recognise ourselves and the way in which other people view us. Relationships could change both at home and in work due to the loss of self-esteem and self-consciousness and senses such as sight and smell could even be permanently lost.

Dealing with a facial injury is therefore difficult enough but if the injuries resulted from the deliberate malice, legal omission or negligence of another individual, it would be particularly difficult to cope. Perhaps you were deliberately injured whist playing sports; or your employer refused to provide you with equipment to protect you from chemical burns; or maybe you suffered due to a negligent cosmetic surgeon. However you sustained your injuries, if I t was not your fault and you can prove that a third party was to blame you should be entitled to make a personal injury claim for compensation.

Winning compensation will never alleviate your emotional pain however it could go a long way towards securing your financial position at a difficult time. The amount you receive in damages should recognise the following:

• Pain and suffering of the victim: you deserve to be compensated for the physical and emotional trauma associated with your injuries

• Financial hardship: you may not be able to work and as a result you could lose income

• Extent of injuries: further costly procedures may be required and the worse the injuries the higher the compensation figure is likely to be

In order to win the full and fair amount of compensation you deserve it is crucial that you instruct a specialist personal injury solicitor. The solicitors at our firm specialise in facial injury compensation claims and have both the sensitivity needed to support through throughout the claims process and the unrelenting work ethic required to win what you deserve. We will carry out a thorough investigation into your claim so that you have all the evidence and documentation needed to succeed. Our links with experienced plastic surgeons mean that you will receive an in-depth report analysing the extent of your injuries and the necessity and cost of further procedures to correct damage.

For advice on facial injury compensation claims, call FREEPHONE FREEPHONE 0800 1404544

Sustaining an injury to your face can be particularly traumatic. Our expert personal injury solicitors can help you achieve justice in the form of a compensation payout if you have been injured through no fault of your own.

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Multiple fracture injury claims

Fracturing one bone is horrendously painful but some people are unfortunate to sustain multiple fracture injuries at the same time, from the same accident, leading to unspeakable agony. Moreover, these injuries are often sustained due to the carelessness or negligence of someone else and yet can lead to permanent physical damage. Whether several bones are fractured at the same time, or fracture lines spread through one bone, the consequences of a multiple fracture injury can be devastating and it is only right that those who sustain such injuries through no fault of their own can claim compensation.

Multiple fracture injuries can be permanently incapacitating or fatal at their worst and even at their best; they can ruin months or years of one’s life. Such injuries are completely debilitating and as a result sufferers will probably need to take an extended period of time off work, which is particularly problematic for those who are self-employed of course. With no income coming in, individuals will find it extremely difficult to support themselves or provide for their family and they cannot carry out simple everyday tasks. As a result, extra help may need to be hired, on top of possible medical expenses.

Entitled to multiple fracture injury compensation?

If your injuries were caused through no fault of your own, you may find that you are entitled make a personal injury compensation claim. Our team of personal injury claim specialists can help you with any such claim. To start with, we will be able to determine whether or not your claim is likely to succeed and estimate the damages you may be paid on the basis of loss of earnings and the extent of your injuries. The claims process can be complicated, so it is crucial that you have a specialist personal injury solicitor on your side who can work to recover the full amount you are entitled to and relieve some of your stress.

Multiple fracture injury claim? Contact our Personal Injury team today

Time limits apply to compensation claims, and it’s easier to investigate your claim if you get the right legal advice early on.

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It’s not difficult to avoid suffering a scaffolding injury

Scaffolding accidents and the sometimes horrible injuries that result simply shouldn’t happen. Although experience and training are required to safely erect and dismantle scaffolding you don’t need a PhD to do it. Likewise there is a pretty concise short list of does and don’ts for people working on and around scaffolding. Language problems and extreme learning difficulties aside, they are not difficult to grasp and apply. Why therefore do falls from height, predominantly from scaffolding, continue to occur at the consistently high rates they do, particularly although not exclusively, in the construction industry?

Well, you don’t need to a master’s degree in braininess to figure that out either; these injuries continue unabated because of inadequate attention by employers and others in control of employees using scaffolding, to comprehensively engage with their legal health and safety responsibilities. Whilst it might be going over the top to suggest that ‘profits above employees health and safety’ is an industry-wide operating model, there are still certainly some pockets of bad practice to be found out there.

The current health and safety legislation charges employers with a duty of care towards their employees and specific regulations, such as The Work at Height Regulations 2005, The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 go into considerable detail as to what that duty practically entails. Health and safety professionals know all about this stuff and although most companies have a health and safety expert on their team or can certainly hire the services of one, having health and safety expertise on tap is of course different from having the commitment to effectively utilise it.

There is no shortage of law or clearly worded guidance on sound health and safety practice for employers using scaffolding to allow their employees to work safely at height. What there can sometimes apparently be is a shortage of employers sufficiently incentivised enough to engage with health and safety in a way that will save lives and prevent injuries. All too often health and safety is regarded as a box ticking exercise and as a box is ticked but a loose bolt is not checked and tightened another worker falls to the ground and a life is ended or changed forever.

For specialist Scaffolding Injury Claim advice – call us today

If you suffered an injury whilst working on scaffolding, you could be entitled to compensation – but make sure that you call our personal injury team as soon as possible. Strict limits apply to all personal injury claims and if you delay too long, you could miss your chance to claim.

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How to avoid a forklift truck injury

The three principle areas of health and safety concern that any employer wanting to ensure that forklift truck accidents don’t occur on their premises needs to address are:

1) Selection, training, supervision and managing of operators

• Ensure training meets the minimum required level and is specific to the forklift truck and tasks to be carried out. Carry out ‘conversion training’ if the operator is to operator a different type of forklift truck to the one initially trained on.

• Ensure that trainees are medically fit to drive a forklift and institute medical examinations for operators prior to training and at regular intervals during their forklift truck driving career. There is a long list of physical and psychological conditions that might preclude a person from driving a forklift truck.

• Ensure that they identify themselves as reliable, mature and responsible employees before selection for training.

• Ensure that trainees’ supervisors are familiar with the training regime and guidance.

• Ensure that the trainees’ managers fully appreciate all the risks associated with the operation of a forklift truck and have taken all recommended steps to minimise them.

 2) The working environment

• Take all steps to avoid accidental injury to pedestrians, who statistically make up 70% of the total killed or injured in forklift truck accidents. This can be done by either completely segregating forklift trucks from pedestrians or taking the following measures:

• Issuing high-visibility clothing to pedestrians.

• Ensuring that the aisles and gangways are wide enough for a forklift truck to pass.

• Installing adequate lighting and avoiding situations where the forklift driver would be blinded by sudden glare.

• Training pedestrians in forklift truck awareness.

• All doorways to be constructed from flexible, transparent material.

• Ensuring that the flooring is level and firm and free from potholes and even small piles of debris.

3) The forklift truck

• Maintain in good mechanical order.

• Ensure it is fitted with roll-over protective structures and falling object protective structures (issue a hard hat to the operator as a further precaution).

• Ensure that it is highly visible to the pedestrians – it should have a flashing light and make a distinctive warning noise, even if that is only the operator sounding the horn.

• All dangerous moving parts should be fitted with a guard.

• Operated at all times in such a manner as to preserve the stability of the vehicle.

Having successfully addressed those areas, the employer can be confident that they will have diligently discharged their duty of care to ensure as far as practicable the health, safety and welfare of their workers with regards to the safe operation of forklift trucks in their workplace. Being able to demonstrate that they have discharged this duty of care and complied with all the workplace health and safety legislation currently enacted might go a long way to eliminating the risks posed by forklift truck operation or help in defending claims for injury compensation brought by employees injured due to a forklift truck accident.

Forklift Truck Injury Claim ?  Call us now

If you’re thinking of making an injury claim following a forklift truck accident, get in touch with our specialist personal injury solicitors as soon as you can. Strict limits apply to every injury claim and if you delay too long, you could lose out to right to compensation entirely.

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