Work Place Accidents and UK labor LAWs

The Background
This case study highlights a case, focusing on a claim made by a worker to an employer, having an accident incurred due to un-safe working conditions at the production facility. This also shows the efficiency of the legal experts and UK LAW where protection to human lives at work place is extensively bonded under the law.

The Incident – PROBLEM
The plaintiff was aged 17, and was working in West Sussex in a timber yard as a laborer. He was supporting a colleague in the clean-up of a “chip silo”. This silo was used to mash pieces of wood into smaller chips for consequent dumping. The wood was broken down into chips by a rotating corkscrew-like blade at the base of the silo. At the same time as the plaintiff and his colleague were performing this work, the blade was continuing to rotate. His right leg became caught by the blade and he was then pulled over and ended up with his body and left arm twisted and crushed in the region of the blade.

The plaintiff was trapped for over an hour and continued to remain awake throughout. His left arm was severed below the elbow and he also suffered a closed brutal fracture to his left femur and a significant injury to his left knee. At the same time as attempts were made to save the left arm, it was surgically removed in hospital 18 days after the accident. The plaintiff also had to have a total left knee substitution operation.

The Legal Analysis
Given the plaintiff’s young age the legal experts in the case were asked to remark on how long the knee substitution would last. It was concluded that a knee substitution had a predictable life of between 10 to 20 years at which point the plaintiff would require a revision process. If a revision is not likely to possible, surgical removal of the organ would be obligatory. It was concluded that there would be a 20 / 30% chance of the revision surgery not going ahead in the future. Future losses were difficult to evaluate as the plaintiff was at the start of his career. He was working as a laborer but his purpose had been to apply to the Navy at the age of 18. If the plaintiff were to have a surgical removal on his left leg in the future, bearing in mind the loss of his arm, his mobility and broad level of disability would be critically compromised. The plaintiff would not be able to use crutches and would no doubt find it very difficult to handle two prostheses, one on the upper limb and one on the lower limb. It was clear that, should an above knee surgical removal turn out to be necessary, the impact upon the plaintiff’s life would be very serious indeed.

The Solution
An application was therefore made to the court to include a claim for provisional damages. A claim was made for lost income of over £500,000, and the claim for surgical removal and orthopedic treatment also exceeded £500,000. Transport costs were evaluated at £78,000 with equipment and care amounting to over £150,000. The trial was then started, and the parties attended all the sessions, a legal settlement was agreed at £1,340,000 plus the payment of legal costs, which thus went into the favor of the plaintiff.

Accidents can or may happen at work, and special care must be made to those areas of production where risk to human lives is to a greater extent. All the developed nations of the world have laws binding precautions at work place and is been constantly compliance by the related labor departments. What improvements are suggested to current legislation?

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This indeed is very relevant in Pakistan with our heavy industries and manufacturing industries. Almost all companies have accident insurance. The case-study should also state the full details of the current laws in Pakistan.


One Response

  1. Dr. Samia Khan Karachi referring to a recent Pakistan Railways advertisement appearing in the national press reading “Massage of public interest” instead of “message of public interest”, wonders if it was a proof read-reading mistake or in fact the Pakistan Railways was oficially offering “massage” service. I am sure this was not any proof reading mistake as many of our government organizations today are trying to expand their wings in different directions. For example Pakistan Railways recently showed its intent to build and run big hotels as if its own dinning car system has all been put at par excellence. The Karachi City Local Government has not turned any stone unturned in turning the Karachi into another Hong King but in that the real Karachi where people used to shop even midnight, where whole night traffic remained, is in memories only. People like highly learned Dr. Samia should not waste time and energy wondering on worthless things like importance of any proof reading reason being today we have 12 billion foreign exchange and stand in the list of top honored nations. As such none of us should even think of that anything written or drafted by our today’s functionaries appointed on high transparent merits nothing else than democratic merit would need any proof reading. If Dr. Saima or myself find “Massage” instead of “message” we should cast doubt on our own knowledge and ability. The proof reading was the practice of fool elders like me when we worked with manual Brother or Trumph 20-30 years old typewriters and were appointed on safarish. Today’s people work on computers and are recruited on pure and transparent merit hence their ability is above proof reading. The above reference by Dr. Samia is just from an advertisement. Two years back I filed a formal complaint with the Federal Ombudsman that one of senior official in his secretariat had got printed his D.O official letter head with wrong contact details which was a too serious matter as a wrong contact detail means definitely evaporating in thin air a communication which was too important in a justice delivering system. An incorrect contact results in defective service of notice/communication which can deprive a person form his due right. I prayed that since official letter heads are printed on expense of national exchequer to which every one of us contributes hence getting the letter head printed without “proof reading” is an act of mal administration. As such I prayed the whole cost of printing be recovered from the one who gave approval for final print. As is usual with us, since it was a matter of home accountability, my formal complaint was not entertained. However I got a short two line response that it was an error which is regretted. The nations standing on top of honoured nations, having 12 billion reserves and having inducted more than required doze of good governance do not require any proof readings as every one is sitting on the chair appointed with due merit today. Just today this 14 August 2009 the morning of the day when our nation was born, still the honourable sindh ombudsman website of course constructed on huge expense of we the nation is showing his address as Benevolent Fund Building, Zero Point Islamabad instead of Karachi where it practically is – reason being as it appears that the text was copied from somewhere (probably from Federal Ombudsman website) and pasted it as it is without caring to read and amend the entries which do not relate to them. Why should had anyone cared to proof read that from the copied material that things like mailing address, fax number and email numbers relating to others from copy paste are deleted and own inserted [See attached scanned print out taken today 14 August 2009].

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