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Lawford Kidd's injury solicitors' blog designed to cover all areas of the law relating to accident compensation claims, injury claims and no win no fee in Scotland.

HSE Targets Farms with Safety Initiative

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has launched a new inspection initiative targeting the agricultural sector, and potato farmers in particular, to remind them of the importance of managing risks to workers during the potato harvest.

HSE inspectors will be visiting farms across the country that grow, pick and process potatoes over the next few months to ensure risks during the harvesting season are being controlled and measures are in place to protect farmers and their workers.
 
The initiative announcement comes after the latest HSE statistics show that there have been 30 deaths on farms in Great Britain over the last 12 months. Incidents during potato harvesting season remain a common cause of serious and fatal injury and recurring causes include entanglement with dangerous parts of machines, being struck or run over by vehicles and falls from height.
 
Throughout the inspection initiative, inspectors will be checking:
 
  • Haulm and clod rollers are properly guarded;
  • PTO guards are in good condition;
  • Harvester operators have been trained;
  • All drivers follow Safe Stop;
  • Work equipment is adequately maintained;
  • Moving vehicles are segregated from pedestrians; and
  • Risks or falls from trailers and in potato stores are managed.
 
“The risks during potato harvesting are well-known but the precautions are straightforward,” explained HSE’s head of agriculture, Rick Brunt. “Farmers and their employees need to work together to make sure equipment is safe and work is well-planned. This inspection initiative is about ensuring those participating in any harvesting activity remain safe and go home from their work healthy.”
 

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Campaigns to Improve Road Safety

The issue of road safety has been very much in the spotlight recently, with a number of organisations highlighting the steps that drivers can take to reduce the likelihood of accident and injury.

 

Drivers Warned of the Dangers of Tailgating

Earlier this month, the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) held its annual Injury Prevention Day, which this year targeted motorists who drive too close to the car in front. Through its campaign, APIL is calling for drivers to “back off” and end the needless collisions caused by tailgating. 
 
“Some injuries and subsequent insurance claims could easily be avoided if drivers backed off and left a bit more room,” explained Brett Dixon, president of APIL. “Driving too close, or ‘tailgating’, is a bad habit of which many drivers are guilty. It is incredibly dangerous, as well as anti-social, and can be really intimidating for other drivers.”
 
“When in traffic drivers are advised to leave enough space so that they can see the tarmac between their car and the car in front,” he added. “In the UK we have 50 per cent more traffic per kilometre than the European average - this, coupled with bad driving habits could cause needless collisions, injuries which should have been avoided and claims on your insurance.”
 

Seat Belt Campaign Seen as Successful

Motoring organisation the AA also recently looked at the issue of road safety, and conducted research into the effectiveness of national safety campaigns aimed at reducing accidents and injuries.
 
Its survey revealed that campaigns targeting the use of seat belts have had the biggest impact on road safety, according to 35% of drivers questioned.
 
This was followed closely by drink driving campaigns (mentioned by 32% of respondents) and campaigns focusing on mobile phone use while driving (15%).
 
Interestingly, the AA found that perceptions of campaign effectiveness varied by age. Around 39% of older drivers saw the seat belt campaign as the most effective, while 32% of drivers in the 18-24 age-group thought mobile phone campaigns topped the list.
 
However, despite the perceived success of the seat belt and other safety campaigns, the latest figures suggest that not every driver is getting the message about these simple but important safety measures.
 
The AA quotes figures from the Home Office, which show that in 2015 around 20,000 drivers received Fixed Penalty Notices for not wearing a seat belt. A further 17,000 were penalised after being caught using their mobile phone behind the wheel.
 

Campaigns Need Legislative Support

“Half the battle with any road safety campaign is making it memorable, and the clunk click every trip strap line certainly did that,” commented Edmund King, AA president. “But effective safety campaigns also need good legislation, like mandatory seat belts, and police enforcement. Campaigns don’t change attitudes overnight so need to be repeated and refreshed.”
 
“However, complacency is not an option, and it seems a small number of drivers still haven’t got the message about the advantages of wearing a belt,” he added. “As new vehicle technology emerges, and the long term vision of driverless cars comes ever closer, it will be interesting to see what becomes the next road safety campaign for drivers.”
 

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Calls for Tougher Laws on Enforced High Heel Wear

New research has highlighted the need for more action to prevent women feeling forced to wear high heels.

 
The review by researchers at the University of Aberdeen examined research into the physical damage wearing high heels can cause as well as the social and cultural aspects surrounding their wear.
 
Unsurprisingly, a wealth of studies demonstrated wearing high heels increases the risk of developing musculoskeletal conditions from the spine to the toes and also increases the chance of injury.
 
The study mentions a recent policy controversy regarding whether or not employers are legally allowed to stipulate that female staff wear high heels at work. The authors draw a distinction between the UK, where the Government has pledged to develop guidelines and raise awareness that female workers should not be forced to wear high heels without introducing new legislation, and the Canadian province of British Columbia which has amended legislation to specifically prohibit employers from requiring staff to wear high heels.
 
The review found large amounts of studies showed a link between wearing high heels and an increased risk of bunions, musculoskeletal pain and personal injury. However, it found a lack of clear evidence of an association between high heel wear and osteoarthritis – something that has been taken as a matter of fact by some.
 
The researchers have suggested that more research is done into the issue of second party injury (high heels injuring people other than the wearer), as work in this area has shown stiletto high heels can cause serious injury to others but not how common such injuries are.
 

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Workers Sustain Serious Hand Injuries

Injuries to the hand occur all too frequently in the workplace, especially where the work conducted is physical in nature. Unfortunately, many of these injuries could be prevented if only employers put the necessary precautions in place.
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Latest Workplace Fatality Figures

Details of work-related fatalities that occurred in 2016/17 have been published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

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