Lawford Kidd's Blog

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.

Mesothelioma Claims: Scottish Courts Take Different Approach Towards Fatal Awards

In the recent case of Joseph McCarn and Others v The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills [2014] CSOH 121, the Court of Session has provided guidance on fatal awards in Scotland.

The children of the late Mr McCarn, who died in 2009, aged 69, from mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure during the course of his employment in the shipbuilding industry raised a claim under section 4(3)(b) of the Damages (Scotland) Act 2011 - which allows for compensation to be awarded to relatives for loss of financial support, distress and anxiety, grief and sorrow, and loss of ‘society and guidance’.

In making the decision, Lord Bannatyne referred to the case of Hamilton v Ferguson Transport, but disagreed with the proposition made in that case that there must be a pattern in jury awards before a judge can attach weight them. Instead, Lord Bannatyne considered the unreported case of Kelly v UCS from 29 July 2012, a decision that was reached using a completely different approach to other recent cases.  

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Warning For Workers Being Exposed To Silica Dust

A new study conducted at the University of Stirling suggests that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is not doing enough to protect workers against harmful silica dust.

The study showed that silica dust, which can be created from use of stone, concrete, rock, plaster, brick, mortar and industrial sand is extremely harmful, with 1,000 workers being at risk of death from the dust every year.

Occupational cancer death is the main concern according to the University of Stirling’s Occupational and Environmental Health and Safety Research Group (OEHSRG), with this type of dust being the second major cause of cancer after asbestos. However, many other illnesses are associated with exposure and inhalation to crystalline silica, including silicosis, kidney disease, tuberculosis, arthritis and chronic pulmonary disease.  

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Fines after workers exposed to asbestos

An Ammanford-based knitwear company and a cladding firm site foreman have been fined for putting workers and visitors at risk of exposure to asbestos.

Corgi Hosiery Ltd contracted Dragon Cladding Ltd to remove an asbestos cement sheet roof at their New Road branch in Ammanford, Carmarthenshire

Having received a complaint about the work, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) visited the site and found roofers had removed the asbestos sheets from the roof, but they had also removed plaster-like material from the underside of the sheets and structural steelwork.

HSE inspectors stopped the work immediately and tests confirmed the plaster-like material contained asbestos.

On further investigation it was found that Dragon Cladding Ltd's site foreman had instructed two workers to use a hammer and chisel to remove the plaster-like material from the building steelwork.

Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court heard no effort was made to establish what this material was prior to work commencing, and the debris was swept into domestic black bin bags and placed in open skips.

Throughout the duration of the work, Corgi Hosiery employees had continuous access to the main building, with one worker based in the area throughout the works. Visitors to the premises were not excluded from the works area and were also potentially exposed to asbestos.

HSE inspector Anne Marie Orrells said:

"Nowadays, the risks of exposure to asbestos are well known so this serious incident was inexcusable.

"Had Mr Phillips adequately assessed the risks prior to the start of the work, it would have been apparent that the work should have been carried out by an asbestos-licensed contractor, under controlled conditions.

"Corgi Hosiery Limited should have ensured measures were taken to exclude employees and visitors from the area while the roof work was being carried out overhead. As a result of these failings both workers and visitors to their premises were exposed to potentially deadly asbestos-containing materials."

When asbestos fibres are inhaled they can cause serious diseases which are responsible for around 4,000 deaths a year.

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