Compensation Claim Reduced in Milk Tanker Accident as Motorcyclist Found Partly Liable

The settlement to be awarded to a young motorcyclist as the result of an accident with a milk tanker has been reduced as the he was ruled partly liable for the injury.

Adam Wagner (23) was riding his motorcycle along the B7076 Gretna to Johnstonebridge Road at night in August 2009. On his journey, he noticed lights of a vehicle that he presumed was approaching him on the road. Adam dipped his headlights as a result, and continued driving at a speed of around 50 miles per hour.

However, as Adam approached the lights, he realised that they were not coming from an approaching vehicle at all. The source was an articulated milk tanker that was reversing into a nearby farm, and blocking both carriageways of the road in the process. Adam attempted to avoid the vehicle, but while swerving, hit the offside wheel of the tanker’s trailer. Adam was brought to hospital, where he remained unconscious for two days. When he awoke, he found that his left leg had been amputated below the knee.

After seeking legal advice, Adam made a compensation claim for the injury caused by the milk tanker accident against the driver of the tanker-Thomas Grant-and the company who owned the truck, Arla Foods UK PLC. Adam alleged that there was a lack of lighting on the side of the trailer, and this it was difficult to see that it was blocking the carriageway. Alastair Pasco, Adam’s uncle, supported such a claim, as he had been following Adam home on the night of the accident.

The defendants denied liability for Adam’s accident, claiming that the tanker was indeed adequately lit, and warning hazard lights were clearly displayed to other road users. They further stated that the reversing milk tanker would have been clearly visible to anyone who was paying attention while driving.

Liability for the injuries was initially denied, and after three years of long negotiations, Thomas Grant’s insurers offered £9,000 to Adam so that he could make appropriate renovations to his house in light of his injury. Despite receiving recommendations from his solicitors to accept the claim, Adam rejected it, stating that he wanted a full settlement. As a result, his solicitors refused to represent him further with the case.

After finding new legal representatives, Adam and his solicitor took the milk tanker accident to the Court of Session. Lord Uist heard their claim that Thomas Grant should not have performed the reversing manoeuvre without appropriate lighting on the vehicle, and that Arla Foods should have carried out risk assessment procedures before collecting milk from the farm at night.

When the hearing ended, Lord Uist agreed that the reversing manoeuvre was “inherently dangerous”, but he did believe that the vehicle had been adequately lit. He further stated that it was significant that neither Adam nor his uncle-who was an experienced motorcyclist of over 20 years-failed to see the tanker blocking the westbound carriageway.

60% of the liability was attributed to Arla Foods and Thomas Grant, and the remaining was to Adam. The compensation claim was reduced from £568,926 to £341,356 accordingly.

How do you get Dioxin Poisoning at work?

One of the many dangers that can happen inside the workplace is dioxin poisoning. Dioxin is the term used to describe a group of various chemicals which have similar biological characteristics. There are over a hundred types of such chemicals in existence and they can be categorized according to group. There are the chlorinated dibenzofurans or the CDFs, the polychlorinated iphenyls or PCBs and the Chlorinated dibenzo dioxins or CDDs. The CDDs and the CDFs are manufactured in industrial company and they are often used for bleaching purposes, especially in drinking water plants and paper mills. CDDs and the other chemicals can be produced during the manufacture of other types of chemicals, such as cleansing compounds or pesticides. Burning materials like oil, coal or wood burned in incinerators can also create dioxins.

In terms of PCBs, they are created through lubricants and coolants. When such chemicals are added in mining machinery or heating equipment, they will be exhausted as dioxin. In terms of natural occurrences, dioxin is created from volcanic eruption or forest fire.

When does Dioxin Poisoning occur in the workplace?

Dioxin poisoning occurs when an employee breathes contaminated materials, like dust, and then ingests it to their system. Poisoning can also occur when a person comes into skin contact with a dangerous chemical. In most companies, they create chemicals, like pesticides, which can be dangerous to employees. Workers in recycling areas are also exposed to other chemicals like copper and aluminum. Such materials have small remains which can be accidentally inhaled by the workers. Workers can also be injured because of the small particles and the injuries can cause poisoning.

In extreme jobs, dioxin poisoning can also occur. For instance, fire fighters are often exposed to dioxin when they are extinguishing fires. That is why firefighters are required to wear oxygen masks while in serious situations. Employees are also required to use protective clothing especially when handling chemicals and wastes. If there are dioxins found in the workplace, like in landsite or in water areas, then it is important to stay away from such areas. Employees are often protected by dioxin poisoning insurance and compensation claim once they are exposed to such dangers.

Symptoms of Dioxin Poisoning

Symptoms of dioxin exposure include vomiting, nausea and abdominal pains. In a couple of hours, prolonged exposure will result to a skin condition known as chloracne. This skin disease is characterized as skin lesions, discolorations and rashes in the body. There will also be hormonal and metabolic changes which can result to kidney failure. In certain studies, dioxin is found to be a causative agent of cancer and male infertility. This is because dioxin can be inside the body for a long time and this prolonged exposure can have significant effects in a person’s health. Tests are needed in order to check if the person is affected by dioxin and as to what level the poisoning is. The tests are based on blood checks and employee history. If exposed to dioxin, seek medical attention immediately.

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Teagasc Urges Farmers to Focus on Safety

Teagasc has urged farmers to focus on safety after safety figures released show that there has been a 35 per cent increase in injuries on farms since 2006.

In 2010 almost 2,500 injuries were reported in comparison to 1,800 in 2006. The highest amount if injuries were for trips, falls and blows (42 per cent) while livestock-related injuries accounted for 33 per cent.

Teagasc health and safety officer John McNamara said that an increase in workload and poor organisation now means that farmers often overlook safety in their rush to complete work. Pat Griffin senior inspector with the Health and Safety Authority said that there will be higher accident rates when farmers grow in size if nothing is done to improve safety.

Warning Issued after Death of Boy on Farm

Farmers and the public have been warned by the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) to be vigilant during current seasonal farm work involving heavy machinery and farm vehicles.

The warning follows the death of an 11-year-old Alan Quirke who was struck by a trailer in a farm accident at Brensha, three miles from Tipperary town.

The chairman of the ICMSA’s rural development committee, Willie O’Donoghue, released a general safety message urging rural dwellers to be careful during silage season, he said ‘We would appeal to all other road users – and most particularly, visitors to farming areas – to be aware of the dangers of increased agricultural traffic on rural roads and the need to slow down.’

Lyme Disease on Farms in Ireland

Lyme disease also known as Lyme borreliosis is a contagious disorder brought about by various species of bacteria. This is a common disease spread about by ticks from the Genus Borrelia species of bacteria that infect human beings by a bite.

The characteristics of this disease are: fever, head pains, tiredness, dejection and skin irritations known as erythema migrans. These may not be fatal but if left unattended might cause a breakdown in the central nervous system and the heart and joints may also be affected. In the early detection of the illness antibiotics may prove to be useful in eliminating the symptoms and treating the disease but if left untreated for a long period of time the illness can be debilitating and treatment may took a long time.

The early symptom is a round spread out of skin irritations that happens days after the tick bite. The skin irritation is reddish and warm to the touch but may not be accompanied by pain. The sufferer may also experience a bout of flu-like signs including fever, headache, fatigue and muscle ache. However, even if this symptom does not show up it is not a guarantee that the patient is free from the disease.

The bacteria-causing this disease may very well be present anywhere at home or even in the working place. So a worker must be alert to avoid bites from these hard ticks. Protective outfits and gears in the work area are highly suggested to keep away hard ticks. Pertmethrin spray can also help in the elimination of these ticks. People who are fond of domesticated animals like dogs and cats should make sure that their pets are not infected with these hard ticks to avoid infection.

As much as possible try to avoid tick-infected areas to avoid Lyme Disease. Monitor your pets to safeguard them against the attack of ticks. Maintain the cleanliness of your homes as well as your working area to get rid of tick infestations. This disease may not be as serious as it seems but the discomfort it would bring especially when you want to scratch the affected area may not be good for you. You might just be spreading the infection with your hands.

This disease can be a little uncomfortable especially when one is in the working place. Upon the detection of the disease a worker may fill up the work accident book provided by the company. This work accident book contains the history of the disease while at the working area. The company can use this to assess the damage to the employee and to make precautionary measures to prevent the widespread of the disease. Every company is required by the law to keep this work accident book for the employer and employee benefit.

Lyme Disease is a skin irritation that needs special care and cleanliness, Make sure that you get proper medication for the itch and prevent it from spreading out. You might mistake it for flu at first but when the skin patches appear, it is a sign of the disease. You will of course still need to visit medical professionals to be completely sure.

HSA Investigate Death of Boy in Farming Accident

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) and Garda have begun separate investigations into the death of a boy in a farming accident in west Cork.

14-year-old Ciaran Casey from Collatrum, Church Cross, near Skibbereen is believed to have been killed when he became trapped between a digger and a wall while bringing cows into a shed.

HSA inspectors are on site and have begun their investigations into the accident.

Claim of Mullingar Woman Who Lost An Eye Put on Hold

The claim of a woman from Mullingar, Co Westmeath who pursued a compensation after losing an eye at her partner’s parents’ farmhouse has had her claim put on hold. Elaine Newman, who lost her eye after a number of shards of glass entered it after a window shattered, made her claim under the Occupier’s Liability Act.

After hearing how Elaine’s self-esteem had been crushed by the accident, Mr Justice Iarflaith O’Neill decided to put the claim on hold. A report commissioned into the accident found that although the glass may have been faulty, that there is no requirement which obliges farmhouse owners to fit safety glass in the type of window which was involved in Elaine’s accident.

Conference Hears of Farm Accident Dangers

An international conference on farm safety organised by the Health and Safety Authority, the Farm Safety Partnership Advisory Committee and Teagasc has heard how the number of fatal farm accidents in Ireland is set to rise again this year, eclipsing the 20-year high last year.

“People working on farms need to be more conscious of safety requirements, in particular since in many instances they are working on their own. A significant change in mindset is required if we are to prevent further serious farm accidents,” commented Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney, who was serving as key speaker at the event.

“By continuously talking about and being aware of farm safety we can together bring about a change of culture and farmer thinking,” he continued.

The conference drew attendees from The US, UK, Norway, Denmark and Italy.

Kansas Man Awarded $1.6m for Loss of Leg

A man from Wilson County, Kansas has been awarded $1.6m in product liability compensation after he lost his leg when it became trapped in a grain bin. Sam Rollings pursued a claim for compensation against Ken Babcock Sales Inc, the designer of the grain bin, and his employer, the Fredonia Cooperative Association of Fredonia, Kansas.

The accident occurred in January 2007 when Rollings slipped and his right foot became entangled in the drag chain of the grain bin conveyor system. He suffered such severe injuries to his right foot and lower leg that surgeons could not save it.

It took a jury seven hours of deliberation to decide to award compensation to Rollings.

Cavan Cattle Drover to Receive Compensation for Bull Kick

Patrick Lynch of Crubany, Co Cavan is to receive damages from his employer after the cattle drover was kicked by a bullock. Lynch, who was one of three cattle drovers employed by Cavan Co-op Mart in October 2003 to escort cattle to a sales ring, had to do perform the job of all three men on the day which he was injured, as the other two had called in sick.

Lynch, who was kicked in the groin, suffered trauma to one of his testis, and was taken to Cavan General Hospital for treatment.

The case is now to be referred to the High Court for an assessment of personal injury damages.

Laois Teenager Awarded Compensation for Lost Eye

A teenager whose eye was impaled on an expose milking machine hook has been awarded €110,000 in compensation by a judge at the High Court. David Booth, now 17, was only eight years old when the accident happened on his family’s farm in April 2002. Booth, from Stradbally in Co Laois, pursued a claim for compensation against Senior Milking Machine Company Ltd and Stradbally Farm Services, which it was claimed were negligent on the grounds that the milking machine had been built to a safe enough standard.

David had no recollection of the events leading up to the accident.

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Irish Farm Deaths Rose by 127% in 2010

The number of deaths on Irish farms rose by 127% in 2010, a report released by the Health and Safety Authority has revealed. The 25 deaths on farms which occurred last year is up from 11 the year before, and represents over 50% of all workplace fatalities in Ireland in 2010.

“Farming is a difficult and challenging occupation, many involved are self-employed and the pressures that farmers are under can be intense at times,” commented Martin O’Halloran, chief executive of the HSA.

“However the fact is that the types of farm accidents that are causing deaths and serious accidents, such as those involving machinery and livestock, can be prevented.”


HSA Launches New Farming Guidelines

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has launched a new set of farming guidelines which it hopes will help to lower the amount of accidents on Irish farms, the most dangerous workplaces in the country.

The HSA wants to help farmers to identify risks and hazards on their farms, including the risks posed by farm animals, which unknown to most, are one of the primary causes of accidents on farms in Ireland.

The initiative has been undertaken with the support of farming organisations and contains guidelines on how to use tractors, how to take care around livestock and how to cope with the presence of overhead powerlines.

Waterford Teen Awarded €1.28m

A teenager from Co Waterford has been awarded €1.28m for a personal injury on a farm by a judge at the High Court. Mr Justice John Quirke awarded the sum to TJ Kearns, for an accident in which he lost his leg in April 2001.

Kearns was nine years old when his accident occurred, during which his leg became entangled in a power seed sowing machine. Kearns was in a tractor pulling a piece of machinery at the time.

The defendants, John Joe Flynn, Eugene Flynn and Gerald Flynn of Dunmore East, Co Waterford, admitted liability.

TJ’s claim was made though his father, Tom Kearns.

California Workers’ Compensation Institute Reports $1.46bn Loss

California Workers’ Compensation Institute has released figures which show that the compensation system for Californian workers was down $1.46bn, which equates to 5.5% of Californian Workers’ Compensation claims.

Minor wounds, back problems, arm, shoulder and knee damage were among the most commonly claimed for injuries.

In Ireland, nearly half of accidents on farms involve tractors and other machinery (49%), livestock accounts for 15%, and falls from height and drowning both represent 12% of all claims made. Unfortunately, the Injuries Board Ireland does not provide any information on farm accident claims in the same way as is done in the United States.