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A new survey carried out by Fletchers Serious Injury has found that of 1,000 people asked, over 27% suffered a serious injury caused by a workplace accident. 

Over 19% of respondents said they would not pursue a claim if they suffered a serious injury, and one in eight respondents said they would be worried about backlash from an employer and damaged career prospects if they tried to claim for a workplace injury.

When queried over motives for not pursuing a claim following a workplace accident, 41% said they would not know how to go about taking legal action. This raises concerns that employers may not be making employees aware of their legal rights and a failure to ensure correct documents are in place, such as health and safety manuals and employee handbooks.

The survey also found differences between serious injury rates in age and sex. Men were revealed to be more likely to be at risk, 33% having suffered a serious injury compared to 18% of women. Also of younger workers between 18-44, 36% had reported a serious workplace injury compared to 13% of workers aged 45 and over. Of course, there are other factors that will play a part in these findings from worker knowledge and experience, job roles, etc. that will impact on the risk of serious injury to an individual.

Chief Legal Officer at Fletchers Serious Injury, Adrian Denson, commented: ''When a person suffers a serious injury at work, coping with the direct physical and psychological consequences is extremely difficult indeed. And as they focus on each small step along the long road to recovery, it can be easy for the person to put their legal rights to one side. The very thought of bringing a legal claim can be daunting with many people not really knowing where they would start.''

''Even more concerning is the substantial number of people that may be suffering in silence out of fear that seeking the help they need will affect their career further down the line, as well as their employer’s bottom line. This is a false, and damaging misconception – particularly when a serious injury can lead to a person being unable to return to work for a long time and often, when they do return, can still limit their ability to carry out their work without pain or worry.''

Between January and March 2020 over 40% of the UK's electricity was generated from renewable energy.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) released data which showed the largest increase in year on year quarterly generation, with renewable generation up 25% on last year for the same quarter.

This increase in generation can be attributed to a combination of both increased renewables capacity and favourable weather conditions.

Wind generation accounted for the majority of the share in renewable energy, with 32.4% offshore wind, up 53% on the previous year and 31.4% onshore wind, up 29% from last years first quarter. Some of this increase was due to an increase in capacity, with offshore wind experiencing a 19% capacity increase from 2019. Both offshore and onshore wind generation also had increased production due to high wind speeds, with February seeing some of the highest average wind speeds since 2000.

Bioenergy was responsible for over 25% of renewables capacity, followed by hydro at 6% and almost 5% from solar PV.

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) are urging people to act safely around railways after reporting showed a spike of incidents, both near-miss and trespass, on the railway.

Railway trespassing is illegal and highly dangerous and incidents can prove fatal. In just over a month between 23 March and 26 April Network Rail recorded 1,024 incidents involving disruption caused by trespassers, this equates to an average of 34 incidents every day, up 25% on the previous years' figures.

Many times it is believed that an error in judgement is the overriding factor in these cases but the ORR, Network Rail and the British Transport Police are working together to discourage people from taking risks around the railway. They want to educate the public and challenge anything that appears to condone unsafe behaviour around the railways.

The rail industry's safety campaign 'You Vs Train' continues to highlight the dangers of trespassing on railways. The campaign has proved successful, particularly with behaviour change in young people, which has been shown in declines in youth trespass incidents of up to 30% at previous high incident locations. However, their work continues to ensure everyone takes the dangers posed by railways seriously and acts in a responsible manner.

Head of public and passenger safety for Network Rail, Allan Spence, commented: ''As well as putting themselves at risk of serious harm, trespass directly affects passengers as many trains will be delayed. As train service levels increase and things start to return to a new normal, it is more important than ever for everyone to stay off the tracks and stay safe.''

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have prosecuted Cargilfield School in Scotland, following an incident where a pupil was injured by a band saw.

From 1 September 2015 to 2 November 2017 the schools' construction design and technology workshop had allowed pupils to make wooden boxes using a band saw. The band saw is classed as a dangerous machine and the pupil, in this case, sustained severe cuts to their middle and index figure, suffering severe tendon damage when using that machinery.

The HSE found that the school had failed to make a suitable and sufficient risk assessment for the use of the band saw and had also failed to adequately supervise pupils during its use. At the time of the incident, the pupil was using the band saw to make a freehand cut without adequate workpiece support and without adequate supervision.

HSE Inspector, Karen Moran, commented: ''A band saw is considered a dangerous machine when used by adults, let alone children. This significant and very serious injury could have been prevented had the risk been identified and properly managed. All schools should take steps to ensure the safety of their pupils and HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.''

Cargilfield School pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, and were fined £3,350.

Warwick District Council have been ordered to pay a local wildlife group £1000 after their decision to approve a planning application failed to properly consider the effect of the development on local wildlife.

In the mid-2000s residential plans for land next to the site in question were approved by the Secretary of State at the time, with the provision that a bat barn should be created as part of the development.

In 2017, plans for a housing development on fields next to this original site were granted planning permission, despite concerns raised by ecologists.

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman stated that planners failed to mention in their report that ecologists for the local authority had objected to the plans. The ecologists have calculated that the loss of biodiverse land due to the development equated to over £350,000.

Prior to work beginning on the site, the developer removed hedgerow and numerous trees that were important to bats at the site.

Chief Executive at the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, Nigel Ellis, commented: ''When considering planning applications for particularly sensitive sites such as these, it is all the more important that planners gain the necessary information and advice in a timely manner, to give the committees approving applications the best chance of making an appropriate decision. Evidence of at least three different species of bats have been found at the site, and a nearby major infrastructure project had to be relocated because a rare species was found. In this case, because the necessary surveys were not conducted at the right time, we can never be sure just what impact the development has had on the local bat population.''

The Council have already begun looking into using their own land to offset the loss of biodiversity from the land. They have identified some woodland which is managed by a local wildlife group which could be improved for bat habitat. As well as the £1000 fine the Council will also have to provide new hibernation boxes for bats.

On 24 March 2017, Mr Javeed Ghaffar, an employee at IFG Drake Ltd, was fatally crushed after he became entangled in a synthetic fibre manufacturing machine. He was removing a lap (when fibres stick to the rollers of the machine and begin to wrap around them) from the machine when he became entangled.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) discovered that the machine was not properly guarded and it had become practice for employees to reach around the inadequate guarding in order to deal with issues and remove a lap from the machine.

IFG Drake Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, and were fined £366,850, as well as costs of £23,993.

HSE Inspector John Boyle commented: ''This was a tragic and wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the company to provide adequate guarding against dangerous parts of the machine. Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.''


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