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Dallas McMillan's Glasgow Lawyers' Blog

Contact us today for legal advice from our expert lawyers.

Road casualties lowest ever recorded

The lowest ever recorded figures for road casualties in Scotland have been published, according to Minister for Transport Keith Brown.

The latest figures for 2011 show road casualties are 4% lower than in 2010, and include an 11% drop in fatalities over the same period.

Mr Brown said:

“We in the Scottish Government are very aware of the tragic and personal cost of every fatality on our roads.  I am therefore encouraged by the very latest data which shows total reported road casualties are now at their lowest level since records began. The number of casualties last year dropped by 575 - a fall of 4% on 2010 figures. There has also been a drop of 5% on those seriously injured and a further reduction of 11% on fatalities.

“My deepest sympathies are of course with all of those who have been affected by incidents on our roads and we accept one death is simply one too many. That is why we are doing everything we can to reduce the numbers of casualties further.”

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Government must act over new workplace cancer study

The TUC has called for urgent action from the government to deal with the huge death toll from work-related cancer as research is published in the British Journal of Cancer Supplement into the incidence of cancers caused by work.

The study was was funded by the Health and Safety Executive, and found that every year around 8,000 cancer deaths in Britain each year are linked to occupations which equates to around 5% of all cancer deaths in Britain.

Researchers used a list of work-related cancer causing substances identified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer to calculate the impact of work on cancer cases and deaths, and discovered around 13,600 new cancer cases are caused by risk factors related to work each year.

After asbestos, the main work-related risk factors were night shift-work - linked to around 1,960 female breast cancer cases, mineral oil from metal and printing industries - linked to around 1730 cases of bladder, lung and non-melanoma skin cancers, sun exposure - linked to around 1540 skin cancer cases, silica exposure - linked to 910 cancer cases and diesel engine exhaust - linked to 800 cases.

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Timber repair firm responsible for spread of asbestos fibres

Potentially deadly asbestos fibres were spread in part of a shop by unqualified workmen and left on the premises for three weeks.

In a prosecution by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Cardiff Magistrates heard that the company, which specialises in damp and timber repairs, committed four offences and was fined a total of £18,000 and ordered to pay £5,314 in costs.

The company was contracted to carry out the work in an antiques shop in the Vale of Glamorgan. Employees were sent to work on the site to survey and strip out parts of the building affected by damp and wood rot, without checking for the presence of asbestos.

None of the workers had received sufficient information, instruction or training in asbestos awareness or removal and the company did not have a license to remove or handle asbestos containing materials.

Asbestos insulation boards were removed in a back room by one of the workers and the ceiling was demolished. The uncontrolled removal of the asbestos boards and demolition work caused the disturbance and spread of potentially deadly asbestos fibres.

Instead of arranging for the proper disposal of the asbestos, the dust was swept into rubble bags and dumped in a skip lorry, along with the asbestos insulation boards. The asbestos material was immediately identified at the waste transfer site and were collected by the company and left in the backyard of the shop.

The owners of the building contacted the HSE and then arranged for a licensed removal company to undertake a full environmental clean of the building.

HSE Inspector, Steve Richardson, speaking after the case, said: "This incident was entirely preventable and would not have happened if the company had provided adequate information, instruction and training to its staff.

"The company had no procedures to check for the presence of asbestos and as a result, has put the health of its workers and the shopowners at risk of potentially fatal asbestos-related lung diseases."

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Damages awarded for golfing eye injury

A golfer has been awarded just under £400,000 in damages after he lost an eye in an accident on a golf course in West Lothian, reports the BBC.

The 44-year-old had been walking from one hole to the next when he was hit on the head by a ball struck by a golfer on the 18th tee. The impact caused so much damage that he now wears a prosthetic eye.

Anthony Phee sued both the golfer responsible for hitting the ball and Niddry Castle golf club for damages. The defendants had claimed contributory negligence, saying that Mr Phee looked up when he heard the shout of 'fore', however the judge rejected this and instead accepted evidence that Mr Phee had tried to shield his head. He ruled that the golfer hitting the ball was 70% liable for the accident, and the golf club 30% liable.

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