Solicitors in Essex

Ms RP – Rayleigh

Company fined after worker loses his arm in conveyor belt accident

Company fined after worker loses his arm in conveyor belt accident

A waste recycling plant has been fined by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an employee lost part of his arm as a result of a conveyor belt accident.

Lincoln Crown Court heard how on 26 April 2015 an employee of Mid-UK Recycling Ltd was working as a line operator in the Material Recovery Facility building. Earlier that morning blockages had occurred on the line resulting in waste becoming wrapped around the axle stopping a lower conveyor.

Whilst removing the waste from the axle the employee’s glove got dragged into the in-running nip between the belt and the conveyor’s powered roller. This resulted in his left arm needing to be amputated above the elbow.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found that the company had failed to prevent access to dangerous parts of the conveyor. They also discovered that the castell key system had essentially been bypassed allowing the system to be operated in automatic mode with persons still inside the enclosure.

Lincolnshire based Mid UK Recycling Limited pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act. The company was fined £1.275 million and ordered to pay costs of £45,065.

Jeremy Sirrell, a Partner at Palmers and Health and Safety expert said: “The failure of this company to put in place adequate measures to protect employees using dangerous equipment has resulted in not only a terrible injury to a worker but a huge fine potentially  threatening the stability of the firm concerned.

“Contact our expert team today for an in-depth discussion on how you can improve your workplace health & safety.”

For help and advice on all aspects of health and safety law including putting in place strategies to protect your workforce, please contact us today.

Official statistics reveal a significant increase in cohabiting couples

Official statistics reveal a significant increase in cohabiting couples

New figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have shown that cohabitation is the UK’s fastest-growing family type, with the number of unmarried couples who live together, have increased by more than a quarter in the last 10 years.

This means that the number of couples forming cohabiting relationships is now greater than the number of couples getting married.

In total, there are now 3.4 million cohabiting families in the UK, up from 2.7 million in 2008.

However, while the number of cohabiting couples has grown rapidly, the law has not kept pace with the change and cohabiting couples are at a major disadvantage in comparison to their married counterparts in several areas.

This includes the lack of provision for an equitable division of property on the breakdown of the relationship and disadvantages in regards to inheritance and bereavement benefits.

The myth of ‘common law marriage’ is widely blamed for cohabiting couples being unaware of the legal disadvantage they are at, with many believing that they automatically acquire equivalent rights to those enjoyed by married couples. Research has shown that 46 per cent of people in England and Wales believe that ‘common law marriage’ exists.

Surjit Verdi, a Partner and head of Palmers’ Family Law team, said: “Anyone who lives together, without marrying or entering into a Civil Partnership Agreement, is a ‘cohabitee’ and the law is the same, regardless of whether you have lived together for two months or 20 years.

“Putting in place a cohabitation agreement can give both parties some certainty in the event that one party dies or the relationship breaks down.

“However, a cohabitation agreement should not be relied on alone. It is particularly important that cohabiting couples have Wills in place as the rules of intestacy, which dictate the distribution of an estate where no Will has been made, do not take cohabitation into account.

“Where no Will has been made, the surviving partner can find themselves embroiled in time-consuming and costly legal processes, or even end up receiving nothing from the estate.”

To find out more about cohabitation agreements, please contact us.