Managing director of a Black Country alcohol factory has apologised for an accident which involved the factory bursting into flames, damaging homes and cars and subsequently forcing residents to flee for their lives.
This is the first time Alcohol Ltd’s Adam Wallis has spoken since the fire spread from the Crosswells Road factory on Monday and caused much destruction to people’s private properties in the surrounding area. One of the factory’s fifteen workers is being treated at Queen Elizabeth Hospital after suffering burns from being caught in the blaze.
Sixteen homes were destroyed by the fire; those affected have are living at a nearby hotel while their houses are being worked on. Mr Wallis spoke with nearby residents about the events of the fire.
On the matter he said –
“We are extremely sorry for the accident. But we have to work with the council, HSE and fire service to help them with the investigation, before we can comment further.”
He added: “We are working with the council on the clean-up. We want those who have been displaced to get back to their homes, in the safe and warm.”
Mr Wallis stated that the fire had begun in the factory’s living area, but could not say what happened after that –
“During the fire, we were at the site giving the fire service the professional guidance about the chemicals on site, to help them put out the fire.”
Mr Wallis has stressed that the fire alarms were activated when the fire began and that all the relevant health and safety measures were in place –
“We are taking the lead from the health and safety executive at the moment.”
40-Year-old Graham Vincent from died suddenly three weeks after being injured at work. Mr Vincent worked for South West Highways near Exeter. It is believed that the accident occurred when Mr Vincent had been working with a strimmer on a roadside border. He received medical treatment at the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital. The father of three had been at his home in Kentisbeare allowing himself time to recover from the accident when he suddenly died on Saturday, November 24.
A South West Highways spokesman has stated that theMr Vincent had been a friendly man and his death has saddened staff after having spent seven years at the company. He extended his condolences to Mr Vincent’s family. He then stated –
“SWH wishes to maintain an atmosphere of complete respect at this sad time and will not be making further comment to the press.”
The Health and Safety Executive has been informed about the incident and a spokesman stated –
“We are aware of the incident which was reported to us. We will be looking to decide whether it is suitable for investigation.”
Julie Anne Huddart, a 49 year old teaching assistant from Chorley, Lancashire, has been awarded £800,000 compensation after tripping and dislocating a finger at work. Ms Huddart’s accident occurred in 2003 when she was trying to move an empty wheelchair and she subsequently tripped over the waist strap.
The incident caused Ms Huddart to dislocate a finger and injure her elbow. Since then she has been diagnosed with ‘reflex sympathetic dystrophy’ which is a nervous system impairment that causes pain and swelling.
According to Ms Huddart’s solicitor, ever since the incident occurred and she has developed this condition she has been in continuous pain and the left side of her body’s movement has been restricted. She has been left dependent on the continual care of her husband.
Ms Huddart’s claim against her local authority for compensation took nine years to settle. Lancashire County Council then finally agreed this year, in an out of court settlement, to provide Ms Huddart with £800,000 in damages and £140,000 in legal costs. Lancashire County Council has stated that the maximum amount that they have had to provide is £100,000 and the rest of Ms Huddart’s settlement has been covered by the liability insurance of her employer.
Linda Mitchell, a 59 hospital worker who sustained injury in her neck and shoulders when pulling curtains around a patient’s bed at Belford Hospital, Fort William, has been awarded £50,000 in compensation. This compensation was provided following the accident which had subsequently rendered her unable to return to employment for the past four years. Ms Mitchell has stated that her injury was avoidable and would not have occurred if the hospital had acted on previous complaints made by herself and her fellow colleagues.
The health board of the hospital did not accept liability and claimed that no defects were present when they inspected the curtains. Nevertheless, the health board offered Ms Mitchell £25,000 compensation after the incident. However, this was rejected and then doubled following civil action. After her compensation was awarded, Ms Mitchell had this to say on the matter –
‘My case was dealt with quickly and easily and I was very happy with the outcome. If previous complaints about the faulty curtains hadn’t been ignored my accident could have been avoided.’
Ms Mitchell was busy at work in Belhaven Ward, ward two of the hospital when her accident from pulling the curtains occurred. The curtains were obstructed by a table with a television on top of it, so it was necessary for her to lean across it to pull the curtains. Unfortunately, her neck and shoulders were wrenched when the heavy-lined curtains jammed.
A spokeswoman for Ms Mitchell’s law firm said –
‘A number of her colleagues have confirmed that there were problems with the curtains prior to Linda’s accident. A staff nurse had advised that she had previously complained about the difficulty with the curtains and another nurse who advised that she had reported problems with the curtains.’
Mary Scanlon, Highland and Islands MSP said:
‘I hope it will be a lesson to NHS Highland to pay closer attention to complaints and health and safety issues.’