What We Do
Accidents and Personal Injury
Manual handling, slips, trips and falls, fork lift trucks, circular saws, rotating machinery, fires and explosions, demolition, scaffolding, ladders and working at heights, carbon monoxide poisoning.
From abattoirs to vehicles and aircraft wings – the locations and causes of accidents are enormously varied. We have investigated injuries from a cement mixer, plastic moulding machine, incinerator refractory collapse, a lorry mounted crane and an arcade game – and many others.
Cadogans’ staff have been appointed as forensic engineers and expert witnesses in personal injury cases for many years. These cases have been for both pursuing and defending parties and have covered Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The cases involve health & safety issues as well as engineering questions.
In many cases the instructing party has been a firm of solicitors but appointments have been held for insurance companies and private clients.
Moving wheelie bins, pulling a lawn-mower up steps, shifting manure, assisting patients out of vehicles – you can injure yourself undertaking a myriad of activities. The Health and Safety at Work Act and the Manual Handling Regulations provide the touchstone but other regulations may be relevant in particular cases.
Slips, trips and falls
Supermarket car parks, hospital carpets, kitchens, banana skins, uneven pavements – where will you find your next hazard? Who is responsible for the surface – did they take reasonable care to maintain it? Was the surface sufficiently rough for its intended use? Was the employee wearing the right shoes? These are typical questions to be investigated.
Fork lift trucks and other handling devices
A truck fell over while cornering – was it being driven too fast? Were the forks of a truck a suitable location for a cutting operation? Someone’s foot was wedged between a power pallet truck and a wall – were the controls faulty?
Scaffolding, ladders and working at heights
In many cases we are asked to assess whether equipment was suitable for use under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER). This may involve comparison with the approved codes of practice and guidelines for particular types of equipment. We have considered cases of people being killed or injured by falls from various types of scaffolding and ladders. This includes providing an opinion on whether the equipment was the correct type and installed and used correctly. Training and risk assessments are also relevant in these cases.
Fires and explosions
As with falls from heights, fires and explosions are potentially fatal. Recent cases have included gas explosions in individual houses and blocks of flats and a petrol fire in a garage. We have also investigated burns from touching hot equipment such as a heater and from the explosion of pressure vessels and steam pipework.
If combustion equipment is not set properly there is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. We have also investigated these cases.
Circular saws and other rotating machinery
Saws, angle grinders and other rotating machinery should be properly guarded. Nevertheless, some space is needed for the work-piece to be inserted. Was the guard set up correctly for the particular case? Was the operator properly trained and provided with suitable push sticks? Were all the safety interlocks working correcty?
Legionella, white finger, lung diseases, neurological disorders, dermatitis – all can be caused by workplace activities. An engineering assessment of the equipment and the working conditions can help to identify the cause. We assess whether the employer complied with the appropriate regulations including the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) regulations, building codes, ventilation requirements, PUWER and others.