Bungling handyman puts ladder against branch he is sawing off... then sues bosses after breaking his foot
By Liz Hull
Last updated at 9:39 PM on 14th April 2010
As DIY disasters go, they don't come much dafter than sawing off a tree branch that you've just leaned your ladder against.
But when he was asked to prune a sycamore tree in the grounds of a luxury hotel, handyman Peter Aspinall propped his ladder against the branch he was removing instead of the tree trunk.
He sawed through the branch and it plummeted 14 feet to the ground. The ladder and Mr Aspinall quickly followed.
The 64-year-old broke his heel, damaged ligaments and spent ten days in hospital after the fall.
Yesterday it emerged that Mr Aspinall, who has been off sick since the accident 18 months ago, is suing Egerton House Hotel, near Bolton, for his injuries.
A court ordered the hotel to pay £2,015 after a health and safety investigation concluded that the owners had failed to carry out a 'risk assessment' on the dangers of sawing a tree branch with a ladder against it and should have trained Mr Aspinall and a colleague on where to place the ladder. :shock:
The hotel's solicitor, David Walton, told magistrates: 'It is an unusual accident. Laurel and Hardy do that sort of thing.'
Speaking after the hearing, he added: 'The hotel was very disappointed that common sense did not prevail and that the case was brought against them.
'The prosecution case was that had there been a routine risk assessment for the gardening activity of pruning trees then it's unlikely that this accident would have happened.
'But, even if there had been a risk assessment done, no one would expect two experienced men to do such a thing.
I'm in thumb trouble here: Firefighters take two and a half hours to free woman from her ten-pin bowling ball :shock:
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 5:02 PM on 20th April 2010
When youth worker Cherie Beekman took a group of children for a trip to a bowling alley she got little too attached to the game.
When the 33-year-old went to return the green ball she had been using she found she couldn't. It was stuck on her right thumb and nothing would shift it.
She was driven from the alley in Didsbury, Manchester, to a nearby fire station where it took a team of firefighters two-and-a-half hours to cut the ball away using an electric saw, a hacksaw and a chisel.
They even had to use oxygen and made a phone call to the ball's manufacturers.
Cherie told the Manchester Evening News: 'It was really funny at first. At no point did I think "this is going to end badly".
'But then I started to get a bit panicky and I couldn't breath properly because I was worrying.
'A colleague drove me to the fire station. No one knew what the ball was made of so they were on Google and had the manufacturer on the phone trying to help us.
'I'm not big on knives so I got pretty teary when they brought the saws out, especially as I didn't know which way my thumb was stuck inside the ball.'
Cherie, who had taken a group of 16 children bowling with the Prince's Trust youth charity at the Parrs Wood alley, turned up at the Brownley Road fire station. An ambulance crew was later called to give her a check-up.
She said: 'The firemen were absolutely amazing. They kept me calm and brought me endless cups of coffee. I even had to have oxygen at one point. The thumb is just very swollen and achy.'
This is quite funny in a Charly and the Chocolate Factory kind of way... until you really start to think about it, and then it's just very very nasty :shock: :shock:
Sweet firm fined £300,000 over worker's crush death
Britain's biggest independent confectionery firm has been fined £300,000 after a foreign worker was crushed to death in one of its sweet-making machines, health and safety watchdogs said today.
Czech-born Martin Pejril was trying to unblock the machine when it suddenly re-started.
He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The 33-year-old was working for Tangerine Confectionery at its factory
in Alder Road, Poole, Dorset, on February 20, 2008 when the accident happened.
Tangerine, the UK's largest independent confectionery company, manufactures sweets such as Sherbet Dip Dabs, Mojos and Black Jacks as well as Butterkist popcorn.
The firm, whose head office is in Blackpool, Lancashire, was found guilty of two breaches of health and safety law by failing to ensure the safety at work of its employees and failing to make sufficient risk assessments.
The company appeared at Bournemouth Crown Court for sentencing yesterday. It was fined £150,000 on each of the two safety breaches and ordered to pay legal costs of £72,901.
HSE Inspector Simon Jones said: "This tragic case highlights the need to ensure that machines are safely isolated before any maintenance takes place so they cannot unexpectedly start up.
"Simply pressing a stop button does not adequately isolate a machine.
"If the machine in this case had been properly isolated from the electrical power source before Mr Pejril attempted to clear the blockage, this accident would never have happened.
"A proper risk assessment would have highlighted the dangers of entrapment.
"All employees need to be adequately trained in correct company procedures - whether it's for clearing blockages, operating machines or any other high-risk activity."
A spokeswoman for the firm said: "Tangerine Confectionery is committed to maintaining and investing in the best possible safety standards and our sympathies remain with his family for this tragic accident.
"We remain disappointed in the conviction and the sentence imposed by the court in relation to this matter and will be considering the company's position in relation to an appeal."
Falling 30ft nightclub sign knocks woman unconscious
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 11:21 AM on 31st May 2010
A woman was found lying in a pool of blood after a 30ft night club sign was blown off its mounting and struck her on the head.
Paramedics and firefighters were called to the incident outside the Reflex nightclub, Plymouth, just after 11am on Saturday.
The woman - believed to be in her thirties - was given first aid until the emergency services arrived.
Witnesses described how she was distressed and lying in a pool of blood after the freak accident - caused by blustery conditions over the Bank Holiday weekend.
RAF medic Dean Thomas, 27, had been having breakfast with his family in the Union Rooms when the woman was injured.
He said: 'She was conscious by the time we got there. I think she had been knocked out and came straight back round. She was upset and lying in a pool of her own blood.
'The gash by her eye was pretty bad. If it had been one centimetre lower, it would have had her eye out. She's very lucky.
'It was a very big sign, with nails hanging off the end of it, so it could have been a lot worse.
'I had a look at her head and stuck on a dressing, from the pub's first aid box, to stop the bleeding and held it there until the ambulance arrived.'
Police requested the presence of firefighters to secure the front of the nightclub, while paramedics treated the woman, believed to be from Plympton, who was taken to Derriford Hospital.
She was released later the same day after treatment to a cut above her right eyebrow and bruising to her shoulder, back and knee.
The sign has been seized and the Health and Safety Executive has launched an investigation.
When my husband worked for Legal Aid years ago, he interviewed a woman who'd been hit by a giant packet of Silk Cut falling off a tobacconist's shop, pinning her to the ground. The fact that she clearly didn't find it at all amusing made him struggle all the more not to laugh.
Seems to be an outbreak of vehicles terrorizing pensioners:
Inches from disaster: Lily, 85, comes face-to-face with a runaway bus... as she sits in her FRONT ROOM
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 11:07 AM on 6th September 2010
This is the moment an elderly widow came face-to-face with a runaway bus after it crashed into her garden and stopped just inches from her head - and she didn't hear a thing.
Lucky Lily Mulkeen, 85, was sat in her favourite chair eating porridge when the ten ton vehicle careered off the road into her property.
The Number 32 service demolished her hedge, flattened her garden and stopped just two inches from the wall of her two bed semi in Torquay, Devon.
It came to rest just outside her window where Lily, who is housebound with arthritis, was sat inside watching television and having breakfast.
Incredibly despite the carnage outside she didn't hear a thing and when her terrified carer flung open the curtains Lily was almost nose to bumper.
But despite her narrow brush with death Lily simply shrugged her shoulders - and finished her bowl of porridge.
Speaking yesterday Lily said she had been unaware of the bus until her carer Tracy Cook came running out of the kitchen.
Lily said: 'Tracy told me that a bus had crashed into the garden. I told her not to be so daft because I didn't see anything. I didn't even pull the blinds back to see.
'When Tracy took a look I was quite shocked. I was a bit shaken. But I finished my breakfast.'
Lily, whose husband Larry died ten years ago, added: 'It's such a shame because I'd got the garden looking so nice before this bus came along and spoiled it all.
Elderly coffee shop customer fighting for life after out-of-control taxi plows into popular New York cafe
By Mail Foreign Service
Last updated at 8:59 PM on 5th September 2010
A coffee shop customer is fighting for his life today after an out-of-control cab plowed into a New York cafe early this morning.
The cab driver appeared to lose control after swerving to avoid a Jeep Cherokee that had run a red light near the corner of First Avenue and East 3rd Street just before 1.30am, witnesses said.
The SUV taxi clipped the Jeep, smashed into two bicyclists, and plowed into popular East Village coffee shop The Bean.
Customer Preston Krupin, 71, was sitting in the window of the shop. He is in fighting for his life in a New York hospital with injuries to his head, neck and hip.
The taxi driver, 49-year-old Syed Nazir, was in stable condition this afternoon, as was his passenger, a 30-year-old woman.
Man crushed by tractor in Helston
8:58am Tuesday 7th September 2010
By Emma Goodfellow »
A man has been crushed by a tractor at a farm in Helston.
The 54-year-old man suffered serious head injuries after the tractor ran over his head at Nansloe Farm.
He is believed to have stopped the tractor to open a gate when it rolled onto him, at just after 3.30pm.
The air ambulance was called and airlifted the man to the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro. He was described by a police spokesman as conscious and talking, but with injuries that were potentially life-threatening and “almost certainly life-changing.”
The Health and Safety Executive have been informed.
Council's £24,000 payout over Jim Rodgers 'tomato jump'
A Belfast City Council worker who was dressed as a tomato when she was injured by the then lord mayor has agreed a settlement of £24,021.75.
Lorraine Mallon suffered a slipped disc when Jim Rodgers' knee accidentally hit her head as he tried to vault over her.
Ms Mallon had been dressed as a tomato to launch a gourmet garden event in Botanic Gardens in September 2007.
A spokesperson for the council said: "We can confirm that a settlement has been made in that case."
The case was heard by Mr Justice Stephens at the High Court in Belfast, with the settlement agreed on Tuesday.
The council must also pay the costs of the action, which was brought against it on the grounds of negligence and breach of statutory duty.
After the incident, Mr Rodgers, an Ulster Unionist councillor, said he attempted the act of athleticism at the request of photographers.
"I have been absolutely devastated over what has happened," he said.
"There had been three false runs and I think Lorraine thought this was just another one.
"I just caught the top of her head and unfortunately I injured her."
Mr Rodgers said he was confident he could have made the vault.
He said: "I'm very fit and look after myself, but it was just one of those unfortunate things."
Pilot gets that sinking feeling after plane touches down - in the River Derwent
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 9:05 PM on 1st November 2010
It was a case of anything but plane sailing for the pilot of this light aircraft - after he apparently mistook a stretch of river for a landing strip.
The two-seater jet inexplicably touched down on a remote, 50ft-wide section of the River Derwent near the village of Aughton in East Yorkshire on Saturday afternoon.
Although the pilot may have injured his pride while earning his water wings, both he and his passenger were able to free themselves from the waterlogged wreckage unhurt.
Emergency services scrambled to the scene and the pair were airlifted to hospital as a precaution.
It is believed the pilot took off from from Sherburn Aero Club, which is about eight miles away from the crash site. But authorities remain baffled as to why the aircraft was ditched in the river.
Club director Richard Maxted told the York Press he had 'absolutely no idea what happened' to the two-seater Robin 2160.
'An aeroplane inverted in the water is not something you see every day, thank God, and at this stage we can't even specify what has happened,' he said.
The plane remained partially submerged yesterday, with just part of its tail above water. The Environment Agency has been alerted and an investigation into the incident is under way.
An accident for the lady below anyway, and a particularly disturbing one.
Passerby struck by falling Leeds woman
A pedestrian had a shocking experience when she was hit by the body of another woman falling to her death from a Leeds city centre multi-storey car park.
The drama unfolded at 7.25pm on Tuesday when police responded to reports of a woman having fallen from the NCP multi-storey car park on New York Street in Leeds city centre.
When police reached the scene they discovered the body of a severly injured woman who is thought to have crashed to the ground from the car park.
But they also discovered that another woman - a passer-by - had apparently been struck by the falling woman.
The second woman had suffered minor injuries to her neck and shoulder as well as shock.
The woman who fell from the car park was certified dead at the scene. The area was closed to the public by the police for three hours while a detailed exmamination was conducted.
Police said that there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death and a file had been submitted to the Coroner.
That's like that story I've never been able to find out the truth of, where supposedly the Eastern European woman dumped by her husband jumped off the roof of her flats in grief and landed on the husband, killing him. She survived.
Giant Andy Scott statue felled in roundabout crash
A giant sculpture of a striding man by public artist Andy Scott has been knocked over in a car accident.
The 4m (13ft) structure, installed at Muirside roundabout, Tullibody, in Clackmannanshire, is one of five pieces in the county by the artist.
It is understood a car crashed into the statue, which sits outside the village police station, at about 2110 GMT on Saturday.
Central Scotland Police said they were investigating the incident.
The sculpture - also known as the Man in Motion - is made of welded steel mosaic and has the Wallace Monument and Stirling Castle as a backdrop.
Brian Smith, a college lecturer who lives near the sculpture, said the impact of the crash must have been considerable.
He said: "Whoever crashed into it has made a fair mess.
"It looks like they've driven into one of the statue's legs and brought down abut five or six tonnes of metal.
"I don't know if it quite stopped them but it certainly slowed them down."
Mr Smith said the erection of the piece in 2008 split the local community.
He added: "It's quite an arresting sight when you see it lying there. I have heard from a few people that they never liked it, although I doubt they would prefer it looking like this."
Glasgow artist Andy Scott is a sculptor, whose best-known works are in galvanised steel.
His other projects include the Kelpie heads at Falkirk's Helix project and the Arria statue at Cumbernauld.
Mother left with horrific burns to her knees after kneeling in B&Q cement while doing kitchen DIY
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 8:49 PM on 15th February 2011
A mum was left with horrific burns on her legs after kneeling in B&Q cement while carrying out DIY in her kitchen.
Jane Dobson feared her legs 'were going to explode' after corrosive cement soaked through her trousers and began burning her flesh.
The 46-year-old spent nine days in hospital and needed a skin graft after suffering the gruesome injuries as she tried to lay cement on her kitchen floor.
Details of Miss Dobson's injuries were revealed to a court after Trading Standards tried to prosecute the Hampshire-based DIY chain.
They claimed the company's own brand cement was unsafe and had inadequate warning signs about the dangers of the cement.
It was claimed the lime ingredient becomes dangerous when water is added to the cement powder and starts to burn skin if not washed off within minutes of contact.
Southampton magistrates heard the label on the cement, bought from its Nursling depot near Southampton, Hants, read: 'Risk of serious damage to eyes. Irritating to respiratory system and skin.
'In case of contact with eyes, rinse immediately with plenty of water and seek medical advice. Wear eye and face protection.'
Giving evidence Miss Dobson, who has a 19-year-old son and a granddaughter, said although at the time she felt no pain, she went to Southampton General Hospital where she underwent tests.
Tearfully, she said: 'There wasn't any sensation in my leg and knees and I was told I would need skin grafts - I said don't be silly I have to go to work in the morning. I was feeling no pain.
'I didn't get pain until the early hours of the morning. I thought my legs were going to explode.'
Doctors then carried out skin grafts at Odstock Burns Unit at Salisbury District Hospital, Wilts.
Simon Antrobus, defending B&Q, who had denied the allegations, argued the cement was 'self-levelling'.
During the case the judge heard that since the incident B&Q now warns of risks of dermatitis or burns on its self-levelling cement.
District judge Anthony Callaway threw out both charges after determining that the product did not breach any safety laws and the chain store could not have reasonably foreseen someone kneeling in it.
After the hearing Miss Dobson, an engineering NVQ assessor from Millbrook, Southampton, said she is now considering a private civil action.
She said: 'Before it happened I was all toned up and proud of my legs.
'I used to enjoy swimming - but I can't do that anymore and I can't go out in shorts because my knees look so bad.'
A spokesman for B&Q said: 'We agree with the judge's decision and hope this brings the case to a close.'
You can't park there! Miracle escape for driver whose car flipped off road... and landed in a tree
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 2:05 PM on 16th February 2011
A driver had a miracle escape after careening across a wet road and being launched so high that the car ended up hanging nose-first from a tree.
David Beasley was driving along Chirk Road in North Wales on his way to work as a panel cutter.
But as he approached a bend in the road his wife's green Renault Clio skidded, hit a high pavement and was thrown into the air.
Amazingly, the 44-year-old walked away without a scratch after the airborne flying car became lodged in a tree.
Although the car was hanging nose-down by its wheels over a steep embankment, Mr Beasley was able to force open a door and drop to safety.
'I was just driving out of Chirk and was coming around the bend in the road when the back end broke away,' said Mr Beasley.
'I skidded and found myself heading towards the wall on the right-hand side of the road.
'I managed to correct that and the next thing I knew I was on the other side.
'I then clipped the kerb, which must have flipped me over and thrown me backwards into the tree at the side of the road.
'I was left just hanging down looking at the ground.'
The drama unfolded at 8am on Tuesday as Mr Beasley was driving from his home in Chirk, on the border between England and Wales, to Oswestry.
Despite the spectacular accident that followed, the car sustained little damage.
'The window on my side was broken but I checked the door and found I could still open it,' he said.
'I even managed to put the handbrake on.
'I then got out through the door, dropped down and got back on to the pavement.
'I wasn't going very fast when it happened and I reckon it must have been because the road surface was a bit slippery at that point. 'What is amazing is that the airbag didn't even go off so it all must have happened quite gently.
'I've only got a few cuts and bruises but it could have been a lot worse if I hadn't ended up in the tree.
'If it hadn't been there my car would have just gone straight down the slope into the field.
'I suppose it is a miracle that I have escaped this without being seriously hurt.'
Police temporarily cordoned off the stretch of road while the car was recovered by a specialist truck.
A spokesman for North Wales Police said: 'We were called to the scene of the incident at 8.11am on Tuesday.
'There was one vehicle involved, which was upside down in a tree.
'The driver sustained only minor injuries.'
YOU CAN’T have Hamlet without the prince, and a sword-fighting accident cut short a production of the play in Cork yesterday.
The dramatic and premature end to the Second Age production at the Everyman Theatre came when actor Conor Madden collapsed during a pivotal duel scene with Aonghus Óg McAnally, playing Laertes.
According to one theatregoer, many in the audience, mostly of secondary school students, at first presumed it was part of Shakespeare’s play. However, as the prone, but audibly distressed, Madden was immediately assisted by crew members, artistic director Alan Stanford addressed the crowd to assure them that the accident was real and the show would not go on.
Madden was brought to Cork University Hospital, having sustained a minor facial injury, but was discharged and it is hoped he will take up the sword again shortly.
“Conor is fine,” Stanford told The Irish Times . “It is quite a complex sword fight. And I’m always amazed it doesn’t happen more. It was just one of those rare occasions. The sword caught him under the eye and he pulled back to avoid it but got a small cut. I think he went into a bit of shock.”
The swords used are replicas, with a rounded tip – safer than the squared-off tips that were once in common use but which were more damaging to the skin. The actors had trained with a fight co-ordinator for several weeks before the play’s recent three-week run in Dublin’s Helix, during which the sword fight was played out without incident.
Although Madden will miss two performances due today, including an official opening tonight, Second Age has been able to call on a more than adequate replacement in Marty Rea. His performance as Hamlet last year earned him best actor at the recent Irish Times Theatre Awards.
Madden may be consoled by how he is not the only actor to have had such a mishap.
In 1998, Michael McElhatton was stabbed during a play at Dublin’s Peacock and was rushed to hospital – but only after having carried on to the finale.
Stanford himself was once on the sharp end of a fencing mishap. During one production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses , a sword pierced his clothing and, almost, his ribs.
New Zealand trucker 'blown up like balloon' by air hose
A New Zealand truck driver who fell on a compressed air hose that pierced his buttock has survived being blown up like a balloon.
Steven McCormack had fallen between the cab and the trailer of his truck, breaking the air hose.
The nozzle pierced his buttock and began pumping air into his body, which expanded dramatically. :shock:
As he screamed, Mr McCormack's colleagues turned the air off and lay him on his side, saving his life.
The accident happened at Opotiki on the North Island on Saturday.
Mr McCormack, who is 48, is still in hospital in the nearest town, Whakatane.
He said that doctors had told him they were surprised that his skin had not burst, as the compressed air - pumping into his body at 100lb/sq in - had separated fat from muscle.
"I felt the air rush into my body and I felt like it was going to explode from my foot.
"I was blowing up like a football... it felt like I had the bends, like in diving. I had no choice but just to lay there, blowing up like a balloon," he told the local newspaper, the Whakatane Beacon.
He said his skin feels "like a pork roast", hard and crackly on the outside but soft underneath.
He credits his colleagues, especially Jason Wenham who lay him on his side, with saving his life.
Mr Wenham, Ross Hustler and Robbie Petersen had lifted Mr McCormack off the brass nozzle which was still stuck in his body, and packed ice around his swollen neck until an ambulance arrived.
Doctors inserted a tube into his lungs to drain the fluid and cleared the wound in his buttock using what felt to him like a drill.
"That was the most painful part," he said.
"It's fair to say he's lucky to be alive, it was a potentially life-threatening situation," a hospital spokeswoman told AFP on Wednesday.
Mr McCormack confided that the air was gradually escaping his body in the way that air usually does. 8)