What level of damages are we recovering for very modest injuries? This is an exceptional result.

The claimant suffered soft tissue bruising to the chest and left arm all of which fully settled within 10 days. In addition, he suffered bruising to the left hand, which settled within a week, and generalised aching, which settled within three to four days.

The insurers made an offer of £1,030. Negotiations on the telephone resulted in an increase to £1,140.

Claimant’s medical evidence preferred in HAVS case

A road worker developed hand arm vibration syndrome after using vibratory tools between 1987 and 1988. The issue was a dispute between the medical experts.

Dr. Moran, on behalf of the claimant, thought that he was suffering from HAVS and by reference to the Stockholm Scale was 2SN (L) 2S (R) and 2V (L) OV (R).

The defendants obtained a report from Professor Charlesworth who was not convinced that the claimant had HAVS and thought that his symptoms were caused by cervical spondylosis. Nerve conduction studies and an MRI scan were carried out.

The Judge preferred the evidence of Dr. Moran, commenting that Dr. Moran did not have a “blinkered view” which Professor Charlesworth obviously had. He thought that Dr. Moran was much more reliable and preferred his evidence. General damages were awarded at £5,050.

Nottingham County Court, 23 October 2007.

Lung disease caused by diacetyl

IUF, the International Federation for Food Workers Unions, is demanding urgent control measures on the food flavouring diacetyl, which is a widely used chemical that can destroy workers lungs. It is an ingredient in artificial butter flavours and has been shown to cause disabling and sometimes fatal illnesses in exposed workers.

Evidence has linked it to the lung disease broncholitis obliterans, known in the US as “pop corn workers lung”. Diacetyl is rarely identified as a specific ingredient of food products, lurking with other chemicals under the generic “artificial flavour” badge. The IUF are calling for its member unions and the wider labour movement to demand action by national health and safety agencies about this chemical.