Ten Entertainers Who Have Died in the Workplace

Do You Think Your Job Is Dangerous?

We all know that some jobs pose more risk than others.  Construction, farming and manufacturing all claim far too many lives every year. When it comes to dangerous professions, you would be forgiven for putting entertainers on the same level as office workers. However, it may surprise you to know that many entertainers have been killed in the workplace. Most of us have heard the sad tale of Brandon Lee who lost his life on the film-set of The Crow, but here are ten less well-known examples of entertainers who have suffered a fatal accident at work.

1.   Molière 1632-1673

One of the foremost comedy masters in world literature, the French playwright and actor’s most famous performance was his last.  He suffered from pulmonary tuberculosis and whilst performing in Le Malade imaginaire (The Imaginary Invalid), the last play he ever wrote, he collapsed on-stage after a fit of coughing and died a few hours later.

2.  Madame deLinsky died 1820

One of the oldest and most famous magic tricks is the ‘Bullet Catch’, however, this illusion is not for the faint-hearted and many a magician has died in front of their audience whilst performing it.  In 1820, a magician’s assistant Madame DeLinsky perished when the gun being used for the trick was loaded with a live bullet instead of a blank.

3.  John Marshall Alexander, Jr. 1929 –1954

On Christmas Day in 1954, the American rhythm and blues singer was playing with a .22 calibre revolver during a performance break in Houston, Texas.  Exactly what happened has always been disputed, but the young singer accidentally shot himself in the head and died.

4.  Les Harvey 1944 – 1972

A member of the Scottish band The Stone Crows, Harvey was electrocuted and died instantly during a sound check after touching an un-earthed microphone at the Top Rank Ballroom in Swansea.

5. Paul Mantz 1903-1965

Mantz, an experienced stunt pilot, was killed on the set of The Flight of the Phoenix when the plane he was flying during a stunt scene crashed into a hill.

6.  Karl Wallenda 1905-1978

The veteran high-wire walker plunged to his death after strong winds and a badly secured cable caused him to fall from the 10th story of the Condado Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  The moment was captured by a film crew and broadcast around the world.

7.  Vic Morrow 1929-1982

In one of the movie world’s most gruesome accidents, Morrow was decapitated during the filming of Twilight Zone: The Movie when a helicopter crashed on top of him and two child actors, killing all three instantly.

8.  Jon-Erik Hexum 1957-1984

The young American Actor and model died on the set of the TV show Cover Up after fooling around on set taking a blank-loaded gun and firing at point-blank range into his temple.  The impact was enough to shatter a piece of his skull and cause a massive haemorrhage.  He was pronounced brain-dead in hospital six days later.

9.  Eric Morecambe 1926-1984

The much loved comedian was performing at the Roses Theatre in Tewkesbury when he collapsed from a heart attack just after leaving the stage following six curtain calls.  His last words were jokingly “Thank goodness that’s over”.

10.  Owen Hart 1965 – 1999

The Canadian wrestler was killed when a harness, which was supposed to lower him into the ring for a pay-for-view match, malfunctioned causing him to fall 78 feet into the ring.  Although he sat up briefly after the fall, he collapsed and died shortly afterwards from internal bleeding.

If you have been injured at work, or have lost a loved one due to a workplace accident, you may be entitled to compensation.  Contact us today by filling out this form or call us on 0333 400 4445.

The Most Dangerous Jobs in the UK

Most of us take for granted that when we leave for work in the morning we will return safely that night. We assume our workplace is safe and we will be free from harm. And thankfully, most of the time this is the case. However, according to statistics from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), 178 people never returned home from work in 2012/13 and a further 78,000 employees were injured. Furthermore, workplace injury and ill-health cost around £13.8 billion in 2010/11.

The industries responsible for the most accidents and injuries are:

• Farming
• Construction
• Manufacturing

So why are these three industries responsible for so many workplace injuries, and what is being done to make each industry safer for workers?


More accidents happen per head of the working population in the agricultural sector than any other industry. Just over 1 in 100 workers (both employees and self-employed) work in agriculture but the industry is responsible for 1 in 5 work-related deaths.

Many injuries in the farming sector go unreported, so it is difficult to gain an accurate picture of how the trauma rates compare over a number of years, however, there has been very little change in the health and safety statistics since the mid-1990s.

The common denominator of these three risky industries is that they all involve large, heavy machinery. However, a farmer also has to deal with unpredictable livestock, dust, vehicles, chemicals, heights, bad weather and strenuous, repetitive work.

The National Farmers Union (NFU) and the HSE are making considerable efforts to try and raise awareness within the farming industry of health and safety best practices. The NFU states that it regularly meets with its members to discuss simple safety strategies such as telling someone your plans for the day, following safe stopping procedures in vehicles, and not cutting corners when working in situations involving heights, livestock and chemicals.


In 2012/13 the construction industry was responsible for 39 deaths. Although this is a high figure, in the previous five years there had been an average of 53 deaths per year, so there has been a significant improvement in fatality rates. However, added to this figure is around 3,700 new diagnosis of (often fatal) cancer each year which can be attributed to past exposure to asbestos, dust and chemicals. The HSE has more detailed industry statistics.

Between 2004 and 2007 a number of health and safety regulations came into force which has aided the improvement of accident statistics, including:

• Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007
• Work at Height Regulations 2005
• Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005
• Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (Amendment) 2004
• Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

An Approved Code of Practice was also published in 2007 which offers practical guidance to the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations.
These regulations, combined with a greater awareness of health and safety within the industry, have all led to an improvement in the number of serious injuries and fatalities sustained.


There are approximately 2.8 million workers across a wide range of industries employed in manufacturing within the UK. According to the HSE, accident rates have improved over the past two decades with a third less fatalities in 2012/13 than 20 years ago. Food manufacturing had the highest number of recorded injuries within the sectors.

Because the manufacturing industry is so broad, the injuries sustained can range from chemical burns through to knife related accidents. However, back injury is the most common problem sustained, often due to repetitive work being performed in awkward positions and heavy lifting. The HSE and the industry itself produce many publications and offer training on how to prevent back injury when working. You can read more about recovering from a back injury here.

Changes in Asbestos-Related Cancer Compensation

From April, families of the victims of Mesothelioma who are unable to trace a liable employer will be able to apply for compensation, worth on average £123,000 under the Mesothelioma Act 2014.

What is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is an extremely aggressive cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. The most common type is Pleural Mesothelioma, affecting around 90% of suffers. Pleural Mesothelioma is cancer of the mesothelial cells, which are the cells that make up the membrane (lining) that covers the outer surface of the lungs.

A further 10% of victims are diagnosed with Peritoneum Mesothelioma which affects the peritoneum (the lining of the lower digestive tract). Most patients diagnosed with Mesothelioma are terminal and die within three years. One of the reasons for the low recovery rate is the person is usually in the advanced stages of the disease when it is discovered.

Around 2000 people are diagnosed with Mesothelioma cancer every year and this number is set to increase over the next 30 years.

The law

At present, victims of Mesothelioma cancer are entitled to state benefits and can pursue a claim against the employers who negligently exposed them to asbestos. However, this particular type of cancer can take between 40 to 60 years to develop after the initial exposure to the substance. Therefore, injustice often occurs because the employer has gone out of business or has died. If this is the case victims can claim compensation from the insurance companies who provided the employer’s liability insurance. However, the insurance company has often proved difficult to trace due to lost or incomplete records.

The change in law will enable compensation to be claimed when this is the case.

Claiming compensation

To qualify for compensation applicants must show all of the following:

• They were diagnosed on or after 25th July 2012
• They are unable to trace former employers and/or that employers’ insurers
• Their former employer negligently exposed them to asbestos
• They have not already received compensation

It is important to note that this is a fund available only after all other efforts to trace former employers and their insurers have been exhausted. Payments under the Act will be on average only 80% of what is normally awarded by the courts when a personal injury claim is successful.

If you have any questions about this new award please contact one of our team who can advise you.

Butchery Firm Fined After Knife Accident

A London-based butchery firm has been fined £2,750 after a worker suffered a serious arm injury due to not wearing the correct protective equipment. The company was also ordered to pay almost £3,700 in costs after a hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 1 May 2013. During the hearing, the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that the firm had taken 29 days to report the incident – 19 days over the legal limit.

The accident happened when the employee was deboning a lamb shoulder. On his non-knife hand, he was wearing a chain mail glove that only covered his wrist, instead of the elbow-length gauntlet that should have been provided. According to the HSE, wearing such a gauntlet could have prevented the accident, which resulted in a deep cut to the forearm.

After the incident, the employee needed more than three months off work as well as a course of physiotherapy to regain the strength and movement in his left hand that he needed to return to work. Commenting on the case, HSE Inspector David Balfour said: ‘The deep, painful cut the butcher sustained was entirely preventable had he been wearing elbow- length chain mail gloves, which should have been provided by the company.’

The butchery firm pleaded guilty to failing to comply with the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992, which oblige all employers to provide the personal protective equipment their staff need to control risks to their health and safety whilst at work.

Every year, dozens of workplace accidents happen because personal protective equipment is missing, substandard or inadequate. And employees who’ve been injured in these accidents are entitled to claim compensation – not just for their injuries, but for other related expenses, such as loss of earnings or the costs of treatment or therapy that aren’t available on the NHS.

Had an accident at work? Talk to Injury Lawyers 4U

Injury Lawyers 4U are experts at dealing with all kinds of workplace accident claims. Our experienced legal team will handle your case from start to finish, providing the advice and support you need at every stage. With our help, you’ll get the compensation you deserve so you can focus on your recovery and rehabilitation.

Call 0845 345 4444 for instant legal advice today. We work on a genuine ‘no win, no fee’ basis so there’s nothing to lose by asking us to help.

How to Avoid Injury in the Workplace

We spend an awful lot of our lives in our place of work. Even those with part-time jobs can feel like they spend too much of their time at work. Working is a fact of life and necessary if we want to keep a roof over our heads. People do all manner of different jobs in order to stay afloat but the most important this is that you should always feel safe no matter where you are employed.

Whether you are a builder working on a busy construction site, or an accountant working in a quiet office, your safety and security should be the top priority for your employer. Of course, different jobs have different levels of risk but there should always be adequate safety measures in place to ensure workers are not in danger.

Employers have a duty of care to their staff and must take steps to ensure all employees are as safe as possible. But accidents can still happen and if you sustain an injury at work you should consider making an industrial accident claim.

So, what can you to do try and avoid sustaining an injury in the workplace?

Be aware of your surroundings

The average person will spend a whopping 128 months at work during their lives, so the occasional accident in the workplace is always a possibility. While not every possibility can be accounted for, you can take steps to reduce the risk of injury while at work. Some of the most common causes of work injuries are slips and trips; the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that 40% of workplace accidents in 2010 and 2011 in the UK were caused as a result of slipping or tripping.

More often than not, only a minor injury will be sustained but it still helps to be cautious. It can sometimes feel that we’re too busy at work to worry about such things but simply being aware of your surroundings will greatly reduce your chances of injury. So always look where you are going and if you notice a potential hazard be sure to alert someone so that no one else is put in danger.

Don’t put yourself at risk

Of course, some jobs are more dangerous than others. But accidents and injuries can occur at any time, to anyone. Your employer should have the appropriate safety precautions in place but these can be rendered useless if you put yourself at adverse risk.

According to the HSE, 16% of all UK injuries in the workplace in 2010 and 2011 were caused by falling from heights. While this is not a danger for every occupation, it highlights that putting yourself in more danger than necessary will greatly increase your chance of injury. So before you carry out a potentially dangerous task, think about whether it is entirely necessary to do so and what you can do to reduce this danger.

If you have been a victim of a workplace injury contact InjuryLawyers4U today for confidential, no obligation advice.