Courts of Justice

A man who injured his back at work has won his case in the Court of Appeal against his employers.

The labourer was injured while trying to move heavy equipment. The court ruled that his employers did not do enough to protect him and they will now be liable to pay him compensation for the injury he sustained.

The incident occurred when the man and three colleagues were asked to move machinery that weighed over 3000kg. An expert told the court that to move it safely, the men would have needed to use up to four times as much force as is recommended by health and safety guidelines.

The man injured his back because he was putting too much pressure on it and the employers should have been aware that the guidelines had been exceeded.

The company was said to have neglected to take necessary precautions to ensure the risk of injury was at its lowest possible level, a breach of the Manual Handling Operations Regulations.

The judge said that the company had failed to carry out any risk assessment or consider other methods of moving the machinery. They could have shared the load between more workers, used a forklift truck or employed special contractors. Any of these things would have reduced the risk of injury but the company had not done them.

The Court of Appeal agreed with the judge that the company had been negligent in addressing the issues of health and safety. The man can now claim compensation for his work injury.