Refuse Worker Awarded €224,000 Work Injury Compensation

At the High Court a factory worker, who fell to the ground and suffered a severe ankle injury when he attempted to free a trapped bin, has been awarded €224,000 damages.

The man in question, Tomasz Zdejszy, was employed at a waste collection business when he suffered permanent damage to his ankle. Tomasz fell nine feet to the ground when the accident occurred in April 2012 at the business park in Blanchardstown, Dublin 15.

Judge Michael Hanna said, while giving judgment, that the 37-year-old man had climbed up on a waste paper container to try and free a bin, which had become stuck, by kicking it. The Judge said that Mr Zdejszy jhad begun to climb down from the position due to becoming afraid of the height. At this point a co-worker handed him a metal bar to assist in dislodging the stuck bin.

In his case against his employer Stewart Foil Ltd,  Tomasz claimed that there had been a failure to ensure the safe and proper removal of an obstacle to waste collection without the necessity of Mr Zdejszy working at a height when, he claimed, it was dangerous to do.

In his work injury compensation claim against Panda Waste Services, he stated that he was expected to remove a rubbish bin on a waste container while working at a height. Additionally, he claimed that he was given an inappropriate implement, a metal bar, to accomplish this task.

In his ruling Justice Hanna found 20 per cent contributory negligence on the part of Mr Zdejszy due to the fact that he did not use sufficient care in relation to his own safety. He deemed that Stewart Foil Ltd were two thirds responsible and Panda Waste Services one third responsible for the accident.

Judge Hanna told the High Court that Mr Zdejszy had suffered a typical injury for such a fall, with a severe fracture of the right side of his foot, extending into his ankle joint. This fracture resulted in arthritis on the joint, which required surgical fusion. He experienced permanent loss of movement in his ankle, a loss of heel height of approximately an inch on the injured side and had been left suffering constant pain.


Garda Awarded €4,000 Following Night Club Assault

A Garda has been awarded €4,000 after being assaulted by his girlfriend’s brother whom he was restrain with colleagues outside a Letterkenny nightclub.

High Court Judge Justice Michael Twomey was advised that Garda Fintan Smith was headbutted by the individual in question, leading to a black eye and nose bleed. Garda Smith stated that, following the initial headbutt incident, he was sitting in the front of the Garda car when his assailant was sitting in the rear seat in handcuffs for transport to Letterkenny Garda Station. At this point he was kicked to the side of the head by the man.

Garda Smith advised the Judge that he no longer has any relationship with the individual. However, he still has excellent relations with the other members of his girlfriend’s family. Garda Smith and his girlfriend have since married and, he said in a response to his legal counsel’s question, although his girlfriend’s brother had been invited to the wedding in May 2018 he (the brother) had not turned up. He (Garda Smith) added that his preference is now not to attend any family events if he is aware that his brother-in-law will be there.

His legal counsel, Ms Fiona Crawford, submitted that her client had sustained an injured nose but X-rays had revealed no bone injury.

The High Court was advised that the incident had caused a lot of trauma between Garda Smith and his partner. Due to this he sought, and received, a transfer from Letterkenny to Ballybofey Garda Station. Garda Smith said that the entire episode lead to him being very angry. He added that his now brother-in-law had been in trouble with the gardaí at the time of the event and was not the sort of person who would respect the gardaí.

He (Garda Smith) missed a month of work due to the embarrassment caused.

Judge Twomey accepted that Garda Smith’s brother-in-law had a negative attitude towards garda and awarded Garda Smith workplace compensation of €4,000 for the injuries he sustained.


€30k Compensation Awarded to Epileptic Solicitor Denied Request to Work from Home

An epileptic solicitor has been awarded €30,000 from the legal service provider she worked for in relation to its refusal to permit her to work from home.

The woman had made six unsuccessful requests to work from home in total with her employer during the time period between March 2015 and January 2017. She made the request due to suffering a number of acute or ‘grand mal’ attacks. She pointed out to the Workplace Relations Commission that other colleagues have been permitted to conduct their work from home.

In directing the legal services provider to pay the €30,000 to the employee for denying her rights under the Employment Equality Acts, Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) Adjudication Officer Pat Brady stated that there should be a zero-risk approach to a situation where there is a danger of a life threatening event occurring.

The Adjudication Officer referred to the attitude of the employer in denying the staff member in her request to complete her work duties from home whatever argument she used. He (Mr Brady) ruled that the employer’s refusal to make any ‘reasonable accommodation’ for the employee over her home working request was a breach of the Employment Equality Act. Additionally he said that the medical evidence in the case “is not very decisive”.

He reported that anything that will reduce stress will help the worker but that the request to work from home would only make a ‘minimal’ contribution to this.

Mr Brady ruled that the legal services provider did not appear concerned about, or was indifferent to, a danger due to the ‘minimal’ impact assessment, despite the chance of a catastrophic event for the employee. The employer in question advised its employee that it would be ‘very challenging’ were she to work at home and ‘incompatible’ with her official duties. Instead the employer permitted other measures such as a reduction in the working week expected.

The employee advised the WRC that it would create no difficulty to carry out her work from home and that she had ‘huge autonomy’ in relation to the delivery of her duties. She said that she made it known that she was willing to be entirely flexible and respond to business needs as necessary. She also said that the majority of her work is of a preparatory nature and could just as easily be carried out from home as from her office.

Mr Brady said that a company spokesperson visibly shrugging his shoulders at the hearing showed that there was no company view as as to how the member of staff could be accommodated.


€1,118 Personal Injury Compensation Payout for Woman Mocked because of her Accent

An industrial tribunal has awarded compensation to a woman who was mocked because of her west Belfast accent and also harassed for being female.

The incident occurred at the Four Winds bar in Castlereagh where Caroline Curran was working as an assistant manager. She told the tribunal that she was made fun of and verbally abused due to her background and gender. She alleged that one manager told her she was “not in the Devenish now”, referring to a bar in west Belfast. On another occasion she claimed that a male colleague shouted at her: “Would you women f*** up!… you’re never done moaning.”

Ms Curran said: “I’m a strong person, but I found it extremely difficult to deal with mentally and I can only imagine if it was a younger woman or someone maybe not as strong as myself, what sort of state they would be in? I just didn’t want to let that go or allow them to treat anybody else like that.”

Ms Curran took up the position of bar assistant manager in March 2017, under manager Dermott McGinn and alongside fellow assistant manager Conor Magee. By July that year she raised a formal grievance after becoming unhappy at the treatment she was receiving and told that tribunal that Mr Magee “constantly undermines me in front of staff”.

Ms Curran also filed a complaint in relation to alterations to staff rotas, which she said he lied about causing her to feel “as if I’m going insane, sometimes he lies to me to make me think I’m wrong”. Following this she was signed off sick for two weeks and never returned. However, she attended a grievance meeting in August during which she submitted that Mr Magee made pointed jokes like: “You’re not in the Devenish now.”

Mr Magee denied all of Ms Curran’s claims, saying that “he hadn’t exactly a posh voice himself”, before going on to say that he thought he had the same accent and he was from west Belfast. As the grievance meeting did not hold up her complaints Ms Curran took the matter to the industrial tribunal.

At the tribunal legal representatives for Four Winds said the company refuted Ms Curran’s claims that her gender was an “overarching theme” in her complaints against colleagues and that she did not pursue sex discrimination in her official grievance.

When delivering the final judgment the tribunal said that Ms Curran was, more likely than not, made fun of because of her accent but this was not due to her gender. Additionally it said that her claims of being undermined by Mr Magee were not because of her gender.

On the allegations against Mr McGinn it said this was because of “bad staff management” but gender was not the cause of that. It did find that the comment, “Would you women just f*** up” was a clear occurrence of sexual harassment. The tribunal awarded Ms Curran £1,080 (€1,118) compensation.


€1.16m Back Injury Compensation for Garda and former Tipperary Hurler

The Minister for Finance Pascal Donohoe has approved paying €1.16m back injury compensation to a garda and former captain of the Tipperary county hurling team Aidan Flanagan for injuries he sustained when attacked during an arrest.

This follows the earlier decision by Mr Justice Bernard Barton to award the 44-year-old Garda part compensation of  €175,000 general damages and €45,000 for loss of opportunity. However he (Judge Barton) had adjourned ruling a final outcome pending a review of ongoing negotiations between Micheál Ó Scanaill, SC, counsel for the Minister, and barrister Alan Keating, counsel for Garda Flanagan.

Mr Ó Scanaill, who appeared with barrister Rebecca Graydon for the minister, told Judge Barton that a consent order for €1.16m, a figure takes account of his past and present loss of earnings and a number of other factors, could be made in Garda Flanagan’s favour.

In Judge Barton’s earlier ruling at a Garda Compensation hearing in the High Court, he referred to the strong force of a blow that Garda Flanagan had received to the base of his back and the devastating consequences he suffered. He added that Garda Flanagan had suffered the injury when he was only 30 years of age and had made a substantial €1.47m claim for general damages and recurring pecuniary losses.

The incident occurred when Garda Flanagan had arrested a youth following a store burglary in which alcohol had been stolen. The youth had drunk a bottle of vodka and taken a quantity of tablets before he was arrested.

The youth in question had directed a kick into the small of Garda Flanagan’s back when being placed in the back seat of a squad car to for purposes of restraint, Judge Barton said. He also commented on the serious and significant deterioration in Garda Flanagan’s physical and mental capacity as a result of ongoing chronic pain he suffered. Additionally he had felt he could no longer serve as a garda and had so far been denied to retire on health grounds.

Garda Flanagan acted as captain of the Tipperary senior county side in the National Hurling League in 1997.


Former Ryanair Cabin Crew Member Awarded €30k Work Injury Compensation

Judge Francis Comerford in the Circuit Civil Court awarded air hostess Laura Albacete, from Manelvidal, Vielha, Spain, €30,000 €30,000 work injury damages against Ryanair yesterday.

The air hostess’ lawyer, Samantha Cruess Callaghan, said she fell from the top to the bottom of an air stairs, operated hydraulically from the rear of the plane, on a wet morning at Cork Airport on February 11, 2012. Ms Albacete suffered the injury during this fall

Ms Cruess Callaghan told the court that Ms Albacete had struck her head and had been knocked unconscious for short duration of time after the incident. After this Ms Albacete (28) said she had been taken by ambulance to Cork University Hospital where she was medically examined and found to have experienced a head injury and a sprained ankle.

After she had been treated Laura decided to fly home to Spain to recover from her ordeal. However, Ryanair had insisted that she pay for her own way home. Despite this harsh stance, Judge Comerford said that it was not an aggravating factor in a €60,000 personal injury claim against Ryanair.

MS Albacete, Judge Comerford was advised, suffered from headaches following her workplace fall and had also sustained a possible post traumatic optic neuropathy. Following a six-month period of recuperation in Spain before returning to work. However this only lasted for a short while before she had to leave her role. The Court was told that Ms Albacete’s dream had been to become an air hostess and in order to achieve this she had taken on work as an au pair in Cork so to become fluent in English.

Judge Comerford said he believed the arguments that the Ryanair plane was in good and proper condition and it had not been negligent of the airline to use it at the time.  Ms Albacete had been injured in an unlucky accident on the stairs which, after the incident, had been discovered  by a number of Laura’s colleagues, including the flight captain, to be wet and slippery. The airline had no knowledge of these wet and slippery conditions before the accident occurred.

Six years after the accident occurred Ms Albacete is still suffering from headaches at least once a month, the Judge was advised via medial reports. Additionally he as advised that she had at least suffered amnesia directly after accident and may have been knocked unconscious.

In relation to the pain and suffering and disruption to her lifestyle he awarded her €21,000 with an extra €9,000 for difficulties she had experienced with her eyes for a short time following the fall.

Ryanair revealed that it is to appeal the award of  the work injury compensation to the cabin crew member. In a released to the media this morning, a spokesperson for the airline said: “We have instructed our lawyers to immediately appeal this decision.”


€37k award for Woman in Sexual Harrassment Case

The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) has awarded a €37,000 payout to a woman who claim that she was sexually harassed and had felt pressurised to massage antibiotic cream into her employer’s back and groin.

The woman, a former food service worker, took a legal action in relation to the the payment of wages, unfair dismissal and sexual harassment against her previous employer. The claims were found to be credible by the adjudication officer presiding over the case. The officer also disregarded  the findings of an investigator, who was hired by the employer, who had found that there was no bullying or harassmen previously.

The woman in question advised the WRC that she was subjected to “ongoing bullying and harassment and intolerable working conditions during the course of her employment which had a detrimental effect on her health and well-being”. It was claimed that she worked 25-30 hours a week but was only paid €200 regardless of the hours that she worked.

Additionally, she advised her solicitor that there had been attempts to bribe her into withdrawing her complaints and also that her previous co-employees were obstructed from speaking out on her behalf. She claimed that she was diagnosed with a mental health condition, and was on medication for depression while employed in the role.

The WRC was advised by a witness that the employer “deliberately belittled and put down the claimant”, while another witness stated it was “common knowledge that the claimant was on medication for her mental health issues and that the respondent was constantly on her back and that she was often crying”.

The case for defence rested on the evidence of an investigator that the employer hired when the woman requested her P45 in September 2015. Despite concerns regarding the impartiality of the investigator the woman agreed to the review being carried out.

The WRC adjudicator upheld the claim of sexual harassment, and awarded the complainant in question €17,450. Overall she was awarded €37,450 sexual harassment compensation.


Former Cemetery Hr Manager Awarded €47,500 in Unfair Dismissal Compensation

An unfair dismissal compensation award of €47,500 has been awarded to a former human resources manager at a cemetery by the Workplace Relations Commission. The Commission ruled that his dismissal was ‘both substantively and procedurally unfair’.

The man in question was earning a salary of €51,500 when he departed his role in October 2016, having worked at the cemetery since 1996. Following being sick during March and April 2016 he returned to work and was informed that a number of concerns had arisen in relation to his work practices.

He was suspended from work, with pay, from April to September of that year while an internal investigation was carried out.

At a disciplinary hearing conducted by the deputy CEO of the cemetery on September 29, he was advised he was being dismissed from his position with immediate effect, due to his actions constituting gross misconduct.

The former HR manager defended himself, emphasising that he had an unblemished disciplinary record before the ‘concern’ that were used to justify his dismissal.

These concerns included the removal of data from a company-owned hard drive, inadequate management of health and safety records, and the manner in which he handled the long-term absence of a colleague.

Defending himself, he argued that he had removed the data from the hard drive due to a legitimate data request relating to the non-payment of bonuses for a period of two years. The data request in question had been handled by the deputy CEO.

He also did not accept the suggestion that he had mismanaged the prolonged absence of the other person, saying that far from exposing the company to litigation or financial risk, he had in fact saved the company from harm.

Adjudication officer Eugene Hanly was critical of the dismissed man regarding all three points raised by the cemetery.

However, he ruled that the various concerns raised by the cemetery neither collectively nor individually were sufficient grounds for the dismissal and he ruled that the company must pay the man €47,500 in unfair dismissal compensation within six weeks.


Garda Appeals for Right to Sue for Fingernail Injury Compensation

Garda Noel Callan, who suffered with a disfigured fingernail injury after a patrol car door slammed on the small finger of his left hand while he was tending to a call out, has challenged a refusal to allow him pursue a compensation claim.

The Garda, who was restraining a drunk and violent man at the time the incident occurred, disputes the refusal of the Minister for Justice to sanction a claim under the Garda Compensation Acts because the Minister felt that, based on the medical reports and evidence made available to him, the injury was minor.

Mr Justice Max Barrett heard the challenge to that refusal at the High Court on Wednesday and has reserved judgment.

Legal representative for Garda Callan Richard Kean SC claimed that, in line with the Garda Compensation Acts, a member of Gardai who suffers injury in the line of work is entitled to seek compensation from the courts and gardai are awarded sums in appropriate cases.

However, Garda Callan’s legal team accepted that a Minister must authorise a work injury compensation to be made and is not obliged to do so they feel that the injury suffered was merely trivial.

As the term ‘minor injury’ is not defined in the legislation it led to the issue arising in the legal compensation action. Mr Kean argued that, though the finger injury was not profound or serious, it still should not be classified as a minor injury. He added that, due to this, the Minister’s decision was not sound and did not properly consider the medical reports that were submitted at the initial hearing.

Counsel advised the court that Garda Callan is right handed and received treatment on his left hand’s little finger. He was also absent from work for a week following the incident.

Injuries sustained including a lacerated fingernail bed and his fingernail had to be removed. Due to this the Garda experienced pain over the following eight months including a loss of sensation and tenderness when driving and completing other tasks.

Mr Kean described how Garda Callan suffered the fingernail work injury when was on duty at Swords, Co Dublin, on August 26 2011. According to the evidence, a car door slammed on Garda Callan’s left hand after a drunk man became violent after being arrested in relation to public order offences.

The medical report produced referred to the fact when it grew back the fingernail was irregular and deformed. Garda Callan continues to experience some pain and tenderness, particularly during periods of colder weather.

Counsel for the Minister, opposing Garda Callan’s application claimed that all the initial medical evidence was fully considered, including a medical report stating Garda Callan had essentially recovered from the injury he experienced on the evening in question. Due to this the Minister decided that this was a minor injury concerning the cosmetic appearance of the fingernail.

Judge Max Barrett has reserved judgement in relation to the legal challenge.


€31,000 Car Accident Compensation for Limerick Garda

Garda, and former Limerick hurler, Nigel Carey (46), of Croom, Co Limerick, was injured when the Garda patrol car he was travelling in  was rear ended in October 2010 following a high-speed chase involving a Mercedes car. He has now been awarded €31,000 in compensation for the injuries he sustained in the incident.

Barrister Kevin D’Arcy, on behalf for Garda Carey, said his client had been quite an elite athlete, a hurler, at the time of the crash in 2010. The Garda attended his GP once regarding his neck, shoulder and lower back injuries and was advised to seek physiotherapy treatment

Garda Carey advised the court that the Garda patrol car had been “sent flying” due to the force of the impact. The vehicle was so badly damaged it had to be written off following the incident.

His neck, right shoulder and lower back had been damaged in the accident. He said his shoulder was still restricted but it did not impede his movement too much.

Mr Justice Bernard Barton remarked “the best medical report supporting Garda Carey’s claim for compensation” was supplied by the chief medical officer from An Garda Síochána who had examined Mr Carey on behalf of the Minister for Public Expenditure.

The judge praised Garda Carey’s dedication during the Garda Workplace Car Accident Compensation hearing as he (Mr Carey) had taken only been absent from work for three days following the incident. He added that it was to Garda Carey’s credit that he had not made an issue of his back injury which quickly cleared up.

He had made no attempt to build up more and more medical reports to make more of his injuries than was there.


Sexual Harassment Claims Made by Healthcare Workers Against Patients

Five members of staff employed in the State healthcare system took sexual harassment claims over the last number of years, claiming they were assaulted by service users, according to details in a report published by RTE in November.

The State Claims Agency has not released specific details about where the alleged abuse happened in these or any other individual cases. The claims relate to incidents that took place between 2012 and 2016 and make up almost half of all sexual harassment claims being handled by the State Claims Agency for the State.

Up until recent days the Agency had declined to release any information on such claims. There have been calls from Fianna Fail and the Oireachtas Justice Committee for the State Claims Agency to publish a detailed breakdown of all sexual harassment claims made against individual public sector bodies. This comes after the initial refusal by the State Claims Agency to publish such a breakdown, by employer and sector, of all the sexual harassment claims which it handles on behalf of the State.

Additionally, The Oireachtas Justice and Equality Committee wrote, in November, to Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan asking him to back a call for the data to be released for public consumption. Following this the State Claims Agency released a limited amount of information on the number of such claims. However, it did not say where the claims arose from specifically.

In a statement released to the media it said that the State Claims Agency has handled 11 claims of sexual harassment in the workplace, which it said was “referable to three State Authorities, inclusive of all Delegated Healthcare Agencies, in the years 2012 to 2016”.

It also revealed that in six of the cases they’ve handled the alleged assailant and victim are both staff members. In the other five cases they said the person believed responsible for the assault was a service user in the healthcare area and the victim was a member of staff.

The State Claims Agency (SCA) commented “The claims that the SCA handle, of this nature, are claims which are wholly or mainly ones seeking compensation for injury (mental or physical).”

“We also need further information on the manner in which the SCA deals with such claims, how many of the cases end up in court, full details of all the costs incurred and whether the State seeks to recoup any of these costs from the alleged assailant.”


Making a Claim for a Hearing Loss at Work

To ensure you receive an appropriate settlement of compensation when you make a claim for a hearing loss at work, discuss your case with an injury solicitor.

When you make a claim for a hearing loss at work, there is a risk you will be undercompensated. Unlike most other physical injury compensation claims, it can be difficult to communicate to the Injuries Board the impact your injury has had on your quality of life and your emotional wellbeing.

If you do not tell the Injuries Board you are no longer able to listen to music or pursue hobbies in which hearing plays an important role, the assumption will not be made these factors affect you. Instead, the Injuries Board will assess your claim for a hearing loss at work solely on the information provided by your doctor.

Inasmuch as a work induced hearing loss is a substantial injury, the compensation for the injury alone is not going to be adequate to account for your loss of amenity and the deterioration in your quality of life. For example, you will likely not enjoy socialising so much, going to the cinema or even watching TV. These factors should be accounted for.

To ensure you receive an appropriate settlement of compensation when you make a claim for a hearing loss at work, it is recommended that you discuss you case and the consequences of your injury with an injury solicitor – or have somebody speak with an injury solicitor on your behalf if your hearing loss is total.

Before submitting your application for assessment, your injury solicitor will ask you to maintain a diary and record every time your hearing loss was a negative factor in your life. You will be surprised how often you are making new entries. The solicitor will then use this information to fully communicate to the Injuries Board the factors that should be considered in your claim for a hearing loss at work.


Unprotected Chemical Exposure Claims against the Defence Forces

New unprotected chemical exposure claims against the Defence Forces, made by a former Baldonnel-based air corps mechanic, have been published in the Journal.

Working conditions at the Casement Airbase in Baldonnel, County Dublin, have been the subject of investigation since unprotected chemical exposure claims against the Defence Forces were made in 2015 and 2016 by former air corps personnel, and as a result of a HSA inspection in October last year.

The current investigation is looking into claims that servicemen were exposed to high levels of dichloromethane for up to twelve years despite the Defence Forces being aware of the health risks. The new unprotected chemical exposure claims against the Defence Forces are potentially more serious.

According to the Journal, a “whistle-blower” has alleged air corps servicemen were not protected against exposure to carcinogenic and mutagenic chemicals at Baldonnel, and as a result at least twenty former servicemen have died due to neurological and cancer-related illnesses.

The former air corps mechanic also believes that the partners of personnel based at the aerodrome have suffered fertility issues, and that their children have been born with birth defects or development issues. Five children have allegedly died due to their parents´ exposure to toxic chemicals and, the “whistle-blower” claims, many more are living with life-changing illnesses.

The Journal reports the representative association for air corps personnel – PDFORRA – has been attempting to get attitudes towards health and safety changed for many years. The association´s general secretary Gerry Rooney told the Journal: “There’s a tendency in military organisations to focus on carrying out the operation at all costs. It´s fairly clear there was a problem with chemicals and their use.”

Attempts to get comments from the Defence Forces and Department of Defence about the new unprotected chemical exposure claims against the Defence Forces were unsuccessful, but Dublin South Central TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh was heavily critical of junior Justice Minister Paul Kehoe. He told the Journal that previous chemical exposure claims had fallen on deaf ears, despite Minister Kehoe stating the health and wellbeing of members of the Defence Forces are a priority for him.


Man Awarded Compensation for Slipping on a Path at Work

A former sewerage plant employee has been awarded compensation for slipping on a path at work after a judge found him 40% responsible for his accident.

On 3rd February 2010, the former sewerage plant employee was working as a maintenance engineer at the plant in Templemore, County Tipperary, when he slipped and fell on sewerage that had overflowed from the flumes surrounding the inlet channels.

As a result of his slip and fall accident, the employee sustained a back injury that prevented him from returning to his job. He applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of his claim but his employers – Templemore Town Council – refused to give its consent for the assessment to be conducted.

The Injuries Board issued the former employee with an authorisation to pursue his claim for compensation for slipping on a path at work in court. The hearing to determine liability took place last week at the High Court before Mr Justice Raymond Fullam.

At the hearing, Judge Fullam was told that the employee worked alone at the now decommissioned plant, and his duties included cleaning the flumes and ensuring that the paths were free from hazards. It was argued that, by failing to fulfil his duties, the employee had contributed to the accident by his own lack of care.

Judge Fullam agreed that the employee should take some responsibility for his accident, and if he had needed additional tools to fulfil his duties, he should have asked for them. However the judge also accepted the employee´s evidence that there was an issue with the pumps at the time of the accident, and that he did not have the time to clean the paths.

The judge acknowledged that flumes surrounding the inlet channels were in a bad state on the day of the accident, but said that the employee had to take some responsibility for his accident and subsequent injury. He awarded the employee €79,000 compensation for slipping on a path at work, but reduced the award by 40% to €47,400 to account for his contributory negligence.


Woman Settles Injury Claim for a Trip and Fall in a Creche

A childcare worker has settled her injury claim for a trip and fall in a creche, during a hearing to determine liability at the Circuit Civil Court.

The 26-year-old woman worked at the Precious Minds childcare facility in Dublin when, in January 2015, she was asked to assist a superior with nappy changing duties in the babies room. Although she was looking after several one and two years at the time, the woman agreed – taking with several of the children in her care who were not sleeping.

The superior member of staff subsequently left the babies room to attend to other matters – leaving the woman to look after nine children. While she was attending to one of the children, she tripped on a plastic plate that had been left on the floor and landed awkwardly on her back – sustaining soft tissue injuries to her lower back and upper leg.

Despite seeking prompt medical attention from her GP, the woman continues to suffer back pain as a result of her injury. Conscious that she may have to look for other work due to her injury, she made an injury claim for a trip and fall in a creche. Precious Minds denied their consent for the Injuries Board to conduct an assessment, and she was issued with an authorisation to pursue her claim in court.

The hearing took place before Judge Brian O´Callaghan last week at the Circuit Civil Court. The woman´s counsel claimed that Precious Minds had failed to have regard for the woman´s safety by asking her to look after so many children at the same time, and the allegations were supported by evidence from a forensic engineer, who testified that adult/child ratio was too high.

In its defence, the creche claimed it was among the woman´s duties to keep the floor clear from hazards and, by failing to do so, she was the author of her own misfortune. A short adjournment followed, after which Judge O´Callaghan was told that the injury claim for a trip and fall in a creche had been settled for an undisclosed amount without an admission of liability.


Former Dunnes Employee Awarded Compensation for a Head Injury at Work

A former Dunnes Stores employee has been awarded €15,000 compensation for a head injury at work after a hearing of the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin.

The former employee was nineteen years of age when, in March 2012, she was asked to go into the storeroom of the Dunnes Store in Tallaght Dublin to fetch a trolley loaded with bread. As she starting pushing the two-metre high trolley towards the store floor, the tray on the top shelf fell out and hit the woman on her head.

The woman was knocked to the floor by the impact of the tray and was given first aid by a colleague. She then went to the emergency department of Tallaght Hospital, where no serious injury was detected but she was admitted overnight as a precaution. The woman alleges she still suffers headaches and neck pain as a result of the accident.

The woman claimed compensation for a head injury at work against Dunnes Stores, who accepted liability for her injury but contested how much compensation for a head injury at work she was claiming. A hearing of the personal injury claim was schedule for the Circuit Civil Court for the assessment of damages only.

The hearing took place last week, when Judge Terence O´Sullivan was told that the former employee is now twenty-three years of age and works as a hairdresser. The circumstances of her accident were described to the judge, who also heard both sides argue whether or not she had sustained a “significant injury”.

Counsel representing Dunnes Stores argued that the cause of the former employee´s ongoing neck pain was not her 2012 accident, but her current hairdressing job. Judge O´Sullivan noted that the former employee had not attended her doctor for three years or made any effort to seek physiotherapy, instead relying on painkillers.

Commenting that the woman had done a poor job of looking after herself if she had indeed suffered a significant injury, Judge O´Sullivan said it was the opinion of the court that the former employee “wasn´t that badly hurt”. He awarded her €15,000 compensation for a head injury at work and gave Dunnes Stores leave to appeal the award provided they pay €10,000 to their former employee immediately.


Check-In Clerk Awarded Compensation for a Manual Lifting Work Injury

A former Ryanair check-in clerk has been awarded compensation for a manual lifting work injury after appealing the dismissal of her claim to the High Court.

The former Ryanair employee – a thirty-six year old woman from Swords in Dublin – claimed compensation for a manual lifting work injury after straining her back while lifting luggage onto a conveyor belt at Dublin Airport in July 2011.

The woman alleged there was no safe system of work for tagging the last piece of luggage to indicate to luggage handlers that check-in had closed. She also claimed that the check-in desk was an unsuitable site from which to lift bags onto the conveyor belt.

Her claim for compensation for a manual lifting work injury was originally dismissed by the Circuit Civil Court last November, when Judge Jacqueline Linnane expressed doubt about whether the plaintiff was standing or sitting – contrary to Ryanair´s training policy – at the time the injury occurred.

Costs were awarded to Ryanair and the staff recruitment company against whom the plaintiff had made the claim. However, the plaintiff was given leave to appeal the verdict – which she did – and the appeal hearing took place last week at the High Court before Mr Justice Kevin Cross.

At the hearing, Judge Cross found in the plaintiff´s favour. He ruled that, regardless of whether she had been sitting or standing, the company´s training for tagging the final piece of check-in luggage had not been “site specific” and consequently insufficient.

Judge Cross did however find that the plaintiff had contributed to her injury by twisting, rather than turning to lift the bag onto the conveyor belt. He awarded her €20,800 compensation for a manual lifting work injury, but reduced the award to €16,650 to account for her 20% contributory negligence.


Claim for Slipping on Wet Leaves at Work Resolved in Court

A claim for slipping on wet leaves at work has been resolved at the Circuit Civil Court with the award of €25,879 injury compensation to a kitchen assistant.

On 19th November 2012, Ann Groves (58) was walking along a path towards the back entrance of the Baltinglass Hospital when she slipped on wet leaves and injured her ankle. Ann – who worked at the hospital as a kitchen assistant – was able to reduce the swelling with an ice pack and later attended her GP, who strapped Ann´s ankle for support after diagnosing a soft tissue injury.

Unfortunately the pain from the ankle injury continued. Unable to sleep, walk or stand for long periods, Ann sought medical attention from a number of specialists. She underwent sessions of physiotherapy and acupuncture before having a spinal cord stimulated surgically implanted in 2014; which although it helped with the pain, did not resolve the problem completely.

On her solicitor´s advice, Ann made a claim for slipping on wet leaves at work against her employer – the Health Service Executive (HSE). The HSE denied responsibility for Ann´s injury at work, contesting the claim on the grounds that a sage cleaning system was in place at the hospital, and that Ann had contributed to her accident and subsequent injury due to her own lack of care.

With no agreement on liability, the Injuries Board issued Ann with an authorisation to pursue her claim for slipping on wet leaves at work through the courts. The case was heard earlier this week by Judge Barry Hickson at the Circuit Civil Court, who was told that Ann´s accident had occurred early on a Monday morning after a particularly stormy weekend.

The judge found in Ann´s favour and dismissed the HSE´s claims of contributory negligence after hearing evidence from a maintenance engineer who testified that the maintenance team at the hospital started work after the kitchen assistants. The judge awarded Ann €25,879 compensation in settlement of her claim for slipping on wet leaves at work.


Company Fined for Fatal Breach of Health and Safety Laws

A Dublin company has been fined €200,000 for a fatal breach of health and safety laws that resulted in the death of a 32-year-old warehouse supervisor.

On 28th November 2015, Robert Ceremuga – a warehouse supervisor at VF Coldstores Ltd – was killed instantly when racking supporting 36 tonnes of foodstuff collapsed on top of him. An engineer’s report following the accident concluded that the racking had collapsed due to the accidental impact of a forklift. It was found that the employee operating the forklift had been employed by VF Coldstores of Finglas, Dublin, just three weeks earlier and did not have the appropriate license to operate the vehicle.

The company was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) for a fatal breach of health and safety laws, and last month a representative of VF Coldstores Ltd pleaded guilty to the charges at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. The court also heard a victim impact statement read by Robert´s widow – Maria – following which Judge Melanie Greally adjourned the hearing in order to “conduct a scientific approach” to ascertaining the fine.

The hearing was reconvened yesterday, when Judge Greally imposed a fine of €200,000 on VF Coldstores Ltd for a fatal breach of health and safety laws. Speaking after the successful prosecution, the Assistant Chief Executive of the HSA – Brian Higgisson – said: “It is important that employers adequately manage and conduct work activities, in particular carrying out risk assessments before any major works, such as alterations to racking. These assessments should ensure that everyone has the necessary training, knowledge and experience to complete the work in a safe manner.”


HSENI Issues Warning about the Dangers of Slurry Pits

Farmers have been issued with a fresh warning about the dangers of slurry pits by the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland and Fire Service.

The warning about the dangers of slurry pits was released jointly by the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) and the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) – who, to date this year, have been called upon to rescue four animals that have fallen into uncovered slurry pits.

Although any loss of livestock can be devastating to the farming community, the warning about the dangers of slurry pits focuses on the risk of injury and death to farmers, farm employees and their families.

Slurry is one of the four main causes of death and serious injuries on Northern Ireland farms due to farmers and farm employees being overcome by the gas released from slurry during mixing and falling through slurry pit openings into the tank.

Malcolm Downey, who leads the farm safety team at HSENI, said “Before mixing slurry, always stop and think about the job ahead and make preparations to complete the entire task safely. You must cover all the openings and keep children and animals well away during the mixing process.”

He continued: “Stay out for 30 minutes after starting mixing or after moving or re-directing the pump and try to mix on a windy day. Do not take any chances when mixing slurry, you are risking your own life and the lives of others as well as putting your livestock in danger.”

Mr Downey´s warning about the dangers of slurry pits was echoed by Fergal Leonard – NIFRS´ Group Commander – who added: “For Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service, public safety is our priority and the best course of action is through prevention”.

Mr Leonard warned: “At this time of year, slurry is being removed from the pits and used as fertiliser on the fields. This can be hazardous if the slurry pit is not properly ventilated during mixing operations and storage lids are not replaced immediately after filling a tanker. We would appeal for farmers to be vigilant in ensuring the access hatches into slurry pits are secure and well maintained”.


Court Awards Compensation for a Waitress Hand Injury after Hearing

The High Court has awarded a woman €500,000 compensation for a waitress hand injury after finding jugs used in a hotel breakfast bar were unfit for purpose.

Sophie Caillaud (42) claimed compensation for a waitress hand injury after suffering a deep cut in her thumb when a glass jug she was filling at the Lough Rynn Hotel in Mohill, County Leitrim shattered in her hand.

Sophie underwent surgery to repair the soft damage tissue in her thumb but, due to the thumb failing to regain its strength, Sophie has been unable to return to waitressing since her accident – the injury also affecting her ability to perform day-to-day activities.

After seeking legal advice, Sophie claimed compensation for a waitress hand injury against the hotel and the two companies that manufactured and supplied the glass jugs to the hotel – Bunzl Outsourcing Ltd and Utopia Tableware Ltd.

The defendants contested the claim for compensation for a waitress hand injury due to the amount that was being requested and because, it was argued, that Sophie had contributed to the cause of her accident through her own negligence.

As the claim could not be resolved through the Injuries Board process or through negotiation, the case went to the High Court, where it was heard by Mr Justice Kevin Cross. At the hearing, Judge Cross was told that staff members had previously reported injuries due to the glass jugs shattering.

Judge Cross also heard testimony from an expert, who explained that the rapid cooling and heating of the jugs when used in a dishwasher weakened the joint between the jug´s thick handle and its thinner body. The expert concluded that the jugs were unfit for purpose.

After hearing evidence from Sophie, the judge also dismissed the allegations of contributory negligence and suggestions that Sophie was exaggerating her injuries. Commenting he found Sophie to be “entirely genuine”, Judge Cross awarded her €500,000 compensation for a waitress hand injury.


Court Hears Injury Claim for an Industrial Saw Accident at Work

The High Court yesterday started hearing an injury claim for an industrial saw accident at work, made by a man who lost two fingers in the accident.

On April 23rd 2008, Antoni Jamroziewicz (52) – a Polish national with an address in Caherdavin, County Limerick – was working as a carpenter on the construction of the Limerick Tunnel. As Antoni was about to cut a length of timber from a 1.5 metre plank with an industrial saw, he lost his balance and fell. As he fell, Antoni´s left hand went into the saw and part of his index and ring fingers were severed.

Doctors were unable to reattach the severed parts of Antoni´s fingers and, due to a combination of his physical and psychological trauma, Antoni started drinking to excess. He was later able to find more work as a carpenter, but the loss of his fingers in the accident limited his ability and affected his confidence – both professionally and socially.

Antoni made an injury claim for an industrial saw accident at work against the recruitment agency O’Neill Brennan Ltd, and German contractor Strabag International GmbH. In his claim, Antoni alleged that the area on which the industrial saw had been placed was uneven and unsafe. The two defendants denied liability for his injury, and the case to determine liability started yesterday at the High Court.

At the hearing, Antoni told the court that he had stumbled on the uneven surface, and it was this that had led to his hand going into the saw. The defendants contested Antoni´s version of events. They argued that the surface on which the industrial saw had been placed was flat and that Antoni probably put his hand too close to the saw and lost his fingers due to his own carelessness.

Furthermore, it was argued, as an experienced carpenter, Antoni could have ensured a safe working surface by placing a plywood sheet beneath the saw before he had started using it. Antoni´s barrister told the court that the saw was already in situ and that Antoni had no responsibility for setting it up or ensuring it was safe to use.

The hearing into the injury claim for an industrial saw accident at work continues today.


Cabin Crew Assistant Settles Injury Claim for a Slip on a Plane

A cabin crew assistant, who was injured on a flight from Palma to Dublin, has settled her injury claim for a slip on a plane for an undisclosed amount.

Gabrielle McGovern from Blanchardstown in Dublin was working as a cabin crew assistant aboard an Air IOM flight from Palma to Dublin when, on 26th June 2012, she slipped on a discarded plastic rubbish bag that had been left on the galley floor of the 737 aeroplane.

Gabrielle sustained injuries to her back and shoulder when she fell and has since had to undergo lumbar surgery to repair the damage to her back. Due to the pain she still experiences in her back, Gabrielle has been unable to work as a cabin crew assistant since her accident.

Following a discussion with a solicitor, Gabrielle made an injury claim for a slip on a plane against Air IOM Ltd and Air Contractors (Ireland) Ltd. She alleged in her injury claim that the defendants had not provided a method of safely securing the plastic rubbish bags to prevent the risk of injury.

Air IOM Ltd and Air Contractors (Ireland) Ltd denied their liability for Gabrielle´s injury and contested her injury claim for a slip on a plane on the grounds of contributory negligence. Consequently, the case went to the High Court to determine liability. The hearing took place last week before Mr Justice Raymond Fullam.

At the hearing, Judge Fullam was told that plastic bags had been introduced to store rubbish following the sealing of the rubbish bins as a security measure and the storage of the plastic bags – both when empty and full – was an issue that affected all the cabin crew working on Air IOM flights. He also heard that the plastic bags occasionally split open, allowing rubbish to spill onto the floor of the galley.

However, before Air IOM Ltd and Air Contractors (Ireland) Ltd had the opportunity to present their defence against the injury claim for a slip on a plane, Judge Fullam was told that Gabrielle´s claim had been settled for an undisclosed amount and the case could be struck.


Farmer Fined for Injury to a Worker at a Dairy

A farmer from Killylea in County Armagh has been fined £1,000 by magistrates for a health and safety breach that led to an injury to a worker at a dairy.

In June 2015, the unnamed worker was helping to erect a fence on land owned by the farmer – David Murphy – when his left leg was impaled by one of the prongs of a silage buckrake that fell from the front of a telescopic materials handler.

An investigation into the accident and injury to a worker at a dairy revealed that there had been a breach of Article 4 of the Health and Safety at Work Order (NI) 1978, and Murphy was prosecuted by HSENI inspectors.

At the hearing of Armagh Magistrates´ Court, Murphy pled guilty to the charge on causing an injury to a worker at a dairy and was fined £1,000. Following the hearing, Kevin Campbell – an inspector with HSENI’s Major Investigation Team – said:

“Farmers must ensure that proper systems are in place to prevent employees being injured. In addition, the correct equipment must be used and be maintained in good working order. Any misuse of equipment, or the wrong choice of machinery has the potential for things to go wrong, resulting in serious injury, as was the case in this totally preventable accident.”


Court Awards €153,000 Compensation for a Workplace Manual Lifting Injury

A former picker at a Dublin distribution centre has been awarded €153,150 compensation for a workplace manual lifting injury by a judge at the High Court.

Forty-seven year old Slovakian, Salmovir Spes, made his workplace manual lifting injury claim after hurting his back while working at the Windcanton distribution centre in Blanchardstown, Dublin. Salmovir´s job at the distribution centre was to manually lift or “pick” goods from pallets and load the goods onto trolleys for transportation to twenty-four Supervalu supermarkets in the area.

Salmovir´s injury occurred on October 29th 2011 as he was lifting trays of yoghurts from a pallet. As he turned to place the yoghurts onto a trolley, Salmovir felt a sharp pain in his back. Although he went home immediately to rest his back, and then sought prompt medical attention, Salmovir was unable to return to work at the distribution centre. He remained on sick leave until 2014 when he was made redundant.

Salmovir claimed compensation for a workplace manual lifting injury, but Windcanton withheld their consent for the Injuries Board to conduct an assessment. Salmovir was subsequently issued with an authorisation to pursue compensation for a workplace manual lifting injury through the courts, and his case was heard recently at the High Court by Mr Justice Anthony Barr.

At the hearing, Judge Barr heard that Salmovir was set a “pick rate” of 1,200 picks per seven-and-a-half hour shift. It was alleged by Salmovir that he had not been trained in the correct way of manually lifting goods in a safe way to meet his target, and that he was especially selected for heavy manual lifting because of his nationality.

The defence argued that Salmovir had not been treated differently than any other employee, that adequate training was provided and that workers were given refresher courses at regular intervals. It was suggested that Salmovir´s injury had been caused by his own negligence due to taking a short cut in the correct procedures.

Judge Barr found in Salmovir´s favour – commenting he was satisfied that Salmovir´s back injury was attributable to a lack of adequate training, unreasonably high pick rates and being forced to take short cuts to meet his target. The judge said there was no evidence to support Salmovir´s allegations of discrimination or the defence´s argument that Salmovir had contributed to his injury through his own lack of care.

The judge awarded Salmovir €153,150 compensation for a workplace manual lifting injury, saying he was satisfied that the plaintiff had suffered a significant injury to his lower back due to his employer´s negligence that not only rendered him “permanently disabled in the work aspects of his life”, but also continued to cause him pain in his day-to-day domestic activities.


Negligence Determined in Claim for a Workplace Accident at Dunnes

A High Court judge has found Dunnes Stores negligent in a claim for a workplace accident in Dunnes, made by an employee who fell down a flight of stairs.

Jean O´Reilly from Wexford was employed as a checkout operator at her local Dunnes Stores in Redmond Square, when – on 9th December 2011 – she lost her footing while reading the staff noticeboard and fell down a flight of stairs leading from the staff locker room to the ground floor.

Jean was taken to hospital by ambulance, where she was treated for soft tissue injuries to her neck and back. Jean had to wear a neck brace to support her head for the six weeks she was unable to work and also underwent a course of physiotherapy to help her recover from her ordeal.

After obtaining legal advice, Jean made a claim for a workplace accident in Dunnes against her employer –  alleging that the staff noticeboard was dangerously positioned too close to the top of the stairs and that, had there been a handrail of both sides of the flight of stairs, her fall could have been prevented.

Dunnes Stores contested the claim for a workplace accident at Dunnes and refused to consent to an Injuries Board assessment. Jean was subsequently issued with an authorisation to pursue her workplace accident claim through the courts process and her case was heard at the High Court.

At the end of the hearing, Mr Justice Raymond Fullam found in Jean´s favour. Judge Fullam ruled that Dunnes Stores had been negligent in two respects – for the dangerous placement of the staff noticeboard at the top of the flight of stairs and for the lack of a handrail on both sides of the flight of stairs.

Judge Fullam awarded Jean €81,500 compensation in settlement of her claim for a workplace accident at Dunnes – €65,000 general damages for her pain, suffering and loss of amenity as a result of her accident, and €16,500 special damages for her loss of income and the costs she had incurred.


Chef´s Claim for a Restaurant Kitchen Injury Resolved in Court

A chef´s claim for restaurant kitchen injury has been resolved at the Circuit Civil Court with an award of €15,000 compensation to the injured plaintiff.

Shijun Liu was ordinarily a chef at the Howards Way Restaurant in Rathgar; but, in March 2013, he was working at the restaurant´s sister establishment in Churchtown, Dublin, when he went to the assistance of a cleaner who was trying to untangle the domestic powerhose used to clean the kitchen.

As Shijun and the cleaner attempted to untangle the kinks in the hose, the hose suddenly sprayed scalding water at Shijun – severely burning his ankle. Shijun – who was unfamiliar with the cleaning procedures at the Churchtown restaurant – was taken to the VHI Clinic in Dundrum, where he was treated for burns.

Due to the severity of his injuries, Shijun was unable to return to his kitchen duties for two weeks. He made a claim for a restaurant kitchen injury against his employer – Declan Howard trading as Howards Way Restaurant – but consent was denied for the Injuries Board to conduct an assessment of Shijun´s claim.

With an authorisation from the Injuries Board to pursue his claim for a restaurant kitchen injury, Shijun sought legal advice. Shijun was advised to take his case to the Circuit Civil Court, where it was heard earlier this week by Mr Justice Raymond Groarke.

At the hearing, Judge Groarke was told that the domestic powerhose used to clean the restaurant kitchen was unfit for purpose because the heat of the water being used would have softened it. The judge found in favour of Shijun and awarded him €15,000 in settlement of his claim for a restaurant kitchen injury – commenting that he had found Shijun´s version of events very compelling.


Social Care Worker Injury Claim Resolved during Court Hearing

A social care worker injury claim, made by a man who broke his knee while running after a child in his care, has been resolved during a court hearing.

In June 2009, Joseph Kavanagh (54) from Enfield in County Meath was working in a Special Care Residential Unit for young people with behavioural problems when he was asked to accompany a teenager on a family visit. At the end of the visit, the teenager – who cannot be named for legal reasons – became agitated and ran away from his carer.

Joseph gave pursuit, but he twisted his knee as he ran after the child. Joseph fell and cracked his knee on the road surface – a later x-ray revealing that the knee was broken. Since the incident, Joseph has experienced ongoing pain from his injury that interferes with his daily activities and has a four centimetre scar from his fall.

After seeking legal advice, Joseph made a social care worker injury claim against his employer – the Health Service Executive (HSE). In his legal action, Joseph alleged that there had been a failure to carry out a risk assessment following earlier agitation prior to the visit. Joseph argued that a risk assessment would have shown that another member of staff should have accompanied him and the child.

The HSE denied liability for Joseph´s injury, and the social care worker injury claim went to the Circuit Civil Court where Joseph´s case was presented to Judge Francis Comerford. However, before the HSE could present its defence against the social care worker injury claim, the judge was told that a settlement had been agreed and the claim had been resolved.

Details of the settlement were not released to the court, but it is understood that liability for Joseph´s injury was shared on a 50/50 basis. Judge Comerford struck out the case after awarding Joseph his legal costs.


High Court Approves Compensation Settlement for a Work Accident Claim

The High Court has approved a compensation settlement for a work accident claim made by the widow of a man killed while working at Connacht Sportsground.

On 30th April 2008, Declan Byrne (31) was killed when a 1.4 tonne steel beam fell on him while he was trying to realign it during the construction of a new gym at the Connacht Sportsground in Galway. An investigation into Declan´s death resulted in charges being brought against the company for whom he worked – CDM Steel Ltd – under the 2005 Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act.

The company was acquitted on the charges in November 2013, after the Galway Circuit Criminal Court heard that it had been Declan´s decision to use scaffolding and a bottle jack – rather than lift the beam with a crane – because the blockwork of the building was so far advanced. However, the judge in the case criticised the lack of supervision and an “appalling lack of communication” at the site.

Following the acquittal of her husband´s former employer, Dolores Byrne from Ballyhaunis in County Mayo made a work accident claim against CDM Steel Ltd alleging that the company´s negligence was responsible for Declan´s death. She also sued Portant Developments Ltd – the main contractor for the development of the site, the Connacht Branch of the Rugby Football Union and the Irish Rugby Football Union – the owners of the Connacht Sportsground.

All four parties denied their role in Declan´s death, and alleged that he failed to have regard for his own safety by attempting to realign the steel beam without the appropriate lifting equipment. However, at the High Court, Mr Justice Kevin Cross heard that a compensation settlement for the work accident claim had been agreed amounting to €500,000.

Judge Cross approved the compensation settlement for a work accident claim, expressing his sympathies to Dolores and her two children for their tragic and irreplaceable loss. He told the family that, although the compensation settlement for a work accident claim was a good one that he was happy to approve, “nothing can replace what you have lost”.


Man Awarded Compensation for an Injury Caused by Inadequate Training

A former meat factory worker has been awarded €415,000 compensation for an injury caused by inadequate training at the High Court.

On 11th January 2011, Mohammed Ali Saleh from Mullingar in County Westmeath was working at the Moyvalley meat factory in County Kildare, when he got a pain in his back while working on the pluck station of the factory. A medical examination revealed that Mohammed had suffered a prolapse disc.

Although Mohammed had suffered back problems before, this was considerably worse. Mohammed underwent an MRI scan which showed that he required urgent decompression but, despite undergoing two operations, he was diagnosed with failed back syndrome and now uses crutches to support himself.

Mohammed sought legal advice and claimed compensation for an injury caused by inadequate training. He alleged in his legal action that Moyvalley Meats Ireland Limited had never shown him adequately how to perform the plucking process without having to engage in a twisting manoeuvre – the twisting manoeuvre having been identified as the reason for the prolapsed disc.

Moyvalley Meats contested Mohammed´s claim. The company argued that he had been given on the job training and that his current back injury was a result of an existing condition. With there being no resolution to the claim for compensation for an injury caused by inadequate training, the case went to the High Court, where it was heard by Mr Justice Kevin Cross.

At the hearing, Judge Cross heard an expert witness testify that the training provided for Mohammed consisted of having him watch a fellow employee work on the pluck station. The expert said that no safe system of work had been implemented that could avoid the twisting manoeuvre, and that the training Mohammed had received was entirely inadequate for him to do the job safely.

Judge Cross found in Mohammed´s favour. He said that Moyvalley meats was in breach of statutory duty in failing to train him in what should have been the correct posture to avoid straining his back. The judge awarded Mohammed €415,000 compensation for an injury caused by inadequate training to account for his pain and suffering and loss of income.