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.