Client Wins £50,000 for Back Injury Claim

Back Injury Claim
LLB (Hons) & LPC Stacy Pimlott
Case by: LLB (Hons) & LPC Stacy Pimlott Updated:

What Was Our Client’s Job?

Our client was employed as a meat supplier based in a factory in Leeds. His employment spanned from November 1998 and ended around May 2017 after a back injury. During his employment, he worked as a Van and HGV Driver until 2015 when he became a Loading Bay Manager. His job involved a lot of heavy lifting of carcasses. Without the proper support and training from his employer, his heavy lifting at work caused a back injury that eventually required surgery. As a result, he came to AWH to make a back injury claim.

What Did the Job Entail?

Our client worked around 42.5 hours a week. His days of work were Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday where he started work at 2:00 am, and Monday and Friday where he started work at 3:00 am. There was no set finishing time and so he would usually finish around 12:00-13:00.

With his colleagues, he would be split into two groups. There would be 8 people working at the start of the day but only 2 of those would help our client to load the HGV wagons. As a result, he could have anything between 1-20 wholesalers or shops of stock to load onto the wagon.

Back Injury Claim Caused by Heavy Lifting of Carcasses

A normal order would usually consist of three different types of carcasses: lamb, pork, and beef. Each lamb carcass would weigh approximately 16-25kg. Each pig carcass weighed approximately 60-90kg. The carcasses are then stored in various fridges around the plant.

Our client would carry the whole lamb carcasses, but most of the pig carcasses were split in half.

The lamb carcasses are hung by their back legs on a hook. The pig carcasses would be hung from a chain that is allocated to a rail system that goes around the plant.

Loading the Pork

Carrying the split pigs was heavy work. The job required two people to both carry and take the pig off the chain to unhook it. The pig was then carried on one of the person’s shoulders before being weighed and hooked onto a new system on the wagon.

Some customers would have their meat slaughtered at the Leeds site and this meat would not need weighing and could be put straight onto the wagon.

Our client would move pigs 5 days a week with Tuesday involving the largest amount which was around 400 pigs. On the other 4 days, the average amount of pigs he would carry would vary but on average it was around 200 pigs a day.

Heavy Lifting of the Beef

The beef would come in two halves and was also hung from a rail system. The employees would move the beef from the fridges to the loading bay and then weigh the beef with an overhead scale. The employees would then cut the halves into half again to make a fore of beef and a hind of beef.

Cutting the Beef to Size

Our client was provided with numerous knives for butchering which were used for cutting different cuts. The meat cleaver was used to cut through bones, as was the hand saw. There was also a machine on the loading bay called a beef loading arm which was used to load multiple sides of beef or large orders of beef onto the wagon.

Using the arm was more time-consuming because our client had to operate the machine. However, it was easier on the employee than lifting the large orders of beef. Despite this, the machine was not always used as the employers thought it was more time-consuming than manually loading the meat. Therefore, they preferred for the employees to hand load the meat.

Loading the Beef

Like the pork, loading the beef onto the wagon was hard labour and required strength. The job required a combination of heavy lifting and forward momentum. Also like the lamb, the beef was carried on the employee’s shoulder. There would be another person waiting to give assistance to get the meat on the hook.

The two pieces of beef could weigh anything from 50kg up to around 110kg. Our client would repeat this process multiple times an hour. With his two colleagues, he could be loading up to five wagons in the morning as the target was to get the wagons loaded as fast as possible so they could start their day delivering.

The distance from the fridge to the scales varied depending on which fridge the meat was stored in. The further fridge was approximately 150 feet from the loading bay whilst the nearest was between 20-30 feet from the loading bay and from the scale to the wagon was roughly 50 feet.

When he moved cow quarters, he would lift around 20 per day. He would need to deliver the carcasses to the butchers and then unload them.

Loading the Lamb

Like the beef and pork, the lamb carcass would have to be lifted onto our client’s shoulder. He would then carry the carcass from the fridge to the scales, then the scales to the wagon. Once at the wagon, he would have to manually place it onto a hook. He would lift roughly 50 lamb carcasses per day.

Heavy Lifting During Deliveries

Our client would spend around 60% of the time on his employer’s premises carrying out the work as Loading Bay Manager and the remaining 40% as a Driver carrying out deliveries. He would get onto the back of the van and move the carcasses to the edge of the van by sliding the hooks with the carcasses on and then lift them from the vehicle and carry them into the shop.

When he was carrying out deliveries, our client would try to get the wagon as close to the door of the premises as possible.

Depending on which shop it was our client might have to carry the carcasses up or down steps. He would lift the carcasses onto his shoulder to carry them from the vehicle to the shop.

On average he would estimate he carried each carcass for around 4 minutes. On average he had around 12 deliveries to make per day.

Heavy Lifting at Work Causing Back Injury Claim

Our client did not receive adequate training and as a result, suffered from back pain symptoms. He has suffered from some back pain symptoms since around 2010 but they were intermittent. However, in early 2017 his back pain symptoms returned and became much more severe. Our client sought medical treatment for this.

Our client still has ongoing problems with his back which are now going to be rectified with surgical intervention.

The Outcome of Our Client’s Claim

With the expert help of our industrial disease solicitor Stacy Pimlott, our client was able to put forward a claim against their employer and won an award of £50,000.

Starting your Back Injury Claim

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