Outdated Machinery Results in Back Injury Claim

Back injury claim
LLB (Hons) & LPC Stacy Pimlott
Case by: LLB (Hons) & LPC Stacy Pimlott

Our client has recently won a settlement of £4507.05 for a back injury claim after outdated machinery left him continuously heavy lifting.

What Was the Case?

Our client was employed as a Team Leader, working in concrete production in a factory in Somerset.

As a Team Leader, he was required to manually handle heavy concrete slabs and face plates. Each plate weighed approximately 30-40kgs.

When the presses produced the slabs, he would have to lift them and carry them to a pit. This was around a distance of 10 metres. His employer provided him with no mechanical or manual assistance that would allow him to perform the task without risk of injury.

Repeatedly Heavy Lifting

The Claimant would be situated mainly on two presses called Press No 5 and Press No 6. The presses were run with two different methods. On Press No 5 the only way to extract the concrete slabs from the machine was to bend over and reach into the machine, lifting the slabs in this position. This was very strenuous on the back. As the task was done repetitively it became very arduous and cumbersome.

Outdated Machinery Resulting in Back Injury Claim

Press No 6 was controlled by manual controls in comparison to Press No 5. The Claimant had to move heavy slabs into place by hand whilst the machine. As a result, the task was carried out in a repetitive, awkward, and arduous manner. This involved lifting and supporting the weight of the slabs away from the body whilst bending and twisting.

On Press No 5 there would be a vacuum pad that would pick up the concrete slabs, drop these onto the table. Our client would have to pick these up with his back arched due to the nature of the product and the weight. On average, he would do this around 50 times per shift.

On Press No 6, our client would have to stand beside the press and the slabs would be transported from the table onto pallets. This machine had to be manually controlled from left to right. Our client stated that you would have to put pressure on this to move it onto the pallets. A lot of pressure was required to be placed onto this so that the concrete did not bang together.

Poorly Maintained Machines

The machines were around 40-50 years old and Press No 5 and Press No 6 were defective as they would always drop the slab. This resulted in more lifting and twisting to pick these up. These machines were poorly maintained, and they rarely fixed them. When they did, they were only quick fixes, and the machines would break quickly afterwards.

Lack of Assistance When Manually Lifting

To continue production of different concrete slabs, the face plates on the presses required changing approximately 5 times per day. Our client was required to carry out this work alone and without assistance. Given that each face plate weighed around 30-40kg it would cause excessive pressure to be placed on his lower back. To change these plates, he would have to lean over the machine whilst supporting the weight of the plate with his hands away from his body.

Heavy Lifting Resulting in Our Client’s Back Injury Claim

As a result, our client sustained a back injury, caused by the repetitive and strenuous task of lifting the concrete slabs and face plates on a repetitive basis.

He claims that his symptoms commenced in or around February 2017 when he developed acute onset of low back pain. On this occasion, he finished his shift but was unable to return to work for approximately 5 weeks. When he did so he was placed on loading shovel which was like that of a JCB however, this had no suspension and had a springy seat. Therefore, the alternative duties continued provided by his employer, continued to aggravate his symptoms.

When our client returned to his work after 5 weeks off his duties were unaltered and his lower back pain recurred. Shortly after he was signed off work. While he was off sick, his employment was terminated.

Due to his back injury, our client was prescribed analgesics and muscle relaxants and then underwent physiotherapy. His sleep was also disturbed by lower back pain and his leisure, social and domestic activities were restricted.

In May 2017, The Claimant found alternative lighter work in May 2017.

Expert Help from Our Industrial Disease Solicitors

With the expert help of our industrial disease solicitor Stacy Pimlott, the case was settled in a three-day trial with our client being awarded £4,507.05.

Starting your Back Injury Claim

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