Supermarket worker awarded damages of €85,000

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A shop assistant took a case against her employer for injuries sustained while carrying out her duties.

The shop assistant was required to fetch a large number of boxes from a storeroom weighing between 13kg and 15kg containing a number of suitcases of different sizes. Justice Barr stated that the boxes were stacked above her head height and she had to knock them off the top of the pile and let them fall before loading them onto a trolley. After filling one trolley she suffered a back injury while loading the second trolley.

The judge said that there was a dispute between the parties on whether the worker had any manual handling training with the supermarket prior to the commencement of her employment with the store. Justice Barr said that she did not receive adequate training and there was no proper follow up to the training. If the supermarket had given any follow up training they would have known that the employee was using incorrect and dangerous methods of lifting. Justice Barr said that these methods of lifting should have been noticed by the supermarket and corrected.

Justice Barr said that the employee had a constant pain in her back following on from the incident and he awarded her €80,000 in general damages, €60,000 of this was for past pain and €20,000 was for future pain. He awarded a further €5,000 for agreed special damages bringing the total amount of damages to €85,000.

The above case illustrates how injured employees can successfully take a case against an employer for injuries sustained due to the lack of adequate training.

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