Warehouse Worker Injury Claim Resolved in Court

24th May 2016

A warehouse worker injury claim has been resolved at the High Court, with the plaintiff being awarded €153,150 compensation against his former employer.

Slovakian national, Salmovir Spes (47), made a warehouse worker injury claim after suffering a manual handling injury on October 29th 2011 while working at the Windcanton distribution centre in Blanchardstown, Dublin.

Salmovir´s job at the distribution centre was to lift or “pick” goods from pallets and load them onto trolleys to be transported to twenty-four Supervalu supermarkets in the area. However, on the day in question, Salmovir injured his back when lifting five trays of yoghurts from a pallet.

Despite going home and resting his back, and then seeking prompt medical attention, Salmovir was unable to return to his job at Windcanton. He remained on sick leave until 2014, when he was made redundant by the distribution centre.

Salmovir made a warehouse worker injury claim, but his former employers declined their consent for the Injuries Board to conduct an assessment. Salmovir was issued with an authorisation to pursue his claim through the courts, and his case was heard this week by Mr Justice Anthony Barr at the High Court.

At the hearing, Judge Barr was told that Salmovir was set a “pick rate” of 1,200 picks per day. It was claimed that Salmovir had not been given adequate safety training to meet his target, and that he was picked on for heavy manual handling tasks because of his nationality.

In its defence, Windcanton argued that adequate training was provided, that workers were given refresher courses at regular intervals, and that Salmovir had been treated no differently than any other employee. It was claimed that Salmovir had been responsible for his injury by taking short cuts to meet his “pick rate” target.

Judge Barr found in Salmovir´s favour and awarded him €153,150 in settlement of his warehouse worker injury claim. The judge commented he was satisfied that Salmovir´s back injury was due 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 claims of discrimination against his former employer or the argument of contributory negligence presented by the defence. The judge added that Salmovir had suffered a significant lower back injury that not only rendered him “permanently disabled in the work aspects of his life”, but also continued to cause him pain on a day-to-day basis.

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