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Compensation Settlement Awarded for Workplace Injury

Posted: March 20th, 2016

The six-figure settlement of compensation was awarded to the former employee after he sustained lifting injuries whilst working in a distribution centre in Dublin.

The worker, forty-seven year-old Slovakian Salmovir Spes, sustained the injuries whilst working as a lifter, or “picker” at the Windcanton Distribution Centre in Blanchardstown, Dublin. His job entailed lifting (“picking”) goods from palettes and transferring them to trolleys. The goods are then transporter to the various twenty-four hour Supervalu supermarkets in the area.

Salmovir was injured in October 2011 when he was attempting to transfer a pallet of yogurts to a trolley. Upon lifting them, he felt a sharp pain in his back. He sought medical attention and then rested his back, but the pain was so severe he could not return to work. He remained on sick leave until 2014, at which point he was made redundant.

Salmovir consulted solicitors on his situation before proceeding to make a claim for the workplace injury. However, when the Injuries Board requested permission from his employers, Windcanton, to conduct an investigation of the claim, they withheld their consent. Salmovir was then allowed to proceed with his claim, and it was heard earlier this month by Mr Justice Anthony Barr in the Dublin High Courts.

At the hearing, evidence was given that alleged Salmovir was not adequately trained to carry out his work that meant he could meet any assigned quotas in a safe and timely manner. In a shift that lasts nearly eight hours, Salmovir was expected to do around 1,200 “picks”, and he alleges that his nationality meant he was chosen specifically to do any heavy manual lifting.

The defence disputed these claims, saying not only that Salmovir’s nationality was irrelevant to the work assigned to him and that he was treated as any other employee was, but that he had been trained in the correct procedures for his work. The company also claim they provide “refresher” courses for their employees regularly. They argued that Salmovir had caused his own injuries by taking short-cuts.

After hearing the evidence, Judge Barr found in Salmovir’s favour. He said he was satisfied that Salmovir’s injuries were caused by a lack of training, as well as an unreasonably high quota that put pressure on Salmovir to take short cuts. However, the judge added that he found no evidence to support allegations of discrimination, or that Salmovir caused his own injury.

The judge awarded Salmovir €153,150, commenting that he believed that the former lifter had suffered a significant injury to his lower back that “permanently disabled in the work aspects of his life” and affected other day-to-day activities.

Categories: Work Injury News

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