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Home > News > Overfilled Post Bags Cause Injury To Post Van Driver

19th September 2008

Overfilled Post Bags Cause Injury To Post Van Driver

Employed by his local Police Authority, our client suffered an injury at work because his employer, the defendants, had failed to uphold their duty of care to protect him against risk of injury in his workplace. Our client had been a post van driver for several years with the defendant when the accident at work occurred.

Failure to Provide Manual Handling Training

As part of his duties, our client was required to lift postbags, load them into a van and then deliver them to other locations within the Police Authority Area.

His employer had provided no manual handling training and although our client had received manual handling training many years before in a previous job, this had been related to a different profession.

Our client had also stated that there were time constraints placed upon them, which meant that he and his colleagues were reluctant to use a battery powered sack truck provided to lift heavy sacks up stairs or into the van. Moreover, our client would still have had to lift the bags on to the sack truck so this would not have avoided his injury.

Failure to Provide Equipment Fit For Purpose

There was often a shortage of postbags so they were frequently overfilled, preventing the closure of the zip. They often contained a variety of items including post but also a number of files or audio cassettes, which also made the bags bulky and awkward to carry. The bags had no handles and when overfilled it was difficult to assess their weight until lifted.

Our client had previously complained about the weight of the bags when overfilled, but no action had been taken to ensure further supplies or bags that were more appropriate. Since our client’s injury at work, alternative bags have been provided which are larger and have handles.

Injured At Work

On the day of the accident at work, he attempted to lift a bag containing a mixture of items. It was the practise of our client to use any excess material in the bag to lift them with his thumb and forefinger, in a pincer type movement. As he attempted to lift the bag from the floor, he immediately felt pain in his thumb and lower joint.

During the day, although attempting to continue working, our client experienced considerable pain and his thumb became swollen and inflamed. He took painkillers but when there was no improvement the next day, on the advice of his GP, he attended his local casualty department.

Advised that he had sustained a sprain to his thumb, he was unable to return to work for several weeks, and then only able to carry out light duties. Eventually however, his injury improved, and he returned to his normal duties.

Breaches of PUWER

The Judge found that there were breaches of PUWER regulations in that our client

The Judge ruled that it was not sufficient for the employer to rely on manual handling training provided by previous employers, and that specific training in lifting and handling the postbags should have been provided to our client.

The defendant denied there were time constraints but the Judge found that this was in fact the case.

The Judge also found that there were other breaches of regulations under PUWER in that the bags were not appropriate for the purpose when overfilled.

Neither had the defendant carried out any risk assessment, which would have identified the possible risks involved in lifting bags without knowing their weight.

Compensation Awarded for Injury At Work

The Judge found for our claimant with no contributory negligence, which the defendant had argued.

He was awarded damages in accordance with Quantum agreed prior to the start of the trial.

Compensation Claims For Manual Handling

Whether your injury at work was due to the negligence on the part of your employer, or some other cause, Clear Answers’ lawyers have teams of specialists waiting to help you, should you decide to instruct us to represent you in your compensation claim. We have extensive experience in all types of accident at work compensation claims, particularly those involving manual handling injuries.

If you select Clear Answers to represent you in your accident claim, our specialist lawyers will be happy to provide you with expert legal advice. They will talk you through the claims process in plain English and answer any questions you may have regarding your claim.

If you or a family member has been injured in these circumstances, please ring us on 0800 783 9019 and speak to one of our advisers. Alternatively, if you prefer to complete one of our online compensation claim forms, one of our representatives will contact you as quickly as possible

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