High Court Hears Back Injury Claim due to Workplace Conditions

The High Court has heard a back injury claim due to workplace conditions, and awarded the plaintiff €415,000 compensation for no longer being able to work.

In January 2011, Mohammed Ali Saleh was employed as a slaughter hall man at the Moyvalley Meats factory in County Kildare. While working at the pluck station on 11th January, Mohammed twisted to put meat from a dead animal onto a hook and felt a sharp pain in his back. Mohammed underwent an MRI scan that revealed that he had suffered a prolapse disc and needed urgent decompression treatment.

Despite undergoing two operations on his back, Mohammed´s condition did not improve. He was diagnosed with failed bad syndrome and suffers from persistent pain in his back and legs, has an associated foot weakness, and can only walk with the assistance of crutches. Unable to work, Mohammed made a back injury claim due to workplace conditions against his employer.

In his legal action against Moyvalley Meats Ireland Limited, Mohammed alleged that he had not been adequately trained to perform his duties without conducting a twisting manoeuvre and that the company had not introduced a safe system of work. The company contested Mohammed´s back injury claim due to workplace conditions, and a hearing was schedule for the case to be heard at the High Court.

At the hearing, Moyvalley Meats told Mr Justice Kevin Cross that Mohammed had been given on the job training and that his injury was attributable to an existing back condition. However, an expert witness testified that no safe system of work had been implemented to avoid the twisting manoeuvre responsible for Mohammed´s back injury, and that the only training Mohammed had received was watching an operative perform the task for a short period of time.

Judge Cross found in Mohammed´s favour, and awarded him €415,000 compensation in settlement of his back injury claim due to workplace conditions. The judge explained that the size of the compensation settlement reflected Mohammed´s lost income and his past and future pain and suffering.