Category: Injury at Work Ireland

If you sustain an injury at work in Ireland for which you are not wholly to blame, you may be entitled to claim compensation. Many work injuries in Ireland are avoidable, and when an employer´s lack of care has resulted in a loss, an injury or the deterioration of an existing condition, you should speak with a solicitor about making a compensation claim. One of the major benefits of seeking professional legal advice is that the Injuries Board application for assessment provides little opportunity for you to express how your injury has affected your quality of life – are area which could substantially increase how much compensation for an injury at work in Ireland you are entitled to receive. Therefore you are invited to discuss the circumstances of your injury at work in Ireland with an experienced solicitor on our freephone Solicitors Advisory Panel.

Toxic Chemical Personal Injuries Lead to Death of Air Corps Members’ Children According to Whistleblower Allegations

A protected disclosure alleging that children of Air Corps workers lost their lives due to toxic chemical personal injury at Baldonnel Airfield has been made by a Defence Forces whistleblower.

Previously in 2017 a document was published to the public in which a worker employed by the Defence Forces claimed to have proof of the “the untimely deaths of at least 20 adults…of which I believe died of illness related to unprotected chemical exposure”.

Included in this dossier were evidence that the death of a newborn girl happened due to ventricular septal defect (heart defect), a five year old boy died while having surgery to address a ‘malrotated intestine’ and a girl aged 15 died after contracting Ewing’s sarcoma, a form of cancer and her father is suffering from leukaemia at present.

There have been claims made about the effects of chemical exposure on the wives of members of the defence forces. A mechanic, who previously worked with the Air Corps, noticed that a number of these women had experienced more than one miscarriages and in one particular case, a woman had eight consecutive miscarriages. An independent third party, former civil servant Christopher O’Toole, was appointed by the Minister for Defence in 2016, to investigate the allegations

Leader of Fianna Fáil Mr Micheál Martin said he believes a Commission of Investigation is now necessary. He stated “The situation is far from satisfactory because with his opening comments the report’s author is essentially saying he cannot fulfill the terms of reference. From the Government’s point of view they established this review, they must have known the terms of reference could not be fulfilled. It’s farcical.”

Although the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) have advised that procedures into risk assessment need to be reviewed, a whistleblower has said that these steps are “too little, too late”,especially in the case of those who have lost family members or who have developed life-changing illnesses and injuries.

There have been allegations issued that these deaths are due to organizational failure on the part of the Defence Forces which meant that Air Corps personnel were exposed to toxic chemicals. The Defence Forces are now facing Toxic Chemical Personal Injuries compensation actions by some former employees. The Defence Forces have released a statement stating, “Given these matters are subject to litigation, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

 

 

Mouth Injury Compensation of €30,000 for Garda Injured While at Work

A garda, Sean Kelly aged 31 who is due to be married next weekend, has been awarded €30,000 mouth injury compensation after he was assaulted while at work on January 7 2012.

Garda Kelly,  said that he is still sensitive about a scar on his upper lip and advised Mr Justice Bernard Barton he was still paranoid about the star-shaped scar. Despite this he was still able to joke to the the judge that he may have to don some make-up when he gets married next Saturday.

The incident happened just under five years ago when he was on duty. Counsel for Garda Kelly, Barrister Fiona Gallagher, advised the High Court that he had been called to a house in Finglas regarding a man who, had just been released from a psychiatric institution where he had been treated. He was threatening to self harm. Garda Kelly was accompanied by two colleagues.

Garda Kelly stated that the individual, who had swallowed large amounts of non-prescriptive medication, had shut himself in his bathroom. From there he was threatening to jump from the bathroom window. When they tried to apprehend the man Garda Kelly was struck on his mouth with a toilet brush holder, which lacerated his lip, in the resulting melee.

Garda Kelly had to be taken to Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown to be treated immediately due to the major bleeding that followed. When he was treated, a piece of porcelain was found to be still stuck in his upper lip. X-rays showed he had not been inflicted with any major fractures.

After this he was given an anaesthetic injection and received seven stitches, many of them on the inside of his mouth. Later, when the scar later became infected, he had to follow a course of antibiotics until the infection was cured. The scar on the outside of his lip was noticeable at close distance and he was still very paranoid about it.

Barrister Derek Ryan, Counsel for the Minister for Public Expenditure, advised the High Court that, due to the results of conflicting medical reports, he did not feel Garda Kelly had suffered Post Traumatic Stress to the degree that there should be an exceptional compensation award.

State Healthcare Employees Make Five Sexual Harassment Claims Against Patients

Five employees working in the State healthcare system filed sexual harassment claims over the last number of years, believing they were assaulted by patients, according to details in a recent media report.

The State Claims Agency has not published specific details about where the claimed abuse took place in these or any other separate cases.

The claims are in connection to incidents that took place between 2012 and 2016 and encompass almost half of all sexual harassment claims being managed by the State Claims Agency for the State.

Up until recently, the State Claims Agency had declined to release any further information on such claims.

There have been calls from political party Fianna Fail and the Oireachtas Justice Committee for the State Claims Agency to release a detailed breakdown of all sexual harassment claims made against individual public sector bodies. This comes after the original refusal by the State Claims Agency to release such a breakdown, by employer and sector, of all the sexual harassment claims which it manages for the State.

The Oireachtas Justice and Equality Committee made contact with Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan during November to ask him to back a call for the data to be published. After this the State Claims Agency published a small amount of information on the number of such sexual harassment claims. However, it did not state where the claims originated from specifically.

In an official statement published it said that the State Claims Agency has managed 11 individual claims of sexual harassment in the workplace, which it stated was “referable to three State Authorities, inclusive of all Delegated Healthcare Agencies, in the years 2012 to 2016”.

It also stated that in six of the cases they’ve managed the claimed assailant and victim are both employees. In the other five cases they said the person allegedly responsible for the assault was a service user in the healthcare sector and the victim was a employee.

The State Claims Agency (SCA) stated “The claims that the SCA handle, of this nature, are claims which are wholly or mainly ones seeking compensation for injury (mental or physical).”

 

Advice about Compensation for Noise Induced Hearing Loss

A settlement of injury compensation for noise induced hearing loss should take into account the consequences of the injury on your quality of life.

If you have suffered damage to your hearing due to an employer´s failure to provide a safe environment for you to work in, you will be eligible to claim compensation for noise induced hearing loss. The usual process for this is to apply to the Injuries Board for an assessment of your claim and support your application with a report from your doctor explaining the extent of your injury.

It is also important you communicate the consequences of your injury as well. The Injuries Board can only assess your application based on the information provided. If you fail to mention your quality of life has deteriorated and you have less self-confidence than previously because of your injury, the Injuries Board will be unaware of these factors and not account for them in the assessment of your claim.

The consequences of your injury will have to be supported with documentary evidence wherever possible for the consequences of your injury to be considered in the assessment of compensation for noise induced hearing loss. In many cases this can be difficult, and is why you should seek legal advice from an injury solicitor with experience of submitting applications for assessment to the Injuries Board.

In order to get a full understanding of how your noise induced hearing loss has affected your quality of life, your solicitor will ask you to keep a diary and record the times when your loss of hearing has made a noticeable difference to your quality of life. This may be when you find it hard to watch a film on TV, follow a conversation in a pub, or enjoy an outing with your family.

Your solicitor will help you complete the application to the Injuries Board to ensure these factors are included in their assessment, and to ensure you receive an appropriate settlement of injury compensation for noise induced hearing loss. If you are unable to speak over the phone with a solicitor because of the extent of your injury, you can have somebody call on your behalf or arrange a home visit.

Toxic Chemical Exposure Claims at Casement Airbase

The Journal published an article about toxic chemical exposure claims at Casement Airbase and the effects chemicals had on servicemen and their families.

According to the article, a former Air Corps mechanic has made toxic chemical exposure claims at Casement Airbase to highlight a lack of health and safety procedures. The “whistle-blower” has alleged that servicemen, their partners and their children have suffered illnesses and development issues – and in some cases death – due to exposure to carcinogenic and mutagenic chemicals.

The claims were made under a protected disclosure agreement in an address to Ministers, TDs, senators and a Defence Forces representative. They were supported by documentation claiming twenty former servicemen may have died due to the exposure to toxic chemicals. Five children born with cancer-related conditions or birth defects are also claimed to have died due to their parents´ exposure.

The former Air Corps mechanic told the assembly: “I have come across several personnel whose wives have had multiple miscarriages both in serving and in retired personnel. In one case, a retired member’s wife had eight miscarriages in succession. I am also aware of three personnel who shared in an office in Casement´s engineering wing whose wives all had a miscarriage in the same six-month timeframe.”

The latest toxic chemical exposure claims at Casement Airbase are in addition to six personal injury claims already being made against the Defence Forces by former air corps servicemen. In their claims the former servicemen claim they were exposed to high levels of the restricted substance dichloromethane for up to twelve years despite the Defence Forces being aware of the health risks.

The Defence Forces have also been threatened with prosecution by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) who last year conducted an inspection of the working conditions at Casement Airbase. Among a series of faults at the airbase, inspectors found a failure to conduct risk assessments or provide personal protective equipment to personnel working with hazardous substances.

When asked to comment on the latest toxic chemical exposure claims at Casement Airbase, a spokesperson for the Department of Defence told the Journal an independent investigator was reviewing the claims and there would be no comment until the final report was received and studied. A spokesperson for the Defence Forces told the Journal: “Given these matters are subject to litigation, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

Claim for an Accident in a Sewerage Plant Resolved at Court

A claim for an accident in a sewerage plant, that left an employee with an ongoing back issue, has been resolved at the High Court.

The plaintiff – a former employee of the decommissioned Templemore sewerage plant in County Tipperary – was working at the plant on 3rd February 2010, when he slipped on sewerage waste that had overflowed from the inlet channels onto the path.

As a result of his slip and fall accident, the plaintiff sustained a back injury and, for several weeks, experienced headaches. Due to the ongoing back issue, he was unable to return to his maintenance job that mostly consisted of cleaning the flume surrounds.

The plaintiff applied to the Injuries Board for assessment of his claim for an accident in a sewerage plant, but consent to conduct the assessment was denied by his employers – Templemore Town Council. The Injuries Board issued an authorisation for the plaintiff to pursue his claim through the court system.

The claim was heard this week at the High Court, where Mr Justice Raymond Fullam was told that the council had allegedly failed to provide the plaintiff with a safe system of work and the appropriate tools to carry out his duties.

In its defence, Templemore Town Council argued that, as cleaning the pathways was one of plaintiff´s duties, he should have dealt with the situation before it became a hazard. The council also argued that, if the plaintiff needed further tools to complete his duties, he should have asked for them.

Judge Fullam agreed that the hard standings of the flume were in a bad state on the day of the accident, and said that the total value of the plaintiff´s claim was €79,000. However, the judge attributed the plaintiff with 40% contributory negligence to the cause of his accident and subsequently decreased the settlement of the claim for an accident in a sewerage plant to €47,400.

Claim for a Creche Trip and Fall Injury Settled by Negotiation

A woman´s claim for a creche trip and fall injury has been settled by negotiation for an undisclosed amount during a hearing to determine liability.

In January 2015, the twenty-six year old childcare worker was employed by the Precious Minds creche in Lucan, Dublin, when she was asked by a senior member of staff to help her change nappies in the babies room. The woman was looking after a group of one and two year old children at the time, but she complied with the request, taking the children who were awake with her.

The woman´s colleague left the babies room shortly after to attend to other matters – leaving the young childcare worker alone with nine children. While she was helping one of the children, the woman tripped on a plastic plate that had been left on the floor injured her back as she fell to the floor. She was subsequently diagnosed with a soft tissue injury, from which she still suffers.

The woman made a claim for a creche trip and fall injury to the Injuries Board. However, Precious Minds withheld their consent for the assessment to be conducted on the grounds that the childcare worker was responsible for ensuring the floor was free of hazards that could harm the children, and had therefore contributed to the cause of her accident by her own lack of care.

The Injuries Board issued the woman with an authorisation so that she could pursue her claim for a trip and fall injury through the courts. The hearing took place last week before Judge Brian O´Callaghan, who was told by counsel for the creche that the plaintiff was the author of her own misfortune. However, a forensic engineer testified on behalf of the plaintiff that the creche had created an unduly stressful situation by leaving the woman with nine children to care for.

Following a brief adjournment, Judge O´Callaghan was informed that the claim for a creche trip and fall injury had been settled by negotiation for an undisclosed amount and without an admission of liability. The judge commented that it was good that the two parties had reached an agreement, and he awarded the woman her legal costs before striking her claim.

Judge Awards Employee Compensation for a Fall at Heuston Station

A judge at the Circuit Civil Court has awarded a former restaurant employee compensation for a fall at Heuston Station caused by a slip on pigeon droppings.

On May 15th, 2013, the twenty-five year old former employee was serving customers and clearing tables at the Heuston Refreshment Rooms, when she slipped on pigeon droppings and fell. Due to the way in which her right leg wen from under her, and the way she fell sideways onto her knees and lower back, the woman suffered significant soft tissue injuries to her knees, ankles and lower back.

After receiving medical attention, the woman applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of compensation for a fall at Heuston Station. The two parties she considered liable for her injuries – Heuston Refreshment Rooms and Córas Iompair Éireann (CIE) – declined to give their consent for the assessment to proceed, and an authorisation was issued to pursue her claim in court.

The claim was heard earlier this week by Mr Justice Raymond Groarke at the Circuit Civil Court. At the hearing Judge Groarke was told that the plaintiff´s duties were often interrupted by the need to shoo pigeons away from customers and their food. It was alleged that groups of pigeons visited the restaurant six to seven times each day and that the woman´s employers were aware of the problem.

In its evidence, the restaurant said it was aware the pigeons and their droppings created a hazard, and that it had complained to CIE on numerous occasions. Unfortunately, the measures implemented to deter the pigeons from entering the station – including spikes, humane traps and a hawk on a pole with which the pigeons had become acquainted – had failed to be effective.

At the end of the hearing, Judge Groarke found in the plaintiff´s favour. He said that her accident had been completely foreseeable and completely preventable, and he awarded her €22,500 compensation for a fall at Heuston Station in settlement of her claim, plus a further €2,148 to account for her special damages. The judge added that, although he was finding against both defendants, he would make an order in favour of the restaurant against CIE.

Judge Awards Compensation for an Employee Head Injury in Dunnes Stores

A woman has been awarded €15,000 compensation for an employee head injury in Dunnes Stores after the judge commented she was not that badly hurt.

The woman – now a former employee – was asked to go into the stockroom of the Dunnes Store in Tallaght Dublin in March 2012 and told to bring a trolley loaded with bread back into the store. As she starting pushing the two-metre high trolley out of the stockroom, the top tray fell from the trolley and hit the woman on her head.

After being administered first aid by a colleague, the woman attended the emergency department at Tallaght Hospital. No serious injury was detected but, as a precaution, she was admitted overnight for observation. The woman claims that she still suffers headaches and neck pain as a result of her “significant injury”.

When the woman claimed compensation for an employee head injury in Dunnes Stores, the company admitted liability for her injury, but contested how much compensation she was claiming. Unable to reach a negotiated settlement, a hearing of the Circuit Civil Court was scheduled for the assessment of damages only.

The scheduled hearing took place last week, when Judge Terence O´Sullivan was told that the former employee now has a job as a hairdresser. The circumstances of the accident were related to the judge, and counsel representing Dunnes Stores argued that the former employee´s neck pain was attributable to her hairdressing job and not the 2012 accident.

Judge O´Sullivan noted the woman had not attended her doctor for three years or made any effort to seek physiotherapy, commenting it was the opinion of the court that she was not that badly hurt. If, the judge said, she had indeed suffered a “significant injury”, she had not done that good a job of looking after herself.

The judge awarded the woman €15,000 compensation for an employee head injury in Dunnes Stores and gave Dunnes Stores leave to consider appealing the award provided they pay their former employee €10,000 of the award immediately.

Previously Dismissed Airport Work Injury Claim Resolved at High Court

A previously dismissed airport work injury claim, made by a former Ryanair check-in clerk, has been resolved at the High Court with an award of €16,650.

The airport work injury claim was made by a thirty-six year old woman from Swords in Dublin who, on 28th July 2011, injured her back while lifting a piece of passenger luggage onto a conveyor belt at Dublin Airport.

The woman had been tagging the luggage at the time of her injury to indicate to baggage handlers that it was the last piece of luggage to be checked in. She alleged in her airport work injury claim that the check-in desk was not a suitable site from which to lift luggage off of and onto the conveyor belt and that there was no safe system of work in place for the tagging process.

Her airport work injury claim was contested by her employer – MK Human Resources – and Ryanair, and she was issued with an authorization by the Injuries Board to pursue her claim in court. However, at the Circuit Civil Court last November, her claim was dismissed after doubts were raised about whether she had been standing or sitting – contrary to the training provided for her – at the time of her injury.

The plaintiff appealed the decision of the Circuit Civil Court, and the appeal was heard last week by Mr Justice Kevin Cross at the High Court. At the hearing, Judge Cross ruled in the plaintiff´s favour and awarded her €20,800 compensation. The judge found that, although the plaintiff had twice been given manual lifting training, it had not been “site specific” and therefore would not be applicable to working behind a check-in desk.

However, during her evidence, the plaintiff had admitted that she had twisted her body to lift the luggage, rather than turn it. The judge said this had contributed to her injury and she should accept 20% of the blame. He subsequently reduced the settlement of her airport work injury claim to €16,650 to account for the plaintiff´s contributory negligence.