CWU Member who suffered a Back Injury Wins £1,500


Female Back InjuryAn employee of Royal Mail and member of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) has won £1,500 in compensation for a back injury caused by a faulty container.

Faulty Container leads to Back Injury

The 52 year old CWU member was employed by Royal Mail as a postal worker. On the day in question, she was attempting to move a york container - which is a cage on wheels loaded with mail. She got hold of the correct handles and tried to move it towards the tipping table. However, the container did not move, and she suffered a back injury as she pulled it.

After inspection, it was found that york container had a faulty wheel, which is why is did not move when she pulled it. Upon weighing, the york container filled with mail weighed 185kg.

Back injury for postal worker

The lady became aware of pain in her right lower back immediately and was nable to continue working. She was not seen by a first aider and pain in her lower back subsequently increased.

She attended a hospital appointment with a Consultant Neurologist, and made him aware of the pain in her lower back radiating to the right leg. This pain had started immediately after the accident, and therefore a CT scan of her lower back was arranged. She also went to see her GP who prescribed her oral analgesia. It was found that as a result of the accident she has sustained a soft tissue injury to her back.

She was off work for 9 weeks and on her return she could only undertake light duties. She could only return back to full duties 15 weeks after her injury. She was also unable to drive for 4 weeks following the accident. During this period she also relied on her husband's assistance with washing, dressing and care. Her symptoms had completely resolved 3 months after the injury.

Back injury witnessed by colleagues

We were able to obtain witness statements from the lady's colleague who had seen the injury occur. Her colleague has been employed by Royal Mail for almost 31 years, and therefore one assumes has knowledge about how York containers operate. However, even he required assistance from a second colleague to move the container to the scales. Once weighed, the York container was found to be 185kgs and therefore not overweight. Therefore the postwoman had not suffered a back injury because of the weight of the container, but rather because of the container's faulty wheel.

Time running out on the Back Injury Claim

By law there is a standard time limit of 3 years to bring a personal injury claim for compensation. The 3 year deadline starts from the date of the accident or when you first become aware that your accident was linked to your injury.

In bringing the claim so close to the deadline Simpson Millar stepped in to prove that Royal Mail in their role as an employer had failed to inspect work equipment and make sure it was up to a suitable standard for work. They also failed to remove the york container from circulation and failed to provide a safe system of work.

We were able to secure a swift settlement for the back injury and the CWU member was compensated to the sum of £1,500.

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