CWU postal worker's back injury costs Royal Mail almost £7K


Simpson Millar has secured compensation of £6,800 for a CWU member who suffered a back injury while lifting an excessive load at work.

Back Injury claims

Our client, an OPG postal worker from Leeds, was forced to move large cages with a hand pallet lifter when he should have been using a forklift truck.

In November 2009, the worker was carrying out a delivery in a 17-tonne vehicle which contained 2 empty cages, 4 cages of empty bags and 5 RSC cages of returned customers' mail.

The cages had been placed in the vehicle by colleagues at Royal Mail Normanton with the aid of a motorised powered pallet lifter. Our client, however, had had no contact with the cages until he came to unload them from his van at the customer's Hull premises.

Although he had been told to drop off his cargo in the yard area, he was forced to use nothing more than a hand pallet lifter to move the cages, with no assistance from anyone else.

The work involved manually pulling the cages some 15ft to the tail-lift at the end of the van, then dropping them to the yard using the lifter.

Although no weight stickers were attached to the RSCs, he assumed they had been weighed at Normanton and did not exceed their mandatory limit. But as he began his task he noticed they were exceptionally heavy, and he struggled with the first 4.

As he started to pull the 5th cage he felt an immediate sharp pain to his lower back and right shoulder. With no-one available at the yard to ask for assistance, he rang his office and reported the accident.

Advised to make his way back to Normanton, he then discovered there were no facilities to weigh the RSC cages at the customer's address and he was forced to return without them.

The day after the accident, he consulted his GP and was found to have sustained injuries to his lower back and right shoulder. Following later X-rays at the Seacroft Hospital, he was prescribed a course of physiotherapy.

On the worker's behalf, the CWU instructed us to pursue a claim for damages against the Royal Mail, which in due course was settled at £6,800.

Among a number of breaches of manual handling regulations, the defendant had failed to provide our client with a safe system of work; had not set up procedures to ensure the RSCs complied with weight regulations; and had negligently forced our client to undertake a manual handling operation that risked injury.

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