Factory Worker Receives Compensation for Back Injury

A man has received €415,000 compensation for no longer being able to work after the High Court heard a back injury claim due to inadequate training. 

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

Mohammed underwent two operations on his back, yet his condition did not improve. He was diagnosed with failed back syndrome and suffers from persistent pain in his back and legs, and foot weakness. He is now entirely dependent on a crutch to support himself, and has been rendered unable to work.

Mohammed sought legal advice, and made a claim for compensation against Moyvalley Meats Ireland Limited. In his claim, 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 the direct result of a pre-existing back condition. However, an expert witness was brought to testify, and stated that no safe system of work had been implemented to avoid the twisting manoeuvre responsible for Mohammed´s back injury. It was also revealed that the only training Mohammed had received was watching an operative perform the task for a short period of time, and Mohammed had not performed the task himself.

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 compensation settlement was for Mohammed´s lost income and his past and continued pain and suffering.

HSE Investigates Care Home Abuse Allegations

A care centre is being investigated by the Health Service Executive after the airing of an RTÉ documentary showing abuse of residents.

The documentary in question focused on the Áras Attracta Care Home in Swinford, Co. Mayo. It was aired on RTÉ Primetime earlier this month, and consisted of footage showing staff at the residential home kicking, slapping and restraining intellectually challenged residents.

An undercover researcher, who was posing as someone on work experience, filmed the footage after information was passed to the national broadcaster by a whistleblower. The abuse took place in Unit 3 of Áras Attracta, a small house where three women lived. The women were often constrained to chairs for hours at a time.

Before the exposé was aired, the broadcaster contacted the HSE – who are ultimately responsible for the care home – concerning the allegations and footage. The actions of the care staff were described as “totally unacceptable”, and resulted in the suspension of several staff members. The HSE has also requested the involvement of the Garda and the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA).

Tony O’Brien, the Director General of the HSE, commented that “Much of what was viewed on Primetime falls well below the standards that we expect in the health services. Such standards should not and will not be tolerated in the HSE.” He added: “At the centre of many of these examples of poor practice is individual responsibility of staff members.”

An apology was then issued by the HSE to the residents of Unit 3 and their families. Kathleen Lynch, Minister of State of the Department of Health, commented that “I refuse to believe Áras Attracta is the only place where this is happening. We are looking at what other processes we can put in place.”

A spokesperson at the ministry for health has since stated that €1.3 million has been allocated by the HSE to ensure the allegations are investigated thoroughly.

Hearing Adjourned Due to Inadequate Offer of Compensation

A judge in Dublin’s Circuit Civil Court has adjourned a hearing for child injury compensation, citing that the compensation offered to the victims was too low in sum. 

The accident occurred in November 2012 when Harry Ryan, aged twelve from Swords in Co. Dublin, was playing on a local green. However, as he was playing, he slipped and cut his lower leg on a piece of broken glass. Harry was taken to the VHI Swiftcare Clinic, where he had eight stitches to close the laceration. Steri-stripes were also applied to try and help the cut heal.

Acting on her son’s behalf, Ita Patton made a claim for injury compensation against Fingal County Council. The council denied that they were liable for Harry’s injuries, though made him an offer of €3,000 in compensation. The settlement, as it was made on behalf of a legal minor, then had to go to court for approval. 

However, last week at the Circuit Civil Court, Judge James O’Donohoe said that he would not approve the settlement of compensation offered to Harry as he considered it too low for the injuries that Harry sustained. The case was then adjourned for two weeks such that the parties could recommence negotiations. 

The hearing was reconvened earlier this week, where the judge heard that the compensation settlement offered to Harry had been increased to €3,500. Harry’s solicitor told the judge that that he was aware that a similar claim had been dismissed recently in the High Court, and that the County Council had prepared a dull defence.

Yet, when Judge Groarke inspected the scar left on Harry’s leg, he restated his belief that the compensation being offered was not an adequate sum. Judge Groarke said that a settlement of €30,000 would be more appropriate, and adjourned the hearing once again to facilitate negotiations between the parties.