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.

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