Can I make work related back pain claims against my employer if I have was provided with training on correct lifting techniques? I developed back pain even though I used the correct lifting technique.
You will be entitled to make work related back pain claims against your employer’s liability insurance policy if your back pain was caused by your work duties, provided your employer failed to fulfil his or her obligations under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 and other legislative acts covering health and safety in the workplace.
Irish employers tend to reply on training as the sole method of reducing the risk of injuries to employees, although according to a study conducted by Sue Hignett (2003) at Loughborough University, training has little impact on injury rates or work practices. Simply providing training is insufficient as a means of reducing the risk of injury and other methods should be adopted by employers to ensure the risk to workers is reduced to the minimum level. Irish health and safety legislation also demands employers do more that simply providing training on safe manual handling techniques.
Before assigning you manual handling tasks, your employer should have conducted a risk assessment to determine if the loads which needed to be handled could have been reduced, and lifting equipment would have been appropriate to reduce the risk of injury.
If your employer failed to provide appropriate lifting equipment to assist with the manipulation or heavy, awkward or irregularly shaped loads, this is likely to be classed as a failure in a duty of care and negligence on the part of your employer.
Employers must not only assess a manual handling task, but also the capability of the individual assigned to job at hand. An employer must assess the risk to the individual to determine if the risk of injury is unacceptable. If you were assigned manual handling duties which placed you at an unacceptably high risk of injury due to your physical build, this could be classed as negligence on the part of your employer and would entitle you to claim compensation for back pain from work.
Work related back pain claims can be made for a manual handling accident at work, but also for repetitive strain injuries which developed over a period of time, although personal injury claims for the latter tend to be more complex.
It is not possible to tell you whether you will be entitled to claim compensation for work related back pain without knowing more about the circumstances under which you developed a back problem and the steps taken by your employer to reduce the risk to your health. You should therefore contact a personal injury solicitor for legal advice about claiming compensation for work related back pain and to have your eligibility to take legal action assessed.
If you are entitled to claim compensation for back pain from work, a solicitor will advise you of the steps which must be taken in order to build a strong case against your employer, and you will be told how you can start the claim process.