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Jobs that involve heavy lifting necessarily put strain on workers' backs – but the law requires employers to do all that they reasonably can to minimise the risk of injury. In one case, a warehouseman who wrenched his lower back whilst stacking washing machines has secured almost £50,000 in compensation.
The agency worker sued the occupier of the warehouse, and a judge found the latter guilty of both negligence and breach of statutory duty. Although the man had a pre-existing back condition which would have caused difficulties in time, the judge ruled that the accident had accelerated the onset of symptoms by two years.
The man was awarded damages of £44,400, made up of £13,900 for his lost earnings and £30,500 for his pain, suffering and loss of amenity. In upholding his challenge to the amount of his award, the Court of Appeal found that he had been somewhat under-compensated for his loss of earnings. Damages under that head were increased to £19,250, making a total payout of £49,750.