Back injuries arising from accidents at work are among the most common workplace injuries and more than 1 in 4 of all reportable injuries are caused by manual handling.
A woman who was injured when she tried to move a quiz machine was recently awarded £184,434 in compensation.
The accident happened in 2000 at a pub in Aberdeen. June Riddell, 49, of Portlethen, was trying to empty a ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?’ quiz machine. She was forced to rock the machine from side to side to access the money box. In the process she suffered the injury to her back and was rushed to hospital.
As a result of having sustained damage to the ligaments in her back, Mrs Riddell was forced to leave her job working for Leisure Link Electronic Entertainment Ltd., in spite of being keen to return. She still suffers from back pain which varies in intensity from day to day.
The case was heard in Aberdeen Sheriff Court, where Sheriff Alexander Jessop found that a risk assessment had not been carried out on the movement of the heavy quiz machine.
Under the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992, employers have a duty to avoid hazardous manual handling operations wherever possible and to carry out risk assessments for the protection of their employees if manual handling cannot be avoided. In nearly all back injury compensation claims, whether or not a risk assessment has been carried out will be an important consideration when assessing legal liability.