We acted for a client who was employed by Woolworths as an order selector or picker in a warehouse. He was required to lift and stack cartons of various weights and sizes up to shoulder height and beyond and in the course of a normal day would make those movements over 1600 times. He had a pre-existing degenerative condition in his shoulder of which he was unaware. There were deficiencies in the application of Woolworths system of work but notwithstanding this the Court at trial found that causation had not been established and the worker’s claim was dismissed.
Our client then appealed and the Appeal Court found that there was a clear breach of the duty of care and did not accept Woolworths’ submission that there was no duty because of the pre-existing condition.
The court found that the worker’s condition was sufficiently common so Woolworths should have taken it into account in applying an appropriate system of safety in respect of lifting duties. The Court determined that it was a cause of the worker’s injury.
Woolworths further argued that the assessment of compensation should have been grossly diminished for the pre-existing condition. That submission was rejected. The appeal of Woolworths failed and Woolworths was ordered to pay the costs of the injured worker, in addition to the award for compensation.
If you have been injured during the course of your employment, you should legal advice. Strict time limits apply so don’t delay. Call Peter Moore, Workers Compensation Lawyer on 4324 7699.