Risks to employees
Employees working in a warehouse, depot or distribution hub are exposed to heavy and repetitive loads and to the risk of falls and falling objects, whilst operating in close proximity to lorries and forklifts. These risks add up to a dangerous environment where safety rules need to be understood and properly enforced.
Common injury scenarios
As personal injury lawyers we deal with hundreds of cases of workers who are injured, often seriously, because the rules are not understood or enforced. Here are some examples of common injury scenarios we deal with:
Loading cage full of stock falls off tailgate of lorry onto warehouse worker causing fractured jaw and head injury
Stock boxes fall from high shelf in warehouse that cannot be accessed safely because the step ladder is broken
Worker run over by reversing forklift truck
Back injury from having to unload heavy boxes without assistance
Worker slips on wet discarded cardboard in loading bay whilst carrying load
Frostbite damage to fingers from working in freezer store for long periods without suitable gloves
Tripping from pushing storage cage over uneven floor surface at entrance to lift
All of these accidents would have been avoided if the Workplace Regulations and other statutory duties had been observed by the employer.
Our job is to try to put the injured person back in the state they would have been in, so far as money can do that, had the accident not happened. We seek to prove the employer’s breach of duty by evidence and to maximise the value of the claim for compensation.
Recent case studies
1. Mr R was a Romanian labourer working for a building company. He was asked by his foreman to assist with the unloading of a lorry, a job he had no experience or training for. The tail lift mechanism at the back of the lorry malfunctioned and he happened to have his hand in the wrong place so that he suffered a crush injury. His employers were strictly liable under the relevant legislation because the machine was defective, but they would have been liable in any event because the injury was caused by Mr R being instructed to do a job that carried a risk of injury but without any instruction or training. Mr R suffered fractures and a deep laceration to the hand which required surgery and the insertion of K Wires to fix the bones in place. He was unable to do manual work for several months and so lost his job. He eventually found less well paid painting and decorating work, but still suffered some aching in the hints of the hand after a shift of work. The case was settled after a medico-legal report was obtained for £10,000.
2. Mr G was a keen sportsman and played amateur football to a high level. He was working as a refuse collector at the time of the accident. He was loading a wheely bin onto the back of the refuse lorry when the loading gear broke down. It ejected the bin and it flew off the back off the lorry shattering Mr G’s forearm. He needed surgery but the fracture malunited and he needed a further operation. He felt unable to continue with that job and gave it up. He took up Mixed Martial Arts and after three fights was looking to turn professional when the arm symptoms flared up again and he had to stop training and to see his surgeon again. He had another procedure to remove the metalwork in his arm and after that the prognosis was for a full functional recovery. We claimed for him the cost of the medical treatment he had incurred in the private sector and for the loss of revenue from his first professional fight. The employer’s lawyers admitted liability but contested the value of the claim and the case only settled just before trial when they agreed to pay him over £25,000 in compensation.