Our client was engaged in work activities at the end of the packing line taking tubes off a conveyer belt. The worker generally takes three tubes at a time, one left hand and two with the right. The worker checks the date and once done, the three tubes are slid into a jacket and then the process repeated to place a further three into the jacket. Each jacket holds six tubes. The worker then folds the flaps down, places sticky tape to seal the jack and places the sealed jacket into a cardboard box which holds fifteen jackets.
On the day of the incident, as the worker was packing, she felt pain in her right arm and could not move her arm away from the body from the elbow down. For the week in which our client was working, she was required to undertake the duties of two employees for the entire week as another employee was away. The usual procedure was that two workers worked that line. The co-worker was absent, sick, and the claimant’s manager did not authorise the use of agency staff to fill the gap.
The claimant went to her doctor the following week at the Mooloolah Family Medical Centre and was referred off to a specialist.
The claimant made an Incident Report and a WorkCover application was made. She worked on light duties for approximately one year with conservative treatment, but the condition did not improve.
Our client had right lateral epicondylitis (4%) and scarring (5%) to her right elbow resulting in a combined degree of impairment of 9%.
Our client made the following claims of negligence against her employer:
- Failing to provide a safe system of work;
- Failing to warn the worker of the risk of injury;
- Failed to increase number of workers to accommodate staffing losses;
- Failed to adequately instruct the worker in relation to proper handling methods; and
- Failed to undertake any or adequate risk assessments of the proper packing methods.
Basic workplace safety policies such as ensuring sufficient amount of staff are available at all times were simple measures the employer could have taken to prevent our client’s injuries. As a result of the employer’s lack of precaution, our client now suffers a life-changing injury and has affected her ability to continue to work in the field she is solely experienced in.
Gerard Malouf and Partners recovered significant damages for our injured client. This was made possible by our expertise in gaining appropriate evidence and submitting pleadings suitably appropriate for this claim. Although our client will no longer lead her usual life, Gerard Malouf and Partners assisted her by aggressively fighting for her right to a fair and just compensation.