Refuse Collector Claim Case Study

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We were contacted by Stephen Black, a 46-year-old from Kirkcaldy, Fife, via his union, UNISON, in relation to an injury he sustained in a manual handling work accident which occurred on 12 May 2017. Our client was working as a refuse collector for Resource Efficient Solutions at the time of the incident.

The background

The claimant had been on his usual refuse collection route in Kirkaldy when, attempting to move a bin along a patch of grass, he sustained an injury to his left shoulder.

There had been several prior complaints made to the man's employer regarding the bin in question. It was on castors and required a smooth, solid ground surface for its safe transport because of its weight; however, it was kept on a grassy area and this would become waterlogged in wet weather and the ground too muddy and slippery to safely move the large and heavy bin. Despite these concerns being raised on several occasions by our client and a number of his colleagues, no action was taken to address the situation.

As he began to pull the bin, our client felt a sharp pain in his left shoulder and he was taken back to yard immediately so that he could seek treatment.

The consequences

Mr Black had previously suffered a shoulder injury for which he underwent surgery in September 2016 and he had returned to work only 2-3 months prior to the accident detailed here. The accident in May 2017 left him with a one-year exacerbation injury. He suffered significant wage loss during this period.

Our client told Thompsons work accident solicitors that his employer had been informed of his limited capability at the time of his return to work and that despite an occupational health report suggesting that Mr Black receive manual handling training, he had not received any instruction in this regard and no risk assessment of the tasks at hand was carried out.

The settlement

Thompsons workplace injury solicitors intimated a claim, arguing that there had been breaches of Regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 together with the Manual Handling Operations Regulations.

Liability was admitted by the defendant and a settlement of £4,500 paid to Mr Black.

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