Lifting at Work Damages Workers Shoulders
A Stafford man has been awarded a five figure sum in damages after permanently injuring his shoulders due to heavy lifting at work.
52 year old Colin Raven suffered permanent ligament damage to his shoulders because his employers had incorrectly trained him to lift heavy equipment. As a result he has had to undergo surgery and still suffers a great deal of pain. The damage to his shoulders meant he was ultimately forced to give up manual work and many everyday activities are now difficult or impossible to do.
Iain Shoolbred, a workplace illness expert with Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, who successfully fought Mr Raven’s case, explained: "Initially Colin's former employer denied that poor working practices had resulted in him permanently injuring his shoulders.
"However, shortly before the trial was due to be heard at Birmingham County Court, the Defendant agreed to pay a five figure out of court settlement to compensate him for his injuries.
"Employers have a duty of care to their workers and this includes making sure that if they are being expected to lift heavy weights as part of their duties, they are trained correctly so that they are not injured. In this case, the employer had quite clearly failed in its responsibilities."
Mr Raven worked for three years as a fire extinguisher sales and service engineer for Leeds based Anderstore Ltd and as part of his job visited premises to inspect fire extinguishers.
He explained: "I started working for Anderstore in 2005 and during my first week of training with the company I was shown a technique of weighing the fire extinguishers - hooking one end onto a spring scale and then holding it so that my arms were at an upward angle of about 45 degrees.
"During my time with the company I regularly lifted between 20 and 25 fire extinguishers a day in this way and in exceptional circumstances up to 40 a day."
Mr Raven first began to notice pains in the front of his shoulders just one month after first joining the firm. He visited his GP on a number of occasions and was prescribed painkillers, but by June the following year he was in so much pain he was unable to lift his arms above his head. Several months of physiotherapy did not ease the symptoms and following a referral to a consultant in March 2007, Mr Raven was told he was suffering from 'frozen shoulders' and would require surgery.
Despite trying to return to work following two operations, Mr Raven found that he was unable to continue with his manual work at Anderstore. He has since retrained and is now working as a personal adviser for Jobcentre Plus.
Mr Raven added: "I try to get on with my life and I'm determined not to let my shoulder injuries get the better of me but it has meant a complete change of career and also affects many day to day aspects of my life. I was always a very fit and active person but now I find I cannot do a lot of DIY jobs and everyday tasks around the house that I once took for granted.
"I used to love to go skiing and cycling but that’s now virtually impossible because of my shoulder injury.
"I hope that as a result of what happened to me, my former employer – and other firms – will learn important lessons so that other workers are not injured needlessly."