Former Employee Receives Compensation for Back Injury Caused by Improper Training

A former employee of the Moyvalley meat factory has received compensation for a back injury he sustained as a result of not receiving proper training for his job.

In January 2011, Mohammed Ali Saleh of Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, was employed by the Moyvalley meat factory, situated in Kildare. Mohammed experienced extreme back pain while he was working at the factory’s pluck station, and sought medical attention. Medical staff discovered that he suffered from a prolapse disk. Mohammed-who had a history of back problems-underwent an MRI scan of the region. This revealed that Mohammed required immediate and urgent decompression.

Two operations were performed on the factory worker’s back, but in spite of these actions, he was diagnosed with failed back syndrome. He is now dependant on crutches as a means of supporting himself. Mohammed sought legal advice, and made a claim for compensation for an injury caused by inadequate training.

In his action, he claimed that Moyvalley Meats Ireland Limited had never shown him how to perform the plucking process without having to engage in the twisting manoeuvre, which was identified as the reason for the prolapsed disc.

The defendants denied liability for Mohammed’s injury. They claimed that he had been given on-the-job training, and that his back injury was the result of a pre-existing condition. There was no agreement made to the claim for compensation, and the case was brought to the High Court.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross heard the case at court. An expert witness testified that Mohammed’s training consisted of having him watch a fellow employee work on the pluck station, and Mohammed did not partake in the action. He further stated that no safe system of work had been implemented that could avoid the twisting manoeuvre. He concluded that the training Mohammed had received was inadequate for him to safely perform the job.

The case was found to be in Mohammed’s favour. The judge stated that his employers had been in breach of statutory duty in failing to train him in what should have been the correct posture to avoid unnecessary back strain. The judge awarded Mohammed €415,000 in compensation for an injury caused by inadequate training to account for his pain and suffering, and any loss of income.