Supermarket Employee Secures Compensation Award

A supermarket employee who was injured as a result of faulty stock moving equipment has been awarded a settlement in compensation.

The man worked for Tesco and was loading stock onto a lorry using a dolly – a low trolley with wheels used for moving loads too heavy to be carried by hand. When he rolled the dolly onto the tail lift, its back wheel slipped between the tail lift and the back of the lorry as it had not been securely attached. When he tried to recover the dolly by hand, he felt a sharp pain in his left arm.

He sought medical help and an examination revealed a severe strain that required a recovery period of ten months.

When he commenced a personal injury claim, Tesco initially contended that he was jointly liable for the injury on the ground that he should have reported the equipment failure and waited for help before proceeding to free the dolly. However, his lawyers argued that the accident had occurred when he was working at a temporary store and there was no member of staff available to whom he could have reported the fault.

Tesco then accepted full liability and a compensation package was agreed.

The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 place duties on people and companies who own, operate or have control over lifting equipment. Any business or organisation that undertakes lifting operations must manage and control the risks to avoid any injury or damage. Where lifting equipment is used, employers must:

  • plan the task properly;
  • use people who are sufficiently competent;
  • supervise operations appropriately; and
  • ensure that they are carried out in a safe manner.

The Regulations also require that all equipment used for lifting is fit for purpose, suitably marked and inspected regularly. Any defects found must be reported immediately.

The Health and Safety Executive has guidance on the safe use of lifting equipment.

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