Improper materials handling leads to court case

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An accident around handling cement has led to legal action in Brisbane. An accident around handling cement has led to legal action in Brisbane.

A construction worker in Brisbane has unsuccessfully sued his employer following an accident caused by poor materials handling.

The worker snapped his Achilles tendon after attempting to move heavy bags of cement and mortar using his foot, rather than picking them up. He then sued both his employer and the Brisbane city council – which contracted the man’s employer for the work – over claims of negligence.

In court, the man was seeking compensation of slightly more than $47,000 for his injuries.

The judge dismissed his claim because the man had received health and safety training which could have prevented these injuries. The snapped Achilles tendon also did not affect the man’s ability to work, as he continued to work in construction following the injury.

Because the man had inflicted the injuries on himself by not following his employer’s health and safety procedures, the court decided that the employer was not at fault in this case.

While this court action was unsuccessful, it demonstrates the risks that employees face when handling heavy materials, and the risk for businesses that don’t partake in the proper preventative procedures.

Managers need to be sure that they are supplying workers with all of the information they need to avoid injuries and stay safe while at work. This also means offering additional training for workers when health and safety laws change, so that no one is caught out by new OHS regulations.

Companies that handle heavy materials also need to provide the right equipment to move large goods. Hand trucks and trolleys can reduce the strain on workers, as can lifting and other materials handling equipment.

Using good materials handling equipment and employing the appropriate safety procedures is sound for businesses and their workers. In preventing physical harm to employees, these methods will reduce the amount of time they need to take off work to recover from injuries, and can often protect the company in case of legal action.

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