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Claims for Lifting Injuries at Work

My colleague told me that claims for lifting injuries at work are not possible if training has been provided on correct lifting techniques. Does this mean I cannot make a claim for an injury to my lower back?

Your employer will have fulfilled part of his obligations by providing you with training on correct lifting techniques, but this does not mean that claims for lifting injuries at work are no longer possible.

A claim will be possible if your employer has failed in a duty of care to keep you safe at work, and if through action or inaction has directly caused your injury. If you were using the correct lifting technique as instructed, and still sustained an injury, it may be possible to make a claim against your employer’s liability insurance policy.

Any lifting task at work has potential to cause an injury and the provision of training on correct lifting techniques is one way that an employer can reduce the risk to workers. However, this alone is not sufficient and an employer must also take other steps to reduce the risk of injury to employees.

Under the Manual Handling Operations Regulations (1992), employers must conduct risk assessments in the workplace to determine if lifting tasks are hazardous. This not only applies to individual lifting tasks, as consideration should be given to the strain that repetitive lifting is likely to cause.

If lifting is deemed to involve a risk to the staff, an employer should try to reduce the loads that must be carried to the minimum practical level. If the weight of objects cannot be reduced, assistance should be given to ensure that an individual is not placed at an excessive risk of sustaining an injury. Lifting equipment should be provided as appropriate or lifting tasks should be shared by the staff.

Manual handling tasks should also only be assigned to individuals who are physically capable of completing the work. An employer must use judgement to determine whether loads can be comfortably managed, and whether an individual is physically capable of carrying an object safely.

If your employer has placed you at a high risk of sustaining an injury and could have prevented your accident by following the Manual Handling Operations Regulations, you should be entitled to make a lifting injury claim. You should bear in mind that in order for claims for lifting injuries at work to be made, your injury must have been diagnosed by a doctor. It is not possible to recover lifting injury compensation if your injury is not detailed in your medical records.

In order to determine whether a claim for lifting injury compensation is possible under the circumstances we recommend speaking with a personal injury solicitor. You should explain the nature of your injury and the circumstances under which it was sustained. A solicitor will tell you if a lifting injury claim is possible, pending an investigation of your case.