Moving pictures

The claimant was asked to move a 22kg picture. He also had to move a 34kg portrait out of the way.

He had worked at the university for 25 years and was an experienced joiner. He had someone of similar experience to help him move the pictures. They used a ladder, with the claimant at the foot. He injured his shoulder as he took the weight.

The defendant had to accept that the risk of injury from the manual handling task had not been reduced to the lowest level possible because their own witness confirmed that the safe way to move a portrait such as this was with scaffolding rather than a ladder and three or four members of staff and not just two.

The Judge did say that, had the defendant taken all reasonable steps to adequately train the claimant, they would not be responsible under the Manual Handling Regulations.

The claimant had been trained in 1993, 1998 and 1999. However, the Judge questioned how, after such training, the claimant and his colleagues could wrongly risk-assess carrying out the portrait removal when there was such an obvious risk.

He found the training was inadequate and not substantial. Judgment for the claimant but 30% fault found on his part

From, Leeds. County Court

Lifting parts of a Rolls Royce

The claimant fitted together and lifted two parts of the engine up to shoulder height so he could assemble further parts on them. The parts together weighed 16kgs. The claimant weighed eight stone and was five foot six inches tall. He injured his shoulder when doing this lift.

The defendant said the written method for doing this job was to lift each 8kg part separately onto the bench and to then assemble them together when they had been placed on the bench.

The claimant brought evidence that no matter what the training, risk assessment and written instructions said to the contrary. All employees where assembling the two 8kg parts together before lifting them to shoulder height. Furthermore, after his accident, the tables where lowered so the lift was not so high or difficult.

  • The Judge
    Accepted that the working practice was different to the written instructions.
    Put a lot of emphasis on the the manual handling guide diagrams setting out the limits to weights which should be lifted to different heights and agreed the weight of 16kgs exceeded recommended weights for lifts at shoulder height.
    That to have reduced the height of the table onto which to place the parts would have reduced the risk of injury.

Judgment for the claimant.
Derby County Court, 3 July 2007.