The claimant was asked by her manager to clear a lot of boxes underneath a desk. There were 12-13 boxes of documents weighing about 15kgs each.
The defendant at first said that, in so far as there should have been any risk assessment, the claimant should have done it herself. She was in fact moving her own materials and she could, but did not choose to, ask for any assistance.
At the trial they then argued that the risk of injury was so low that no risk assessment was required at all.
We relied on the Court of Appeal case of Egan and said that, if there is some risk of injury, then it is up to the employer to carry out a risk assessment.
It was clear from the guidelines that accompany the Manual Handling Regulations that there was a risk due to the combination of stooping, twisting and lifting weights of up to 15kg at an awkward height.
The Judge held that it should have been apparent to the defendant that pulling or lifting just a few heavy boxes from under a desk could cause some risk of injury to the claimant and the defendant should have carried out a risk assessment. They had not and in failing to do so were in breach of the Manual Handling Regulations.
Judgment for the Claimant
F-v- Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council, 2009, Doncaster County Court.