Employers can become complacent about safety and that is exactly what happened in this Case of the Week.

Our client was employed as an assistant within a library service which provided books to schools. The service was moving and our client was required to be heavily involved in packing and unpacking 45,000 books for a move from one site to the other.

During the course of an intensive nine day period when the move was carried out, our client suffered an injury due to the repetitive nature of the bending, lifting and carrying he was required to do. When he brought a claim his employer denied it was responsible and claimed that within his normal job, he had received appropriate manual handling training and should have known what to do and what not to do.

"Any outside observer would recognise that this work should have been properly coordinated and managed so as to prevent injury, but unfortunately the employer failed to do so."

Imran Saleem, Solicitor

At trial the Judge was not impressed by the employer’s position and held that the move of offices was a significant departure from our client’s day-to-day work in terms of both the method of work and the scale of the operation required. The Judge found that the employer should have separately risk assessed the activity.

Imran Saleem from Thompsons’ Leeds office represented our client and said: “Our client was required to work with a degree of pressure to move thousands upon thousands of books; it was repetitive and heavy work. Any outside observer would recognise that this work should have been properly coordinated and managed so as to prevent injury, but unfortunately the employer failed to do so.”