- July 13, 2023
- Posted by: Seymour Furlong
- Category: Case Review
Last updated on July 18th, 2023 at 11:46 am
In a District Court decision of Norsgaard v Aldi Stores (2022) QDC 260, an injured worker was able to recover from her employer’s insurer, an amount of $162,000 in damages due to their negligence.
The judge held that the employer, Aldi Stores were negligent in not maintaining a safe system of work and as a result of this the Plaintiff, Ms Norgaard, suffered an injury to her back in a lifting incident.
The circumstances of the injury
Ms Norgaard sustained an injury to her back following an incident where she was required to unload from a pallet three carboard trays of canned tomatoes.
Each one weighed approximately 15 kilograms.
In so doing, she bent over at the waist. She then had to carry the load a short distance to the shelves, which involved holding the load with her arms outstretched, below her waist. As a result of this incident, she suffered significant injuries to her lower back.
The case before the court
Ms Norsgaard claimed her employer was negligent and the negligence caused the injury to her lower back.
She claimed that her employer had breached its duty of care by failing to adequately train her in manual handling techniques, which she said was a work activity which exposed her to significant risk of injury to her lower back.
She claims that her employer, Aldi had failed to impose any maximum limit in terms of weights that employees should lift.
She also claims that Aldi did not provide proper training to its employees, about safe lifting techniques, and the instructions that they did provide were not good enough and were not properly explained to her and were not enforced in the workplace.
The judge noted the duty of care owed by an employer was a very high one and found that in the circumstances Aldi had breached that duty which they owed to Ms Norsgaard.
The judge was particularly concerned with the lack of instruction provided by Aldi as to the maximum weight employees should attempt to lift.
Ms Norsgaard was therefore successful in her claim and awarded substantial damages for her injuries which she sustained to her back as a result of the negligence of the employer.
Ms Norsgaard was able to recover damages for pain and suffering, plus both past and future loss of earnings, and also future expenses she was likely to be incurred.