Claim for a Workplace Back Injury against Ryanair Upheld

A woman´s claim for a workplace back injury against Ryanair has been upheld on appeal to the High Court, after previously being dismissed last year.

The former Ryanair check-in clerk – a thirty-six year old woman from Swords in Dublin – made a claim for a workplace back injury against Ryanair and her employer MK Human Resources after straining her back while lifting luggage onto a conveyor belt on the morning of 28th July 2011 at Dublin Airport.

The plaintiff made her claim on the grounds that there was no safe system of work for tagging the last piece of luggage – an action she performed to advise baggage handlers that check-in had closed. She also alleged that the check-in desk was not a safe location from which to lift bags onto the conveyor belt.

Her claim for a workplace back injury against Ryanair was dismissed in November last year by the Circuit Civil Court after Judge Jacqueline Linnane found discrepancies between what the plaintiff had told her doctor and the Injuries Board when she had applied for an assessment of her claim.

There were also doubts about whether the plaintiff was standing or sitting – contrary to the manual handling training provided for her by Ryanair – at the time the injury occurred. Costs were awarded to Ryanair and MK Human Resources, but the plaintiff was given leave to appeal the verdict.

The appeal hearing took place last week at the High Court before Mr Justice Kevin Cross, who was told how the plaintiff´s injuries had occurred, and about the training she had received to prevent injuries while handling luggage. Judge Cross found in the plaintiff´s favour, ruling that the training the plaintiff had been provided with was not “site specific” and therefore insufficient for different scenarios.

However, the judge found that by twisting to tag the final piece of luggage, rather than turning, the plaintiff had contributed to her injury. He awarded her €20,800 in settlement of her claim for a workplace back injury against Ryanair – reducing the award by 20% to €16,650 to account for the woman´s contributory negligence.