Meat factory worker awarded €415,0000 after he sued employer over back injury

© The Independent

Mohammed Ali Saleh, who was recruited from Egypt to work in Ireland, suffered a disc injury, now walks with two crutches, is unable to work and has a miserable existence, a judge said.

He had sued Moyvalley Meats Ireland Ltd of Broadford,Co. Kildare, which denied his claim there was an unsafe system of work in the factory on January 11, 2007.

He claimed the injury occurred when he was working in an area which required a twisting manoeuvre to take out the insides of a dead animal and place it on a hook.

He claimed he got a pain in his back and a later a diagnosis of disc prolapse and sciatica was made.

He claimed there was a failure to have a system that did not require him to engage in a twisting maanoeuvre as he did his job.

He also claimed that there was an alleged failure to instruct or to train him.

Moyvalley contended the  “on the job” training was adequate.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross  said Mr Saleh was working in a family butcher shop in Egypt when he and 11 other butchers were recruited by Moyvalley Meats to come to Ireland.

Mr Saleh worked as an operative in the Moyvalley slaughter hall.

The judge said Moyvalley did not properly train Mr Saleh in the task. He accepted expert evidence that putting the operative to watch a fellow employee do the job without any instructions as to the safe method of performing the turning and twisting manoeuvre was entirely inadequate.

He said Mr Saleh has been diagnosed with a failed back syndrome with persistent back and leg pain and associated foot weakness.  He presented as a person who has been radically compromised with what occurred.

He suffered an acute incident which resulted in two operations which did not relieve his pain and he is left with a chronic pain and is unlikely to improve physically, the judge added.

The award of €415,000 included general damages and loss of earnings to date and in to the future.

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