WRULD Claims heard in Courts in England, Scotland and Wales

Hearing(s) - Rance - v - Lomax Sayers Ltd

Date Court Claimant(s) Task Injury Judgment for
30 Apr 2001Plymouth County CourtRanceHandling pot plantsTendonitisClaimant

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The claimant, a 60-year-old woman, was awarded £11,151.66 for the repetitive strain injuries sustained during the course of her employment as a horticultural assistant between 1990 and 1997. The claimant suffered from pain in both wrists and was diagnosed with wrist tenosynovitis.
Claimant: Female: Between 56 and 57 years old at date of accident; 61 years old at date of award.
Employers' Liability: Between 1990 and 1996, the claimant was employed by the defendant as a horticultural assistant. Her main work consisted of preparing pot plants for marketing, a process which involved the repeated rotation of both wrists in order to clean the pots, remove debris and prune the plants. By the Spring of 1995, the work became highly repetitive and pressurised as the defendant had set a minimum target of 1,000 pots per day to be achieved which meant processing three pots per minute.

The claimant sustained injury and brought an action against the defendant alleging that it was negligent in its health and safety duties and/or in breach of its statutory duty under Regulation 4 of the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 in failing to: (i) make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the manual handling operation; and (ii) take appropriate steps to reduce the risk of injury to employees undertaking manual handling operations to the lowest level reasonably practicable.

Liability disputed. The defendant argued that: (i) it was not foreseeable that the process would lead to an upper limb disorder and, there was no unsafe system of work; and (ii) if it was foreseeable that there was an unsafe system of work, the problems suffered by the claimant were not work related.

At trial, the judge held that the defendant was in breach of its statutory duty under the Manual Handling Operations Regulations and that these breaches were causative of the claimant's wrist tenosynovitis.
Injuries:The claimant suffered from repetitive strain injuries during the course of her employment.
Effects:The claimant experienced aches and pain in both wrists at the end of each working day which commenced in approximately March 1996. She noticed crackling in both forearms, and her left forearm swelled at night. In October 1996 the claimant visited her GP who diagnosed wrist tenosynovitis.

In November 1996, the claimant was forced to give up work on account of the pain.

The claimant's pain symptoms were further exacerbated by the fact that she suffered from osteo-arthritis in both hands and epicondylitis of the elbow, however these conditions were found not to be work related.

Prognosis: The claimant's symptoms settled within two years.
Court Award: £11,151.66 total damages.


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Last updated: 16/10/2009