WRULD Claims heard in Courts in England, Scotland and Wales

Hearing(s) - Hughes -v- Grampian Country Food Group Ltd

Date Court Claimant(s) Task Injury Judgment for
18 May 2007Inner House Court of SessionHughesPoultry processing: trussingCarpal Tunnel SyndromeDefender and Respondent
18 Jan 2006Outer House, Court of SessionHughesPoultry processing: trussingCarpal Tunnel SyndromeDefender

This Scottish case provides a significant interpretation of what constitutes a 'manual handling operation' within the meaning of the Manual Handling Operations Regulations.

The full text of the Judgments are available (free of charge) on the BAILII web site:

Judgment at first instance: http://www.bailii.org/scot/cases/ScotCS/2006/CSOH_5.html

Judgment in the appeal: http://www.bailii.org/scot/cases/ScotCS/2007/CSIH_32.html

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The applicability of the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 had to be determined on a case-by-case basis as a practical exercise by the use of common sense. On the facts, the manipulation of chicken carcasses by a process worker did not involve "any transporting or supporting of a load" within the meaning of reg.2 and the claim for damages for personal injury therefore failed.

A process worker sought damages from her employers in respect of carpal tunnel syndrome in her left wrist which she alleged was aggravated by her work conditions. She pled a case at common law which was abandoned, and a case under the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 which was rejected by the Lord Ordinary. On viewing video evidence, he concluded that the trussing of wings and legs of chicken carcasses did not constitute a manual handling operation, nor could it be transformed into such by looking at the surrounding context of the operation. The pursuer reclaimed, submitting that (1) that activity of manipulating the chicken consisted of a manual handling operation except for a brief second when the bird lay still while she retrieved an elastic string; (2) Council Directive 89/391 should be given a purposive construction; (3) the Regulations should be given a broad and purposive construction consistent with the objective of protecting employees from harm; the intention was to heighten the obligation on the employer beyond the duty at common law of reasonable care and it would be bizarre if the trussing operation (which was conceded to give rise to a foreseeable risk of injury) was not covered by the Regulations; (4) in the definition of "manual handling operations" the words in parentheses were expansive of the expression "transporting or supporting", thus the moving of any object manually by an employee involved a manual handling operation.

Full Text of Judgment in the appeal available on-line to Lawtel subscribers.


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Last updated: 16/10/2009