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School support worker claims for back injury

Posted in: back-spine Workplace Injuries 

Following only thirteen days at her new job at Rastrick High School, support worker Helen Sloan made a claim of £50,000 for a back injury.  Her injury was caused as a result of pushing pupils around the school in wheelchairs, blaming inadequate training and a lack of risk assessment for her disabling injuries. Her position at the High School was to provide learning support for children with special needs.

It was argued by Mrs Sloan’s barrister that the school failed to protect staff from the dangers of pushing wheelchairs on such a frequent basis.  He, Benjamin Caswell, said that the weights of the disabled children and their wheelchairs should have been tested.  He argued that the school should have had powered wheelchairs to prevents such injuries from developing.

“Simple, common sense, handling task”

Mrs Sloan already suffered with lasting damage from a previous injury before beginning work at the High School.  In September 2008 she had to push a child up a ramp, which left her with serious strain injuries to her back and right shoulder.

Louise Green, for the school, said that Mrs Sloan’s role was simply to “assist” wheelchair users by pushing them between classes.  She said: “pushing a wheelchair is a simple, common sense, handling task” and that the training provided to Mrs Sloan was perfectly adequate.

Following several hours at the Appeal Court, judges agreed that their ruling would be postponed until a later date.

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