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Anderson Gallagher - Solicitors and Lawyers, Ireland
Legal Services - Ireland
Legal Services - Ireland


Dunnes Stores to pay employee €54,600 in compensation to employee for a back injury sustained at work.

Louise Barry, a 41 year old, Dunnes Stores employee has been awarded €54, 600 in compensation for injuries sustained by her in an accident at her work. The incident took place in Dunnes Stores Clonmel   on October 13th 2004.

At the time of the accident Louise Barry was a part-time sales assistant. Ms Barry’s role at Dunnes Clonmel included putting stock out on the shop floor from trollies loaded by stores staff.

On the day of the incident Louise Barry arrived to work to find a number of trollies for her to stack on shelves within the home ware section. As part of Ms Barry’s role her and a co-worker were to off load the trollies before stacking the goods accordingly.

As Ms Barry approached the trolly she noticed the boxes were stacked above her head height, reaching up to one of the top boxes Ms Barry attempted to lift the box down. As she pulled the box towards her she quickly realised it was too heavy for her to manage – calling out to Ms Collins to assist (co- worker).
Unfortunately Ms Collins was preoccupied at that time handling another box.

Ms Barry told the court that without assistance she was left to handle the weight of the box alone, pulling it into her arms and placing it on a table close by. In doing so Ms Barry had to complete a twisting, turning type movement, which moments later led to a sharp pain in her back, shooting down into her left buttock and leg.

Ms Barry maintained that the injuries she suffered to her back were due to the negligence and breach in duty of care on the part of employer Dunnes Stores.

Ms Barry also claimed that Dunnes had failed to provide a safe place to work, safe equipment, or a safe system of work. It was alleged that Ms Barry whilst working in Dunnes was allowed and required to lift large, oversized and heavy boxes.

Dunnes Stores denied any liability in respect to Louise Barry’s claim. They stated that the manual handling training that Ms Barry was provided with was extensive and focused specifically on accident prevention and back safety. They also alleged that Ms Barry was not subject to such trollies as those she described and that her injuries were caused by her own negligence.

The liability was ruled in favour of the plaintiff , the judge stated that defendants should left such a trolley to be offloaded by Ms Barry, that it was clearly stacked beyond her reach, and boxes such as the one in question weighing 9 – 10 kilos should be stacked no higher than ones shoulder.

The compensation was awarded to the sum of €45,000 for general damages and a further €33,000 for pain and suffering. Due to Ms Barry’s contributory negligence a deduction of 30% was made. The total compensation awarded was €54,600.
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