Com­pany or­dered to pay €19,306 in com­pen­sa­tion to in­jured worker

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

Char­maine Bal­dacchino Said, 39, was awarded €19,306 in com­pen­sa­tion fol­low­ing an in­jury she sus­tained while work­ing in a fac­tory, with the court rul­ing yes­ter­day that the com­pany was re­spon­si­ble.

Bal­dacchino Said be­gan work­ing for Ded­i­cated Mi­cros (Malta) Lim­ited in 1996 as a ma­chine op­er­a­tor.

In 2008, she be­gan feel­ing pain in her right hand and an orthopaedic ex­pert in­formed her that she had re­cur­rent lat­eral epi­condytis.

A month later a doc­tor work­ing on be­half of the fac­tory told Bal­dacchino Said that she should reg­is­ter her sick leave and re­turn to work a month later, and that she would no longer work on the power drive.

In 2009, she be­gan to work on the same ma­chin­ery, and again had to use her sick leave due to the con­di­tion in her right hand.

The com­pany did not al­low her to re­turn to work un­less she worked on the power drive, and after she took sick leave with­out pay in 2010, she re­signed.

The court, which was presided over by Mr Jus­tice Sil­vio Meli, was in­formed that the pain be­gan to im­pede the woman’s sleep, and it was also told that the doc­tor em­ployed by the fac­tory said that the con­di­tion could have been caused by tennis el­bow or be­cause of her work­ing con­di­tions.

Bal­dacchino Said said that her per­sonal doc­tor, an orthopaedic con­sul­tant, and a doc­tor ap­pointed by the Author­ity for So­cial Se­cu­rity and Health Ser­vices all con­cluded that the pain in her arm was caused by arm vi­bra­tion syn­drome, which was a di­rect re­sult of her use of the ap­pa­ra­tus.

She went on to ex­plain that she was in­formed that if she did not con­tinue to work in the same po­si­tion there would not be any more work for her; she tried to fol­low these in­struc­tions but the pain she ex­pe­ri­enced forced her to re­sign.

The com­pany claimed that the ap­pa­ra­tus that was pro­vided to her was specif­i­cally de­signed to pre­vent in­juries and it in­sisted that the ma­chin­ery was used min­i­mally in or­der for it to work bet­ter.

How­ever, ac­cord­ing to an­other em­ployee, the com­pany would in fact use the power drive ev­ery day and there were days in which they would use the de­vice for eight hours straight.

Mr Jus­tice Meli con­cluded that there ex­isted a di­rect re­la­tion be­tween the ap­pa­ra­tus and the in­jury sus­tained by the woman. He went on to say that the com­pany also did not im­ple­ment a sys­tem of ro­ta­tion be­tween work­ers and did not work ac­cord­ing to the dili­gence re­quested by law.

It was for this rea­son that Mr Jus­tice Meli de­clared that the com­pany was solely re­spon­si­ble for the in­jury and there­fore had no right to or­der her to leave her em­ploy­ment and re­main on un­paid sick leave.

When es­tab­lish­ing the amount of com­pen­sa­tion, Mr Jus­tice Meli took into con­sid­er­a­tion that Bal­dacchino Said was 33 at the time she stopped work and suf­fered a 5% dis­abil­ity. For these rea­sons the com­pany was or­dered to pay her €19,306 in salaries and bonuses.

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