Coles worker awarded $828,554 in damages following injury at work

Feb 24, 2023 | Publication

Ms Filiposka has been awarded $828,554 in work injury damages proceedings claiming negligence against her employer, Coles Supermarkets Australia Pty Ltd, in respect to a back injury she sustained in an awkward lifting incident whilst working as the manager in the delicatessen section.

On 31 December 2014, Ms Filiposka injured her back whilst lifting crates at work which varied from 10kg to 14.4kg. The store room where Ms Filiposka was required to lift the crates was a relatively confined and was crowded with stored food. She had to lift and move crates of chicken carcasses. She was required to do so without assistance in order to commence preparing the chicken carcasses for baking in readiness for sale to customers later that day.

In order to perform the task, Ms Filiposka had to stand in front of the cage in question, lean forward, lift each crate, and then in a twisting or turning movement, whilst holding and bearing the weight of each loaded crate, place them onto a small nearby mobile trolley table to transport the goods to another location.

The Court found that due to cost cutting budgetary measures, the delicatessen section of the Coles supermarket was significantly understaffed and Ms Filiposka received little to no training.

Ms Filiposka required surgery to her back and has been unable to work since the incident.

The decision can be read in full here: https://www.caselaw.nsw.gov.au/decision/1749e3e598d4e2bea9f5c5d9

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