Common workplace injuries in abattoirs and
your rights to compensation

Over the years we have represented abattoir workers who sustained injuries at work. We have acted against big entities like JBS or Kilcoy Pastoral Company. These companies are very good at generating paperwork that create the impression that workplace safety is taken seriously. In our experience, however, workplace injuries are commonplace.

 

Heavy lifting

Abattoir work involves heavy physical labour, including heavy lifting.

 

Heavy lifting puts pressure on your back and one wrong move can result in injury. In our experience back injuries take a long time to completely heal, and they easily flare up.

 

Your employer has a duty to ensure that your work is safe. This includes properly training you how to lift safely.

 

These large companies always have tons of documents about workplace health and safety. On paper, they look like they take safety seriously.

 

The important thing to remember is that what counts is whether in real life (not just on paper) your employer has to:

 

  • show you how to lift safely;
  • monitor that the work practices are actually safe;
  • make sure boxes and meat products that you lift are not too heavy for one person; and
  • ensure there is not too much time pressure on you and that you have enough breaks.

 

All too often, you are required to do your work so quickly that it inevitably leads to workplace injury.

 

Slippery floor

This is another area where we see injuries in abattoirs: slip and falls on slippery floor surfaces and platforms.

 

Employers usually argue that they can’t do anything to prevent slip and falls other than using non-slip coatings on floor surfaces and making workers wear gumboots.

 

The reality is, there is no such thing as a non-slip floor. You can have the safest coating possible, if slippery products end up on the floor, they will make the floor surface hazardous. At the minimum, there should be a system of regular inspection and cleaning of the floor surface, which is actually enforced.

 

Repetitive manual handling

Repetitive work can also lead to injuries over time. For example,  meat boners and slicers have to cut meat carcasses hundreds of times a day, which puts huge pressure on your shoulder.

 

What compensation can you claim? (Damages and TPD)

If the workplace was hazardous, you can claim common law damages from the employer. Check out our Workplace Accidents page for more detail, and how we can represent you on a No Win No Fee Basis: How to Claim WorkCover for Accidents in Queensland?

 

But did you know that you could also claim on your TPD insurance? For example, if you develop injury to your shoulder or spine and you can’t work in the future, you probably have TPD insurance through AMIST, your superfund. We can represent you on a No Win No Fee basis and we can make a claim even if your injury happened many years ago. Read about this real life example where our client’s injuries happened over 10 years earlier and we were still successful: $200,000 TPD Payout

 

Where to from here

If you would like to discuss your compensation claim with us, we would be happy to schedule a time with Oszkar Denes, our Principal Solicitor. Please call us on (07) 3063 2268 or email info@deneslawyers.com.au and we will be happy to help.