A machine operator who was diagnosed with shoulder impingement syndrome as a result of repetitive heavy lifting while working at a paper mill in Canterbury has secured compensation for his injury.
Richard Wrench had worked at Chartham Paper Mill throughout his entire working life – 48 years in the paper mill industry and ten years as a roll making machine operator, working 12-hour shifts loading and unloading rolls of paper that weighed up to 15kg.
The repetitive nature of his work and the heavy rolls of paper involved resulted in the onset of severe pain in his left shoulder and he was unable to use it for lifting.
Mr Wrench sought medical help and was diagnosed with shoulder impingement syndrome, which is caused by the tendons in the shoulder becoming irritated and inflamed as they pass through the shoulder joint. He was given a steroid injection and referred for a course of physiotherapy. However, his symptoms persisted and he went on to have surgery on his injured shoulder.
Even after the operation, Mr Wrench continued to experience shoulder pain and decided to take early retirement. He sought compensation from his employer and a settlement was negotiated.
Statistics from the Labour Force Survey indicate that cases of musculoskeletal disorder, including those caused by manual handling, account for more than a third of all work-related illnesses reported each year. The term covers any disorder of, or injury or damage to, the joints or other tissues in the upper/lower limbs or the back. Employers have a duty to protect workers from the risks inherent in carrying out repetitive tasks, especially those that involve lifting heavy weights.
The Health and Safety Executive has advice on preventing manual handling injuries.