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Minor Back Injury Leads to Depression and $5.6m Payout

WHS Case StudyThe Supreme Court of ACT has awarded an injured worker over $5.6m in damages after the worker was injured moving a sofa during employment at a furniture store.

Despite “normal” findings on a lumbar MRI and the original injury being described as minor, ongoing pain had led to a psychiatric condition including generalized anxiety and depression.

While using a trolley to move a sofa, the worker was knocked off balance by a box that had been stored upright in an aisle. The court found the storage areas were overstocked, with heavy objects stored upright in aisles creating significant hazards.

It ruled the employer had not ensured a safe system of work nor safe access to the work area and found in favor of the injured worker, awarding $5,624,298.00 primarily consisting of future domestic care, out-of-pocket expenses and future economic loss.

For more cases like this, please visit our case studies page.

For a full court summary, visit Hauraki v Steinhoff Asia Pacific Ltd

For more information on the management of musculoskeletal injuries, see the hazardous manual tasks code of practice.

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