Workplaces : Case Studies
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As she lifted the box she felt a shooting pain in her back and dropped the box on her foot.
A young management trainee doing an Advanced Modern Apprenticeship with a major supermarket company was part way through a three-week placement on stock and warehousing. She was asked by her supervisor to help restock the tinned vegetable section quickly as stocks on the shelves were low and a customer had already complained. The supervisor pointed to the boxes, lifted one into a trolley and led the way. The trainee followed, but as she lifted the box she felt a shooting pain in her back and dropped the box on her foot. She had to have time off work and her doctor warned her she might have more back problems in the future. Fortunately there were no bones broken.
NO - The trainee was not to blame as she had the right to expect proper instruction from her supervisor. It was natural to copy her supervisor
YES - The supervisor should not have assumed that the trainee knew the correct way to lift and should never have rushed a new worker.
YES - Although the supervisor had been given Health and Safety training, and there was a poster on the wall showing how to lift, their training manual did not make absolutely clear issues regarding training staff in moving stock.
“We've been instructed to make improvements to our training and supervision with regard to lifting and moving stock. We may have to pay compensation in the future.”