A former Ryanair check-in clerk has been awarded compensation for a manual lifting injury at work despite her initial claim being dismissed last year.

In July 2011, thirty-six year old former Ryanair check-in clerk – Agnieszka Spyra – injured her back while tagging and lifting the final piece of checked-in luggage onto the conveyor belt at Dublin Airport. After seeking medical treatment for her injury, Agnieszka applied to the Injuries Board for an assessment of compensation for a manual lifting injury at work.

In her application for assessment to the Injuries Board, Agnieszka cited her employer – MK Human Resources – and Ryanair as being liable for her injury due to failing to implement a safe system of work. She also alleged that that the Ryanair check-in desk at Dublin Airport was badly designed and not suitable for lifting luggage on and off of the conveyor belt.

The two defendants denied their liability for Agnieszka´s manual lifting injury and the Injuries Board issued her with an authorization to pursue her claim in court. When the claim for compensation for a manual lifting injury at work came before the Circuit Civil Court last November, it was dismissed by Judge Jacqueline Linnane due to their being doubt about whether Agnieszka had been standing or sitting – contrary to the manual lifting training provided by Ryanair – at the time the injury occurred.

Agnieszka was given leave to appeal the verdict of the Circuit Civil Court, and last week the appeal was heard by Mr Justice Kevin Cross at the High Court. Following testimony from all sides, Judge Cross said that the manual lifting training provided for Agnieszka had not been “site specific”. Considering the layout of Dublin Airport´s check-in desk, the judge agreed the training was inadequate for all events.

Although Judge Cross found in Agnieszka´s favour, he also ruled that she had contributed to her injury by twisting rather than turning to lift the piece of luggage onto the conveyor belt. The judge awarded Agnieszka €20,800 compensation for a manual lifting injury at work – reducing the award by 20% to €16,650 to account for her contributory negligence.