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COUNCIL SHRUGS OFF NEGLIGENCE CLAIMS OF FORMER DUSTMAN WITH BACK PAIN

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A dustman who blamed the strain of lifting up to 500 rubbish sacks a day for excruciating back pain that ended his ...
A dustman who blamed the strain of lifting up to 500 rubbish sacks a day for excruciating back pain that ended his working life will not get a penny in compensation after an appeal court ruling.

Michael Warner, described in court as an industrious and dedicated worker, won sympathy from three top judges, but nevertheless had his£47,500 damages claim against Huntingdonshire DC dismissed.

Mr Warner had worked as a refuse collector in his Fenland home village of Ramsey where he was a well-known local character for 10 years when he began to suffer acute back pain in 1997. Although he struggled to get back to work, he could not cope and lost his job the following year. He hasn't worked since.

His lawyers claimed the district council was responsible in failing to train its refuse collectors in how to handle heavy weights. They argued Mr Warner should have been told to lift nothing weighing more than 12 kilos and that mechanical assistance should have been provided for any loads heavier than that.

But Judge Charles Harris dismissed his claim at Oxford County Court in July last year, saying the work practises employed by the council were 'safe so far as is reasonably practicable'.

He referred to Mr Warner as a 'hard-working and decent person', but dismissed his negligence claims against the local authority.

That decision was today upheld by appeal court judges - Lord justice Waller, Lord justice Chadwick and Lord justice Latham - after a hearing lasting less than an hour.

Had Mr Warner won his case last Thursday, the council agreed he would have been due£47,500 in damages but, as it is, he will get nothing.

STRAND NEWS SERVICE

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