A school assistant has received a substantial sum in compensation after she suffered a slipped disc while lifting heavy objects at work.

Yvonne Macklin, 48, from Colchester in Essex, was helping a colleague to lift a heavy insulated box containing school lunches when she felt a sudden pain in her back.

The classroom assistant at Monkwick Infant School in Colchester has been unable to work since the accident in March 2006 which brought on a degenerative condition in her spine by five years.

Accident caused Slipped Disc and Trapped Nerve

She suffered a slipped disc and a trapped nerve which has left her in constant pain. She now has a limp and must use crutches.

Mrs Macklin and her colleague were lifting the heavy container from the ground in the school’s kitchen to a trolley waiting at the kitchen’s backdoor.

The job was part of their duties as midday assistants. They were responsible for bringing the school dinners to the infant school from the junior school, which was in a separate building across the road.

They wheeled the dinners across in a trolley, but because there were steps at the kitchen’s door they had to carry the dinners from the kitchen to the trolley.

On this occasion they had been left in the insulated box on the floor. Mrs Macklin and her colleague took a side each but as she stood up she felt her back pop.

Thompsons Solicitors made claim for accident compensation

Following the accident she contacted her union, the GMB, which instructed Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for accident compensation.

Essex County Council admitted liability and settled the claim out of court.

Mrs Macklin said: “I am in constant pain which means at the moment I am unable to work. I try hard to carry on with life as normal but I have a 13-year-old son and I’m aware that there are things I can no longer do with him, like cycling.

“I am so grateful for everything that Thompsons and the GMB have been able to achieve. The compensation has come at just the right time and has helped us to cope financially.”

Employers have a duty of care to look at all lifting tasks before their employees undertake them

Rose Conroy from the GMB said: “Employers must make sure that every job involving lifting, no matter how small, should be assessed to make sure that it is conducted in the safest way possible. This accident has brought on Mrs Macklin’s back problems earlier than expected and as a result she has lost out on years of employment.”

William Seymour from Thompsons Solicitors added: “Employers have a duty of care to look at all lifting tasks before their employees undertake them. This case shows how easily injuries can happen when unnecessary lifting is involved. The school dinners should have been put on the worktop, not on the floor.”