Man with back injury seen lifting a fridge

A quality controller suing a meat company for a back injury was shown on video carrying a fridge and furniture at car boot sales.

After viewing the video yesterday, the High Court’s Mr Justice Michael Hanna commented the man’s walk appeared to be bouncy and normal on the recordings.

Mr Justice Michael Hanna, addressing plaintiff Oleg Shevelov, said: “One can get lost in the bits and pieces of these videos. The problem a person might have, looking at those videos, is that we are looking at someone who looks 100% normal carrying on normally, doing his biz, having a bouncy walking gait. That is what I saw there.

“You are lifting box-chairs, lifting two bikes belonging to children. Never mind the minutiae. There is one point where you are bending in the car and you pivot on your knee and that might be supportive of stiffness in the back. But you seemed to be moving around doing stuff like any normal man might do.”

Mr Shevelov replied: “In some of the videos, I am limping.”

Mr Justice Hanna said: “I did not see any limping.”

In relation to his concerns about the videos, taken by a private investigator, the judge said: “My difficulty becomes your difficulty, only more so,”

The plaintiff said: “Also, on those videos, I was leaning on to seats to reach the items. I was not able to bend.”

Mr Shevelov, a quality controller from Rathowen, Fermoy, Co Cork, brought his case against Kepak of Clonlee, Co Meath, over an alleged accident at Watergrasshill in August 2011. The case continues on Monday.

John Lucey, defending, put it to the plaintiff: “You told Kepak you did not want to do lifting but the videos show you lifting.”

Mr Shevelov replied: “The tasks on video I could not do for eight hours a day as a job and those items were not heavyweights.” Mr Justice Hanna said: “That is the problem because you said that a small amount of (lifting) work could give rise to a significant amount of pain.”

Mr Shevelov said: “I did all those jobs with difficulty for myself, It was not just that I did the job without any consequences for me. I learned how to manage my pain.”

He said the lifting activities shown in the video caused him pain but the primary reason for the pain was the lifting injury suffered at Kepak while he had to pull meat from large bins. He said the work should not have been done by one man with a hook.

Earlier, he told his counsel Seán Lynch, he advised his employers he needed assistance to lift meat out of the container.He said a micro-discectomy back operation in Kiev in 2003 had resolved his problems before the work accident in August 2011.

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