Claiming the boxes were too heavy for a woman to lift, and that persistent strain to her back had left her with lasting damage, she took her case to York County Court, seeking £100,000 in compensation.
Mrs Bialochleb says she was working on a packing line at the factory, filling boxes with sweets then lifting the 15kg boxes onto a pallet. After doing this for four hours, she felt something go in her back. She had to see a doctor, and hasn’t been able to work since. She is also unable to do housework now, and her family relies on state benefits.
Her claim was dismissed by the county court judge after experts said that sweets were pouring from the machine at a rate of 9kg/minute, and that she wouldn’t have been injured lifting boxes of that weight.
After the hearing, Mr Bialochleb pointed out, however, that the speed at which the sweets were arriving was irrelevant as his wife had to lift the boxes when they were 75% full (and weighing more than 15kg).
Mrs Bialochleb has now taken case to the Court of Appeal in London where Lord Justice Ward will weigh up the evidence. The judge has decided to adjourn the case so that the claimant’s former employers can attend.
He said: “The flaw in the judgment may be that the judge has erroneously assumed that every box was filled every minute with 9.63 kilos, when that doesn’t appear to be the reality of the stress and strain and urgency of the actual operation conducted on the floor,” adding “if it is correct that this lady had no previous history of back problem until this eventful day and if she has continued to suffer, it seems to me something must have happened that day to cause her continuing difficulties.” He concluded, therefore, that “the defendants may have some case to answer.”