RSI compensation claim - Can I claim compensation for RSI?
One of my clients has a Repetitive Strain Injury, or RSI, in her hands.
This was caused by her work at a chicken factory in Eastern England.
I will refer to her as Danuta, although that is not her real name.
Danuta's work involves cutting up chickens, on a production line.
She has to remove the legs, wings and breasts.
After doing this work for a couple of years, both her hands became extremely painful.
Danuta visited a doctor, who confirmed she was suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome.
The doctor also said she has epicondylitis in one arm.
As a result, Danuta required carpal tunnel release operations.
About the factory
There are roughly 200 workers at the factory.
The vast majority are foreigners, including many Lithuanians, Poles and Portuguese.
Two shifts are in operation, an early shift and a late shift.
The company provides gloves and hats.
For cutting the chickens the company provides knives and cutting scissors.
When Danuta first started working at the factory, she was in the "packing shop", which is where the chickens are packed.
After that she was transferred to the "cutting shop", where there is a production line for cutting up chickens.
About the cutting of chickens
The production line consists of a series of moving vertical poles.
Upon each pole a chicken is impaled.
This means that the chickens move past in a continuous moving line.
Two workers remove the skins from the chickens.
Danuta is one of 6 workers who do the cutting.
On each chicken, 6 main parts must be removed. These are:
- Left wing
- Left breast
- Left leg
- Right wing
- Right breast
- Right leg
Each worker removes just one part, for a period of roughly 1 hour.
This means that Danuta must spend one hour removing left wings only, after which the workers are rotated. She then spends a further hour removing right wings only, and so on.
The production line is timed. The person removing (for example) left wings must remove 20 left wings every minute, or one every 3 seconds.
Tesco and Marks & Spencer make visits to the factory from time to time.
When these visits take place, the company reduces the quantity of chickens on the production line.
Fear at work
At the factory, Danuta and the other workers are under alot of pressure.
If they do not work fast enough, then the supervisor shouts at them.
Sometimes Danuta can chat with her fellow workers during her shift. But sometimes the supervisor makes them work in silence, depending upon his mood.
The workers are watched by CCTV cameras. They feel constantly under surveillance.
When Danuta's wrist pain first started, she told her superviser.
He was displeased. As punishment she was ordered to work without rotation. This made her pain worse.
Eventually Danuta needed to take time off work. As a result, the company promised to provide alternative light duties.
But after she returned to work, they made her do exactly the same work as before.
When Danuta returned to Poland for surgery, the company insisted that she should use her holiday entitlement.
Despite her operations, Danuta's hands remain painful.
Her daily activities are all difficult, including washing her hair, housework and so on. Her husband has to help her.
Danuta's RSI compensation claim is continuing.
RSI compensation claim, De Quervains tendonitis and epicondylitis.