Customs clerk sues CIG over workplace injuries

| 11/03/2016 | 22 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cayman Islands Courts, George Town

(CNS): A customs tally clerk who three years ago suffered two injuries in one day while handling a heavy parcel is suing the Cayman Islands Government. Katherine Phillips filed a suit last month, claiming that she suffered a back injury trying to manoeuvre a heavy parcel from a high shelf and then, while carrying the same package, ruptured a previous operating wound when a heavy door with no window swung out at her as a colleague came through.

In the Grand Court case Phillips (41) claims the accidents were caused by the “negligence and or breach of statutory duty and or breach of a duty of care at common law” of government and is seeking damages and costs.

Placing the blame on her employers, she says they caused her to handle a parcel that was too heavy in the circumstances and was too high. The claim also states that customs failed to observe the fact that she was recovering from surgery from just a few months earlier and she ought not to have been required to handle a parcel that was too heavy or to be lifted from such a height.

By causing her to carry the heavy parcel from one room to another using both hands, she could not avoid injury when the door opened into her. The suit also states that the door was heavy and hard to push with no glass for visibility and a mechanism that operated in a manner likely to cause injury. As a result, Phillips says, she was not provided with a safe place or system of work to avoid the risk of injury, as well as a number of other failings in the workplace, that hampered access from one room to another and the use of trolleys.

According to the claim, Phillips ruptured surgical wound was dressed and treated and healed after some four months. But she also suffered a soft tissue injury to her lower back and the lifting injury exacerbated previous back trouble. Phillips states that she has since continued to suffer pain in her back and legs, with her range of movement limited. She also has disturbed sleep, takes pain killing medication and has repeatedly taken time off work, remaining on reduced working hours.

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Comments (22)

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  1. Happy Customer says:

    Well just so you all know FYI she won her case and is still there working hard and her customers actually enjoy dealing with her i know i do always pleasant, helpful, and most importantly shes fast.

    Kudos to you katherine

  2. Anonymous says:

    Fyi- she is dedicated to her job and WORKS very hard i was there when this happened to her,there are other circumstances surrounding why she is SUEING they put her through so much, where others committed crimes and were paid their full salaries she was put on UNPAID leave after being injured at work while yes performing her duties so wish i could say more but for fear of losing my job i will end it here.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Yes the employer is the owner of the policy and submits the claim but its for the employee’s benefit. Workman’s Compensation is a plan owned by the employer for the employees’ benefit not the employer’s benefit

  4. Anonymous says:

    “Insurance does not mean there are not lawsuits.”…………. This is true but by the employer having a plan in place gives them a leg to stand on if the matter reaches the court….. “Instead the decision to fight or not is in practice taken by the insurer not the insured”………. The point previously made is that an employee is unlikely to fight for compensation if an insurance plan is in place. The fight from the employee originates as a result of the need for compensation which the insurance policy pays…The decision to fight is not taken by the insurer who is responsible for paying out legitimate claims

    • Anonymous says:

      You obviously know nothing. The insurance is there for the employer not the employee and responds to the employer’s liability. It is not the employee who looks to the insurance but the employer. What you have posted is gibberish of the highest order.

  5. Anonymous says:

    That`s why Worksman Compensation policies are so important and should be implemented by companies for staff compensation and to discredit the need for companies or the government to be sued.

    • Anonymous says:

      Insurance does not mean there are not lawsuits. Instead the decision to fight or not is in practice taken by the insurer not the insured. If a government entity is not insured then there were cases during the recession of claims being fought even on very weak grounds as a cash flow issue, but those times have passed.

  6. Uncle Sam Ebanks says:

    USA! USA! USA!

  7. Anonymous says:

    So they finally found that big parcel sent to me in 1998!

  8. Anonymous says:

    How insensitive can some posters be??!! Generally, workplace safety in Cayman is totally disregarded. If this case is well founded, it is about time that someone challenges poor safety practices locally. Government is a good place to start!!

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with 9:31 at 12/3: there is still much to be done for workers to improve allround conditions, and safety must be number one. I remember in the early 80’s working in the private sector without any pension provision and getting no paid maternity leave. Thank goodness these two critical areas have been resolved by legislation, but there is much work to be done, obviously, in raising consciousness of employee — and customer — safety. Just this week someone commented about tripping on plastic laid over carpeting and the danger poised by thin edges of display shelving, especially in cramped quarters, for example.

    • Anonymous says:

      Time to apply European Union Health And Safety Standards and law. Many such accidents would be avoided, provided we are capable of enforcement!

  9. perry says:

    Really a package …

  10. Anonymous says:

    Being that she is Caymanian, she might get $25.00.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Can we see a picture of a) the package in question, and b) the individual making the claim

  12. Anonymous says:

    Hang on! How can a Custom Officer possibly have suffered a ‘WORK’place injury. Surely you have to actually work for that to happen??

    • Anonymous says:

      oh shut up! So tried of the constant digs at civil servants. Yawn!

    • Anonymous says:

      well if you read properly you will see she is not a Customs Officer and secondly its a parcel which means it can be anyways from 1 pound to 50 pounds…. Wish you people would learn to read before you make comments……..

    • Anonymous says:

      You clearly can’t read, much less make a joke it clearly states, “tally clerk”. You probably mad cuz you can’t pass the entry exam to get the job!

      • Anonymous says:

        Guess I touched a nerve….I guess you have no common sense. Who said I was trying to make a joke? Try get some education. It clearly states here that she worked as a Customs tally clerk.

        FYI… I have a far better than working for Government.

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