Ryanair baggage handler who injured arm awarded €64,000 in damages

Judge said airline was clearly negligent and he did not see how liability should have been maintained

Ryanair aircraft parked on the apron at Dublin Airport. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell

Ryanair aircraft parked on the apron at Dublin Airport. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell

 

A Ryanair baggage handler who injured his arm when he gave a colleague a lift up to close a plane cargo hold has been awarded €64,536 damages by the High Court.

A stay pending appeal applies on the award made to Tomasz Zborowski, who is still an employee of the airline.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross acceded to a Ryanair application for a stay in the event of an appeal.

He also agreed to a stay on the immediate payout of €20,000 until any appeal comes before the Court of Appeal for a first directions hearing.

In his judgment, Mr Justice Cross said Ryanair was clearly negligent and he did not see how liability should have been maintained in this case.

He said Mr Zborowski had suffered a very nasty and painful injury to the biceps and “he does not make too much of it.”

The plaintiff was an honest witness who minimised his complaints, he said.

Mr Zborowski (39), Waterside, Malahide, Dublin had sued Ryanair over the accident at Dublin Airport on June 24th 2017.

It happened when a Ryanair flight came into Dublin Airport and was due to fly back out to Malta.

In his evidence, the plaintiff said there was usually a turnaround time of 25 minutes to get bags and passengers on board.

He said the strap to pull down the cargo hold which was two metres from the ground was not there and he cupped his hands to lift his colleague up to reach the door. He said he felt a heavy pain and a crack on his arm.

He later discovered he had a tear to the distal biceps and had to have surgery. He was out of work for seven months after the accident and has been left with a scar on his arm.

He later faced a disciplinary hearing on the matter and received a written warning and his wages were stopped by Ryanair for a number of weeks.

In his proceedings he claimed failure to take any precautions for his safety and to provide an alternative means of closing the cargo hold.

He further claimed he was permitted to lift up a fellow employee for the purpose of closing the cargo hold due to time pressure of the turnaround.

He also claimed failure to provide him with any or any adequate equipment to enable the cargo hold to be closed safely.

The claims were denied and Ryanair alleged contributory negligence and that Mr Zborowski failed to avail of available machinery and appliances.

Mr Justice Cross, giving judgment on the third day of the hearing, said he did not think time was a factor in the case.

Mr Zborowski, he said, was trained in the lifting of weights which pertained to handling luggage but at the ime of the incident had no training in the safe method of closing the hold door when there was a broken strap. T

The judge said Mr Zborowski does not accept as accurate the description of the disciplinary meeting when he was reported as saying he made the “wrong choice”.

Mr Zborowski had of course made the wrong choice but making the wrong choice was not evidence of negligence, he said .

The baggage handler was dealing with a difficult but common occurrence for which he had no training, the judge held.