Airport security guard sues DAA over back injury
A SECURITY guard at Dublin Airport allegedly suffered a lower-back injury while trying to move a carry-on bag containing engine parts through the X-ray conveyor belt, the High Court has heard.
Deirdre Moore (39), of Somerton, Donabate, Dublin, is suing the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA), claiming that it was negligent by failing to provide her with a safe system of work and with adequate training before the incident on March 31, 2009.
She also claims that the DAA failed to heed or act on previous complaints about excessively heavy bags being brought by passengers through the security screening area.
The claims are denied.
The court heard that from time to time there were unusually heavy carry-on bags put on the conveyor.
Carry-on bags are supposed to be 10kg or less but Ms Moore claimed that there was a failure to have an adequate system to restrict the weight of luggage.
She also said there was a failure by the DAA to provide a sufficient number of employees in the security area.
Ms Moore told the court she twisted her back as she tried to push the bag on the conveyor before realising it was excessively heavy.
While she continued on her shift that day, she was later unable to work for a period and the pain became progressively worse and remains so, it is claimed.
Mater Hospital A&E consultant Eamonn Brazil told the court that while surgical intervention was not required, he hoped that with six months to a year of cognitive behavioural therapy Ms Moore could get back to normal engagements.
One of her colleagues, Diane O'Carroll, who has since taken redundancy from the DAA, said that around the time of the incident the situation at the security checkpoint was hectic.
Supervisors told staff to just "get the passengers through" especially after a system of fining airport authorities came in if passengers were delayed for more than 30 minutes.
While the frequency of bags containing heavy items varied, she had come across a bag packed with chicken fillets and another containing gold.
Bags also started getting heavier when Ryanair brought in charges for checked-in luggage, she said.
The hearing continues before Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O'Neill.