WHS: Tomfoolery At Queensland Mine Leaves Employee With Broken Shoulder And Depression

Published July 07, 2019 (last updated July 22, 2020) -

A mining company is facing court in Queensland after an ex-exmployee filed a lawsuit claiming a “tomfoolery” incident ended in significant mental and physical injury.

The claimant, who was working as a shot firer at Suraji mine in Dysart, Central Queensland, claims she has a left shoulder rotator cuff injury, left ulna neuropathy, a major depression disorder and pain disorder.

The injuries stem from an incident that happened after work hours one day in October 2015. A co-worker was said to have played with the claimant’s arm.

According to documents filed in court, he “forcibly squeezed the back of the plaintiff’s arm and pushed the plaintiff’s upper arm and forearm in opposite direction, causing her elbow to hyper-extend”.

The next day, something similar happened and the co-worker again manhandled the claimant, grabbing her “left forearm with his right hand as she tried to pull her arm away, pulled her arm backward and upward behind her, locking the joint at the elbow and forcefully striking the forearm just below the elbow with his palm”.

The claimant’s lawyers are putting forward claims for damages for personal injuries and loss of income.

It is claimed that the two companies that together ran the mine failed to provide a safe and proper workplace, and that they didn’t ensure employees behaved properly with regards to workplace health and safety, and that the co-worked owed a duty of care to avoid injury to the claimant.

According to the filed documents, the claim is also seeking loss of income damages of around $700,000. This includes a loss of income per week, from mid-October 2015 to 31 May 2019, of just under $2,000 per week, and an “impairment of her earning capacity” up to the age of 67 (the claimant is currently 45 years old).

In the wake of the fatality at the Dreamworld theme park in 2017, the Queensland government has beefed up WHS legislation. This legislation was again reinforced in 2018.

Employsure’s Advice Services Team Leader Michael Wilkinson says that these changes prove how seriously the Queensland government is taking WHS.

“These changes demonstrate how seriously work health and safety obligations are taken by governments and regulators across the country. “

“We are expecting regulators to clamp down further ahead of 1 July 2018 and in light of the review of the model work health and safety legislation which is due to commence in 2018.

“As such, it is vital that businesses ensure they are adequately addressing their work health and safety obligations and getting their work health and safety matters in order now.”

No defence has been filed for this case so far.

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