Former miner Wade Rothery has launched a $1.6 million lawsuit against his former employers, claiming their negligence left him with a severed thumb and permanent disabilities as a result of two workplace incidents.
The Queensland One Nation candidate is taking civil action against mining company Anglo American and labour hire firm One Key Resources for injuries allegedly sustained at the Grosvenor Mine, near Moranbah.
According to the statement of claim filed last month, on February 22, 2017, Mr Rothery sustained a “crushing injury” to his thumb in a pinch point in the “bent support bar” of a ladder when it was moved by a longwall shearer.
Part of his thumb had to be amputated as a result, Mr Rothery’s claim says.
“You don’t realise how much you use your thumb until you don’t have it,” he said.
The claim alleges Anglo American was negligent and failed to “identify the hazard”, undertake a risk assessment, respond to safety reports by “removing the pinch point” and failed to repair the damaged ladder.
Mr Rothery continued to work at the mine until January 7, 2019, when he said a second incident caused him serious spinal injuries and shoulder damage.
He said he was clearing debris after an underground rock fall when he attempted to swing a bucket onto a bench, which he says resulted in severe bulging of two discs in his neck.
His claim contends that the mine failed to provide “safe techniques for the removal of debris”, “safe lifting techniques”, and also failed to conduct a risk assessment.
It also alleges there was inadequate supervision and lighting at the time of the injury.
Anglo American said it would not comment on the matter as the action was subject to ongoing legal proceedings.
Mr Rothery said the incidents had meant the 12 years he spent working his way up the industry ranks had been wasted, after he allegedly was told by neurosurgeons that he could never work in mining again.
“I’ve worked really hard to get to where I was, to become a shearer driver,” he said.
“Did a lot of overtime, did a lot of extra work to get the tickets I needed to get to that role.
“Then to be told that those 12 years was all for nothing because of something that’s happened at a mine site that was no fault of my own … I can’t work ever in any mining.”
Mr Rothery said the incidents had resulted in loss of income and future earnings.
“[Also] the pain and suffering that I’m going to have to live with for the rest of my life with my thumb and my neck.”
Mr Rothery is running for the seat of Keppel in the Queensland state election on a platform of mine safety.
“I’ve been really pushing hard since my injuries, calling out mines and their safety,” he said.
Source: ABC News