A banana farm worker in Queensland has successfully sued his employer for half a million dollars after he was injured by falling bananas.
Jaime Longbottom was knocked to the ground after a tree and its bananas fell on him at a farm near Cooktown, The Cairns Post reports.
The man was injured in June 2016 while harvesting bananas on L&R Collins’ farm.
He argued that the company was negligent because it had failed to train him adequately in how to handle collecting larger bananas from larger trees.
Longbottom’s role was as a “humper”, someone who catches bananas once they are cut from the tree.
“The tree was unusually tall and the bananas were unusually high,” judge Catherine Holmes said.
“Mr Longbottom caught the bunch and tree on his right shoulder and was knocked to the ground, falling on his right side.
“He lay there with the tree and bananas on his left side until he was helped up.
“Later that day he was driven to hospital in Cooktown and did not return to the farm work.”
It was established that the bananas weighed around 70kg.
The man had not worked since because his injuries prevented him from undertaking any kind of labouring work.
Holmes said the cutter had made “far too deep” a cut in the tree due to “lack of training or lack of skill.”
“The risk of his being injured in that way if care was not taken in cutting the tree was foreseeable and significant, and a reasonable employer would have guarded against it,” Holmes concluded.
She awarded Longbottom $502,740.