Justice John Weekes

Father of three seeks $700K after workplace fall

A FATHER of three has launched a claim for about $700,000 after sustaining an injury while working at a Central Queensland sawmill.

Eidsvold resident Norman Wayne Hill, 55, hasn't worked since the incident in September 2015, which saw him injure his cervical spine, which has since been diagnosed as anterior spinal artery syndromic, according to the statement of claim which has been filed with the Rockhampton Supreme Court.

Mr Hill was employed at the sawmill as a supervisor.

The claim alleges that about 2pm on Tuesday, September 8 2015, the pit appeared to be blocked with sawdust and Mr Hill attempted to test whether the blockage was compacted by pressing his right foot down on the sawdust in the pit.

According to the documents, as he did so, the sawdust fell away and Mr Hill's foot hit the steel funnel causing him to slip and lose his footing, whereupon he fell, landing on his buttocks on the concrete surrounding the pit.

Shine Lawyers solicitor Rebecca Ballantyne said Mr Hill's "employer failed in its duty of care to ensure a safe workplace for him and his workmates".

"The absence of safety precautions for a new waste system exposed him to an unnecessary risk of injury while conducting his employment duties and he became an unfortunate victim," she said.

"Wayne has suffered significant health issues as a result of the incident which has impacted heavily on him and his family. "An active, loving father of three children, his symptoms mean he struggles to go fishing and play football with his kids.

"He is unable to continue his hobby as a sporting shooter and has not returned to work."

Within the claim's breakdown of damages, general damages were calculated at $232,600, past economic loss was $133,650 and future economic loss and impairment of earning capacity was equated to $316,750.

Mr Hill's special damages and out of pocket expenses cost, according to the claim, for medical, travelling, pharmaceutical and other expenses were calculated to the amount of $7500.

Ms Ballantyne said every person has the right to go to their workplace and be safe at work.

"When a workplace fails in its duty of care, it's only right the employer should be held to account for the injuries caused," she said.

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