Court awards miner $600k in damages

TWO years at the controls of a bulldozer has taken its toll on a Central Queensland miner, leaving him with ongoing back problems and unable to work within his trade.

The 42-year-old was recently awarded more than $600,000 in damages, after lodging a claim in the District Court.

The decision was handed down by Judge John Baulch in Townsville.

The claim was made after Michael Keith Haylett developed an injury to his spine while working as a dozer operator at Hail Creek Mine, 120km south-west of Mackay.

In his judgment, Judge Baulch said the mine had admitted liability and causation.

He said the issues in this matter related only to the amount of damages to be awarded to Mr Haylett.

The defendant argued that there may have been some pre-existing degeneration in the cervical spine.

However, Judge Baulch found that Mr Haylett's injury was caused by the work carried out for the defendant during 2009 and 2010.

The judgment stated that Mr Haylett worked long hours over rough ground and large rocks.

Judge Baulch also found that while Mr Haylett had been re-trained by the mine as a member of the drill crew, he was not fit to return to work in his trade.

"The restrictions that the plaintiff suffers are significant ones and will trouble him for the rest of his life," he said.

He found that Mr Haylett, a man who has never worked other than at a physically orientated workplace and now has a 25% whole person impairment, would be disadvantaged when competing with other able-bodied applicants in the workforce.

He awarded Mr Haylett a total of $626,280, including general damages and future economic loss.


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