Mental illness compensation claim dismissed

A man who was rostered on to work the day of the Moura mine disaster has had his compensation claim for psychological damage dismissed.

On August 7 1994, 11 workers lost their lives after an explosion at Moura No.2 Mine in Central Queensland.

Colin Oram, 41, was rostered on to work the day of the incident but swapped his shift because he had consumed an excessive amount of alcohol the day before.

The work mate who took his place died in the accident.

The court heard Oram had difficulties in the weeks, months and years following the disaster.

Oram said he became reclusive and started to drink more but it wasn’t until his children were born in 2004 and 2006 that feelings of guilt were exacerbated.

In 2010 Oram was admitted to a clinic for treatment of his dependence on alcohol and diagnosed with a “complex psychiatric condition with elements of depression/anxiety”.

Oram was seeking damages for negligence, breach of contract and/or breach of statutory duty.

In his statement of claim, Oram pleads that mine operator BHP failed to provide him with “any or any adequate counselling or psychological support, treatment or intervention” and that caused the psychological injury.

In dismissing the claim, Justice Duncan McMeekin said there was not enough evidence to proceed with a claim of damages more than three years after the actual event.

He said granting an extension more than 20 years after the event would be prejudicial and was not satisfied a fair trial could be held.

The verdict can be found here.

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.