Miner fined $10 000 for 2009 incident

A miner with 40 years experience who accidentally ran over a co-worker three years ago will have to pay a fine, after already losing his career.

In 2009, Adrian Morrissey was working at Anglo Coal’s Bundoora Mine near Middlemount, driving a 32-tonne shuttle car when he accidentally reversed over Ian Girle, aged 51, the Mackay Daily Mercury reports.

Girle had approached Morrissey on foot and asked him to move the shuttle car he was driving, conveying mud from a sump in the mine surface, backwards.

Girle then walked to the back of the shuttle car and stayed within a metre of the side, which Morrissey did not expect.

Morrissey accidentally ran over him and has pleaded guilty in the Industrial Magistrates Court yesterday to failing in his workplace, safety and obligations by causing grievous bodily harm.

Girle sustained compound fractures of his left leg and both sides of his pelvis in the accident and lost a large amount of skin.

He was in Rockhampton Base Hospital for a month and required a pin inserted into his leg, and still needs painkillers and may need more surgery.

He has also been limited to administration duties.

Morrissey pleaded guilty last month in the Industrial Magistrates Court in Mackay to failing in his workplace, health and safety obligations by causing grievous bodily harm.

Up until the accident, Morrissey had been a highly regarded employee with over 40 years experience in mines and numerous licences and tickets and his solicitor Patrick Heilmer said Morrissey has already lost his successful career from the incident.

He was also an active member of the local community with service to schools, sports clubs and the elderly, Heilmer said.

He said there was no intentional disregard of safety and his client was not attempting to drive over an 11 000 volt cable, which would have been extremely dangerous if broken.

A fine between $10 000 and $15 000 has been requested by the prosecution, but his Morrissey’s solicitor said his client could not afford to pay such a sum and has instead requested a penalty of around $1000.

Sentencing had been adjourned until 13 May for more submissions to be prepared regarding the penalty.

On Friday the court heard Morrissey had suffered great financial hardship since the incident which would restrict his opportunities in the industry in the future, The Daily Mercury reports.

The court also heard it took 292 hours and $75,000 to investigate the incident.

Magistrate Damien Dwyer said he couldn’t accept that as a reasonable cost for such an investigation and rejected a claim for Morrissey to pay a portion of the investigation costs.

Mr Dwyer said Morrissey’s actions were reckless and he should have been looking out for his co-worker when reversing.

“I accept it was a once off. He had an excellent work history and no blemishes on his record,” he said

Image: Mackay Daily Mercury

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