Miner suing Anglo following car crash

A former coal worker is suing Anglo Coal and Workpac after crashing his car after working a 75-hour week.

The claim was filed in Rockhampton Supreme Court last week and states that on July 10, 2013, Donald Welch, 50, finished his last 12-hour night shift at Foxleigh mine near Middlemount at around 6:30am.

Welch then rested a few hours before leaving the Capcoal workers camp at around 10am before crashing his car at 5:30 pm.

It is alleged Welch suffered spinal injuries as a result of the crash. He is suing Anglo and Workpac for $1,089,897 for negligence, loss, and other damages, The Daily Mercury reported.

Documents allege Welch was suffering extreme fatigue at the time of the accident, and argues that the defendants were negligent in providing adequate accommodation for Welch, or warning him of the dangers of driving when tired.

It claims changes to the accommodation agreement made by Anglo in 2011 meant that workers had to check-out of the workers village at 10am, even if they had just finished a seven-day swing or night shift.

The claim alleges the companies knew workers commuted between the camp and their homes.

Anglo says it is unable to comment on the matter as it is before the courts.

This is not the first time a QLD mine worker has sought to sue an employer following a car accident.

47-year-old boilermaker Leon Scholl was working at a mine in Coppabella in 2011 when he finished a five-day swing and decided to drive the 1000km home.

Scholl drove for over 10 hours before falling asleep at the wheel and crashing, leaving him with serious permanent injuries.

Scholl’s lawyer Greg Black of Turner Freeman has taken the case to Rockhampton Supreme Court, claiming for more than $2 million in damages.

It is claimed the employer knew the long distance Scholl was forced to drive in order to get home and failed to take the proper safety precautions including training and warnings about fatigue.

The court heard Scholl suffered brain damage and a broken nose, ribs and right leg, along with a dislocated ankle and a knee injury as a result of the crash.

Black said Scholl only had three days to drive home and spend time with his family before being due back at work.

“Leon’s accident could easily have been avoided if there was any proper fatigue management policy by his employer,’’ Black said.

“Leon has suffered massive long-term injuries from this accident which was caused by the lethal combination of worker fatigue and driver fatigue.

“He is unlikely to ever work again.”

Scholl said the accident led to the breakdown of his marriage.

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