Suing miner expected to drive 20 hours home: Lawyer

Lawyers for a QLD mine worker suing his employer for negligence say he was expected to drive 20 hours home after an 80-hour work week.

As Australian Mining reported previously, 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.

Scholl was also left with severe scarring to his face and ankle and lost his sense of smell as a result of the accident, the court heard.

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.

“I loved my job. I had 30 years under my belt as a boilermaker,’’ Scholl said.

“I was known at six mines. They would ask for me by name.’’

Environmental Group Limited, previously known as Mine-Assist went into administration last year and so the court case is being brought against Workcover Queensland.

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