Anglo American's Dawson Coal Mine on the outskirts of Moura. Photo: Kerri-Anne Mesner
Anglo American's Dawson Coal Mine on the outskirts of Moura. Photo: Kerri-Anne Mesner Kerri-Anne Mesner

Coal miner seeks $800k in damages after grader fall

A COAL miner who claims he fell and was injured after being required to climb on top of a grader blade to clean windows of the machine is now seeking almost $800,000 in damages.

Documents filed in the Supreme Court of Rockhampton show Kenneth James Williams is seeking $799,541.69 in damages from Anglo Coal (Dawson Services) Pty Ltd.

Mr Williams, 64, claims that as part of his duties as a mines technician, allocated to work on a 16H Caterpillar grader at the Dawson Central coal mine near Moura, he had to clean the windows and inside the cabin.

The grader was about 4.5 metres high and equipped with a 4.88m blade.

He claims while he was on the grader blade carrying out such duties on March 1, 2017, he slipped and fell backwards with the middle of his back landing on a large rock on the ground.

"The plaintiff was required to climb up onto the top of the blade so that he could start cleaning the right-hand cabin window,” the court documents state.

"At that stage the blade was resting on the ground with the top of the blade about 1.2 metres off the ground.

"The plaintiff placed the spray bottle and the roll of paper towel onto the turntable above the centre of the blade and climbed up onto the blade so that he could start cleaning the window.

"After climbing up onto the blade, the plaintiff reached out with his right arm taking hold of a vertical hand rail which was fixed to the front of the cabin and then grabbed the spray bottle and proceeded to spray the right-hand window.”

The documents claim Mr Williams had wiped the window once and was unravelling paper towel for a second round of wiping, having to use both hands to unravel the paper towel, when he slipped and fell.

Mr Williams claims he suffered from lumbar spine injuries, closed head injury, bruising of his pancreas and kidney along with psychological issues of adjustment disorder and depression.

He claims Anglo Coal failed to provide a reasonably safe system of work; failed to fit the grader with a sturdy platform to enable safe access to windows of the cabin, failed to provide instructions or training of a safe and proper method of cleaning grader windows and failed to provide adequate equipment to enable the windows to be cleaned from the ground.

He also claims Anglo Coal did not directly tell him not to climb onto the blade to clean the windows.

Anglo American was contacted for comment but the company had declined at this point of the court proceedings.



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