Foreign worker sues meatworks after injuring lower back

RAHMATULLAH Ahmad Baig moved to Australia from Afghanistan for a better life.

His dream - to one day save enough money to bring his family over too.

On July 5, 2010, Rahmatullah injured his lower back lifting a paunch (carcass) while working at the Teys Australia Rockhampton meatworks, located on Lakes Creek Rd.

The accident has left the 20-year-old refugee unable to work in the labour force.

With limited English and no other skills, this means his job opportunities are next to none.

His dream is shattered.

Rahmatullah is suing labour hire company AWX Pty Ltd and Teys for more than $1.6million.

Maurice Blackburn associate Meghan Rothery, who is representing Rahmatullah, said they were alleging there was no attempt made by either defendant to ensure workers weren't put at risk of injury.

"We're not only talking about proper training, but if they've had that training, checking that it's being implemented in their day-to-day work," Ms Rothery said.

"The English barrier poses a challenge to employers so they should make sure training is understood."

Ms Rothery said this case was not only important for Rahmatullah, but for all refugees seeking work in Australia.

"In the bigger picture, we hope this case will push for an improvement in practices so that workers, in particular immigrants who are more vulnerable, are not put at risk because of simple issues such as training," she said.

Ms Rothery said Rahmatullah was "really in turmoil".

"He's currently in a position where he was hoping to work and earn money to bring his family over and now he can't do that," she said.

"So we want to restore some of his dignity and hope."

Teys Australia was unable to comment.



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