When Ricky Monteny's hand was crushed during a freak accident at work, so were his career dreams.
When Ricky Monteny's hand was crushed during a freak accident at work, so were his career dreams. Allan Reinikka

'I can't open a Coke bottle'

FOR Ricky Monteny even opening a Coke bottle is now an impossible task.

His dreams of a career as an engineer came crashing down two years ago when his hand was crushed between a cement truck and a jack in a freak work accident. 

His tendons were ripped, veins and muscles diminished and a plate now replaces missing bone.

Yesterday Mr Monteny stared at the large scar on his left hand, which serves as a constant reminder of what the future might have been.

Half-heartedly, the 23-year-old has gone back to work as a tyre fitter – one of the only jobs he is now able to perform successfully.

On Friday Mr Monteny filed for almost $250,000 compensation in the Rockhampton District Court. He was working as a labourer at Theodore for a mechanical engineering business that conducts heavy vehicle repairs when the accident happened on May 16, 2007.

He was 10 minutes into the job when the cement truck he had jacked up under the rear axle slipped and crushed his hand. 

“It just fell and I didn’t know what to do,” the father-of-one said yesterday.

“It was almost lucky the axle kept rolling and my hand eventually rolled out. It was the only jack so I don’t know how we would have got it out otherwise.”

He raced to a car with a co-worker and got only a few hundred metres before passing out from the pain. He had immediate surgery at Rockhampton Hospital. The next year of his life was the most painful because he couldn’t work.

“I’m a worker; I didn’t want to go to Centrelink – I just wanted to work like everyone else.”

Mr Monteny said he now has trouble with the “little things in life, that you just don’t think about before something like this happens. I can’t open a Coke bottle.”

“I have no squeezing strength at all. I was in the process of doing up my car but I need help joining wire together.

“I wanted to be an engineer but I can’t lift heavy objects or handle the vibrations. If I kept doing that job my hand might not work at all in 10 years time.”

Mr Monteny said he held no grudges against his previous employers. 

“They were good people and accidents happen.”

Compensation was settled privately on Friday. The amount can’t legally be disclosed.


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