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Miner suing for $1M claims complaints made before accident

A MINER left with a permanent back injury is suing his then-employer for almost $1million six years after a 75-tonne load was allegedly dropped on the truck he was driving.

Oskar Franz Krobath was working as a haul truck operator at Burton Coal Mine, 290km northwest of Rockhampton, when he was injured in a truck loading accident in late 2011.

In documents filed to the Supreme Court of Queensland in Rockhampton, it was stated the 54-year-old driver was driving a haul truck to be loaded and got it into position next to an excavator when the incident occurred.

The documents claim the excavator operator "swung the digger boom and bucket loaded with 75tonnes of rock and material and dropped the load from a height into the back of the plaintiff's truck".

As a result, Mr Krobath was "violently tossed about in the seat where he was restrained by a lap sash belt".

Mr Krobath suffered an injury to his lumbar spine, initially diagnosed as a prolapsed disc.

He underwent operations for the injury in May 2012, July 2012 and November 2016.

The injury has since been diagnosed as "bilobed disc herniation (both left and right)" and has been calculated as affecting 28 per cent of his body.

The documents claim the workplace, Thiess Pty Ltd, failed to ensure large rocks remaining after blasting were not left for loading.

Also that Thiess Pty Ltd failed to implement a system in which digger operators warned truck drivers when large or oversized rocks were being loaded to allow them to leave the vehicle.

It is also alleged in the documents that the company should have been aware of the risk of injury because it had received written hazard reports and verbal warnings about the loading of large rocks from workers prior to this incident.

The documents state as a result of his injuries, MrKrobath has suffered continuing pain, has lost - and will continue to lose - income and superannuation, and has been disadvantaged on the open labour market.

Mr Krobath is suing for $956,641 total damages, which includes general damages of $67,950, economic loss of $118,355 and future loss of earning capacity of $520,000.

Mr Krobath, who now lives in the Mackay area, has also claimed interest and legal costs.

The mine was effectively closed in January this year when it went into care and maintenance mode.

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