Moura miner wins compo claim
A QUEENSLAND miner and union delegate from Moura has won the right to workers compensation after the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission found his psychological injury was caused by his employment at Anglo Coal.
John Hempseed, a fitter and long-time employee and Australian Manufacturing Workers Union delegate at Anglo Coal, worked through the Moura mining disasters of 1975, 1986 and 1994, each resulting in multiple deaths.
In March 2008, preparatory work began to start on drilling close to where the bodies of 11 miners were entombed in the 1994 disaster.
Anglo Coal started such work without consultation with the community, unions or workforce. After intervention from unions, work was stopped and Mr Hempseed was allocated the task of consulting with the dead miners' families and friends, on behalf of the company.
Q-Comp had denied Mr Hempseed's application for compensation for emotional and psychological damage suffered from 2008 onwards.
In its decision, the Commission stated: “It is not unreasonable to conclude that those mining disasters still resonate strongly within the community.”
The Commission found that it was unreasonable for Anglo not to consult with the Moura community and, further, that it was unreasonable to allow Mr Hempseed to undertake these consultations without assistance.
His lawyer, Gino Andrieri, senior associate at Maurice Blackburn, said Mr Hempseed did not get adequate training or support to undertake this sensitive and stressful work of consulting families of dead workers.
He said that Anglo Coal had not given enough thought to the emotional impact its actions would have on the Moura community.
“Mr Hempseed was repeatedly exposed to traumatic situations and there is no doubt this has contributed to his physical and psychological state.
“This is an important decision that recognises that employees who go above and beyond for their company will be adequately compensated for their injuries,” said Mr Andrieri.