Witness slams plaintiff in workplace burns damages trial

THREE days of cross-examination in the civil trial of a burns victim claiming damages from his Gladstone-based employer wrapped up yesterday with a key witness for the defence critical of the plaintiff's case.

Paul Kennedy, 29, is seeking damages from Queensland Alumina Limited for chemical burns to his ankle and foot after he was injured in his role as an alumina producer in January 2012.

Witness for the defence, QAL employee Graham Muller, gave evidence against Mr Kennedy's competency when he was burned by a caustic solution.

Barrister Catherine Heyworth-Smith told the court Mr Kennedy assumed the caustic solution was not flowing through a pipe he was working on after following safety precautions.

"I think there is one word here - we should never assume," Mr Muller said.

"If we assume, we kill people.

"This was a horrible thing that happened and if Mr Kennedy assumes, he'll get hurt every time."

The court heard Mr Kennedy had been an employee of QAL for three and a half years when the accident happened.

"I can sit here and say an operator at QAL with six months' experience could do that job," Mr Muller said.

"It was a very non-complex job.

"Mr Kennedy never proved isolation."

Ms Heyworth-Smith called on a doctor and physiatrist to give evidence.

Justice McMeekin's decision is not expected to be handed down for some weeks.

Topics:  queensland alumina limited workplace accident

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