BMA's Blackwater Mine in Central Queensland
BMA's Blackwater Mine in Central Queensland

Woman sues for $1.4m over Boxing Day work accident

A MOTHER of twin girls claims a Boxing Day mine site accident caused an injury estimated to $1.4 million.

A lawsuit has been filed by Rubyvale woman, Amanda Vale, now 37, against BM ­Alliance Coal Operations for an accident at Blackwater Mine.

Ms Vale is claiming $1,401,977.00 for personal injury caused by negligence and/or breach of duty.

Ms Vale was employed by a recruitment company to work at the mine as a plant operator.

The accident in question occurred on December 26, 2016, when Ms Vale was working a nightshift.

She was required to operate a caterpillar 776D prime mover towing a water tank with an 80,000-litre capacity (referred to as the water truck).

The water tank was hitched to prime mover by goose neck hitch.

Ms Vale was required to operate the water truck ­distributing water onto the roads where required between pit 38 at the south and pit 16 at the north.

According to court documents, during the shift pit 16 was closed and only pit 38 was operational.

It is claimed the access of pit 38 was difficult and only one vehicle could enter and leave the pit at a time.

Natural groundwater was allegedly seeping from the low wall across the roadway, causing it to become very washed out.

At 2.30am Ms Vale claims she was driving the water truck to pit 38 to apply water to reduce the dust to ensure adequate visibility for the plant and machinery operators.

Ms Vale said she had driven the circuit twice that shift and was aware of the poor conditions.

She allegedly reached the part where the road was deteriorated and slowed down but the water tank kept moving forwards and shunted the prime mover heavily.

As a result of the prime mover shunting, Ms Vale was allegedly jolted in the cab and she experienced sharp pain in her coccyx that radiated up her lower back.

It is claimed BMA failed to provide a safe place of work or safe and or/suitable plant machinery/equipment.

It is further claimed BMA caused, permitted and/or allowed Ms Vale to be exposed to a risk of damage and/or injury and failed to undertake adequate and/or sufficient inspection of the roadways of areas Ms Vale was required to drive to mitigate potential sources of danger she may have been exposed to.

The roads should have been graded or truck operations ceased when there was a danger, it is also claimed.

Ms Vale claims she has a soft tissue injury to lumbar spine and coccyx, fracture and dislocation of coccyx and depression and anxiety as a result of the accident.

It is detailed she has endured and will continue to endure pain, suffering and loss of amenities of life.

She has been required and will continue to undergo medical, pharmacological and rehabilitative treatment.

Previously Ms Vale was earning $1,222.02 per week and it is alleged she can no longer work at her full capacity or in the same role.

She experiences and continues to experience significant ongoing pain her tailbone and lower back area and is aggravated by activity.

She has significantly reduced sitting tolerances and often sits forward to relieve pressure which has led to poor posture and consequential lower back pain, and has difficulty bending and squatting.

It is claimed if not for the injuries she would have worked until she was 30 weeks pregnant and returned after the babies were six months old.

Ms Vale received $15,289 of workers compensation which would need to be paid back.

The lawsuit was filed in Rockhampton Supreme Court on December 20 by Rockhampton's Swanwick Murray and Roche as town agents for Taylors Solicitors of Mackay.

A defence has not been filed at this stage.

BMA declined to comment on the matter.

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