Queensland Alumina Limited is one of the largest alumina refineries in Australia.
Queensland Alumina Limited is one of the largest alumina refineries in Australia. Contributed

QAL worker wants $833,000 after gearbox oil injury

A FORMER Queensland Alumina Limited worker is seeking $833,632 in damages after a workplace accident that led to the worker being made redundant seven months later.

Chris Trevor Associates filed the lawsuit in the Supreme Court in Rockhampton on behalf of James Leslie Wilson on November 8.

Mr Wilson, 58, was employed by QAL in Gladstone between January 2003 and March 31, 2016, as an alumina producer.

According to the documents filed, Mr Wilson's duties were to carry out maintenance and repairs to pumps at QAL.

It stated eight of nine blow- off pumps at Unit 2 at QAL could be accessed by a permanent elevated work platform consisting of a metal grate walkway and metal handrails.

Blow-off pump number five did not have an elevated work platform; sat on a concrete plinth about 92cm high and was surrounded by pipework.

Mr Wilson was pouring 10 litres of gearbox oil into the number five blow-off pump on August 30, 2015, and had to reach above his shoulder height away from his body while filling the gearbox with oil when he felt a pain in his right shoulder.

The claim states QAL failed to identify the risk to its workers from lifting and tipping a 10-litre container of oil above shoulder height and away from the body; failed to develop and implement a system of work; failing to provide safe equipment such as 5-litre oil containers; failed to install a permanent elevated work platform at pump number five; failed to warn workers of risks of lifting 10-litre containers or direct workers not to lift any weight greater than 5kg above the shoulder.

Mr Wilson suffered a soft tissue injury to his right shoulder with a condition which caused intense pain in the shoulder that gets worse when it is moved, a "frozen shoulder" (adhesive capsulitis) and an aggravation of a pre-existing condition where calcium deposits have formed in the tendons of the rotator cuff.

As a result of the injury to the right shoulder, Mr Wilson has favoured his left and developed an overuse strain to his left shoulder.

"(Mr Wilson) experiences significant pain in his right shoulder which is present all the time," the claim states.

"(His) pain is worse at night and he cannot lie on either side because of his pain. (He) has to sleep in a recliner chair in order to avoid being awoken by pain."

Mr Wilson needs assistance showering and changing and has limited ability to drive distances and perform domestic tasks such as yard maintenance.

The claim states Mr Wilson was made redundant on March 31, 2016.

"But for the injuries sustained by Mr Wilson in the incident, he would not have been made redundant and would have continued in his role to the present," the claim states.

He is claiming $176,800 for past economic loss as a result, along with general damages ($19,270), past superannuation benefits lost ($16,796), future economic loss ($470,000), future superannuation benefits ($53,110), special damages ($54,518.80), out-of-pocket expenses ($4500), yard maintenance ($7680), interest ($1437.50) and medications over 24 years ($29,520).

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