In­jury was un­ex­pected

All work­ers to con­sider pro­tec­tion

Central Queensland News - - NEWS - Michelle Gately michelle.gately@cap­

WAIT­ING for a col­league to bring tools to a job site one night, Dan Peter­son and a work­mate were talk­ing about what would hap­pen if they were to die at work.

Dan’s mate said he knew his fam­ily would be okay since he had life in­sur­ance.

Just hours later, that same mate was ty­ing dirty rags around Dan’s crushed leg to stem the blood loss.

The fa­ther of four young chil­dren was lucky to sur­vive the hor­rific ac­ci­dent but has had to en­dure mul­ti­ple surg­eries and on­go­ing pain in the months since.

Speak­ing dur­ing Na­tional Work Safe Month, Dan said he never be­lieved it could hap­pen to him.

“I never, ever thought it would hap­pen to me,” he said.

“Our en­tire sav­ings are gone, ev­ery­thing that (my wife) had planned with her busi­ness, which was go­ing re­ally well at Mo­ran­bah, is to­tally gone now.

“It’s re­ally, re­ally been very hard this last six or more months since this hap­pened.”

Mo­ran­bah-based Dan was em­ployed as a field ser­vice fit­ter with Hast­ings Deer­ing when he clocked on for the first night shift of the week at Black­wa­ter’s Cur­ragh Coal Mine in May.

Af­ter some de­lays in start­ing their first big job for the night, Dan and a col­league got to work loos­en­ing bolts on a piece of machinery weigh­ing

1.6 tonnes.

Dur­ing the main­te­nance, a mas­sive piece of machinery fell un­ex­pect­edly. It crushed Dan’s leg and ripped into his fin­gers.

His col­league took charge by phon­ing emer­gency ser­vices and wrap­ping Dan’s leg in rags to stem the flow of blood.

He com­forted Dan while they waited for the am­bu­lance and by 11.30pm he was leav­ing the mine site.

Dan was taken to Black­wa­ter Hospi­tal and sta­bilised, be­fore be­ing trans­ferred to Rock­hamp­ton Hospi­tal the next day.

Af­ter some de­lays, he was taken to Hill­crest Pri­vate Hospi­tal for surgery.

Con­tam­i­na­tion of the wound be­came an is­sue and Dan went through mul­ti­ple surg­eries in his five weeks at the hospi­tal.

Dan’s wife and chil­dren had only been able to man­age in­ter­mit­tent vis­its.

His wife was run­ning a busi­ness and car­ing for their four young chil­dren, as well as study­ing at univer­sity.

“I was very wor­ried, very stressed, feel­ing help­less,” Dan said.

“My wife was prob­a­bly more so be­cause she was try­ing to jug­gle the emo­tions of all the kids at home.”

As his time at Hill­crest came to an end, Dan and his wife made the huge de­ci­sion to per­ma­nently move to Bris­bane so he could ac­cess all the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and med­i­cal ser­vices he would need in the com­ing months.

But be­fore they moved, a friend of Dan’s drove him from Rock­hamp­ton back to Mo­ran­bah so he could farewell the friends and com­mu­nity who had been a con­stant sup­port since the ac­ci­dent.

Sev­eral months later and Dan can now walk short dis­tances around the house with­out aides, but he will find out next week if more surgery is re­quired to help the bones set cor­rectly.

Dan said ev­ery worker should con­sider life or in­come pro­tec­tion in­sur­ance, some­thing he had never given a sec­ond thought.

New State Govern­ment leg­is­la­tion around work­place safety in­cludes a new of­fence of in­dus­trial man­slaugh­ter, which car­ries a max­i­mum penalty of 20 years im­pris­on­ment for an in­di­vid­ual and a max­i­mum fine of $10 mil­lion for cor­po­rate of­fend­ers.

Between Jan­uary 2016 and April 2017, there were 49 peo­ple killed in work­place in­ci­dents in the state.

This in­cluded 31-year-old Daniel Springer, who died af­ter an in­ci­dent at the Goonyella River­side mine in Au­gust.

MINE AC­CI­DENT: Dan Pe­ter­son with wife Bec and chil­dren Charlotte, 4, Mad­di­son, 6, Tay­lor, 10 months, and Loki, 8. Dan was in­jured in a work ac­ci­dent at a mine in May.

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