Injury was unexpected
All workers to consider protection
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
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.