Worker awarded almost $2 million following workplace injury

An Afghan refugee who escaped Taliban has been awarded almost $ 2 million after suffering a back injury in the workplace.

The refugee fled to Australia in 2009 and was employed in 2010 at a meatworks facility.

He held down the job for just more than a month after suffering a back injury. According to a report from the Sydney Morning Herald, the incident happened on July 5, 2010, when the man was readjusting a carcass on the factory line. As he was pulling the carcass, he felt an immediate pain in his back and buttocks.

Doctors said it could become worse if he continued to attempt heavy lifting tasks. The man sued the meatworks operator and a workforce planning company with which he was employed on a labour-hire contract, in the Rockhampton Supreme Court. He was seeking damages and compensation, but the defendants claimed he “cannot be believed,” saying that the injury did not happen at the meatworks in 2010 and that even if it happened, it wasn’t in the way the plaintiff said it did.

A few days before the incident, the worker saw a doctor and complained of shoulder pain and minor back pain. He was given a medical certificate on Saturday declaring him unfit for work until the following Wednesday, yet the worker went to work on Monday when the injury in question occurred.

In his submission, the worker said the pain had settled Monday morning and so he went to work believing he was fit to do the job. The court accepted his argument.

“The defendant’s assumption is that his report of feeling fit to work on Monday is a lie,” said Justice McMeekin.

“Yet everything that he did is consistent with that claim. He did not follow up on the X-ray. He did not take advantage of the three days off. He did not show up for work. He did not work for 10 hours.”

In addition, the worker claimed he complained having difficulties to his supervisors and requested to be moved to an easier section but was declined of his request. This is the reason why he did not raise any further problems he was having.

As a result, the workforce planning company was ordered to pay the worker $ 921,083. The meatworks operator was ordered to pay $ 964,254.11.

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