CQ fitter sues for $700k after machine brakes fail

JUST DAYS after resigning from her job at Gladstone's Alumina refinery, Brooke Reece was involved in a workplace accident, leaving her with spinal injuries that give her ongoing pain and limit her ability to work.

Ms Reece, 22, has now filed a lawsuit against Queensland Alumina and Coates Hire Operations for personal injuries and negligence.

The claim was filed to the Rockhampton Supreme Court this month.

Ms Reece was employed by Queensland Alumina as a mechanical fitter.

According to her Statement of Claim, an accident occurred on the morning of March 21, 2019.

Ms Reece was asked to collect oxy from another part of the premises at the Parsons Point, Gladstone.

She drove a telehandler, which is a forklift machine, 10 to 15km to get the equipment.

As she approached a left turn at an intersection, she prepared to stop to give way to a white ute however the console lights of the telehandler flashed and the "brakes did not respond".

In a bid to avoid colliding with the ute, Ms Reece manoeuvred the telehandler and it collided with the front right side of the ute.

Ms Reece was allegedly "violently jolted forward and backwards in her seat".

As a result of the accident, Ms Reece allegedly sustained a cervical and lumbar spinal injury, chronic headaches and short and trauma.

The injuries see her sustain ongoing pain, restriction and discomfort in the neck, have frequent headaches, difficulties with static neck postures and driving.

The court documents detail an incident a week prior to Ms Johnstone's incident when another colleague was driving the telehandler and the brakes failed to work immediately.

This was allegedly reported to Alumina manager.

The pre-start report dated March 21 indicated the telehandlers foot brakes, engine, lights, fluid leaks and levels had been checked.

The telehandler was owned by Coates Hire who leased it to Queensland Alumina.

Coates Hire were responsible for the service, maintenance and repair of the machinery.

The court documents also claim the telehandler had been returned to Coates Hire on five occasions between October 2018 and February 2019.

Coates Hire are being sued for $791,552.35 while Queensland Alumina are being sued for $624,288.35.

Ms Reece had tendered her resignation to Queensland Alumina three days before the accident and was in her two week notice period.

She was due to start a new job with Aurizon, which she started but resigned five months later as she was unable to cope with the demands of the role.

Since then she was had various work with shut downs and short term contracts but is only able to work for a short period of time.

It is claimed Ms Reece is restricted in her ability to work, leading to a loss of income, and will require care and assistance and medical treatment in the future.

No defence has yet been filed.