Miner sues for $1m after crashing car
HE'D just finished working a 75-hour week at Foxleigh mine near Middlemount, and only finished his last night shift at 6.30am.
But less than four hours later Donald Welch, a former miner, said he had to leave his accommodation and drive almost 1000km home - a journey he never made, after crashing his car on the way there.
Mr Welch is now suing Anglo Coal, the owner of Foxleigh mine, and Workpac, a labour hire business that supplied staff for the mine, for $1,089,897.
The claim was filed in Rockhampton Supreme Court last week.
It alleges Mr Welch was extremely fatigued from the shift work, and the defendants were negligent by failing to provide suitable accommodation or warn about the dangers of driving after finishing a night shift.
Mr Welch, 50, lives in Wongawallan, almost 1000km south of Foxleigh mine near Middlemount.
As part of his employment terms when he first started, Mr Welch was provided with accommodation at Capcoal Village, a workers camp.
Workpac used to make a booking at the camp so Mr Welch didn't have to leave until 10am the day after his last shift.
However, Anglo American changed its policy in mid-2011 which meant employees had to vacate the accommodation at 10am on the checkout day, even if they'd just completed a seven-day rotation or night shift.
On July 10, 2013, Mr Welch finished a 12-hour night shift at 6.30am and had a few hours rest before having to get up and leave by 10am.
At 5.30pm that night he crashed his car, suffering spinal injuries.
The claim states the mine knew employees commuted between the camp and their homes due to a shortage of housing in CQ for miners.
Mr Welch is suing for negligence and for loss and other damages.
An Anglo American spokesperson said they were unable to comment at this time, as the matter was before the courts.