BMA and BHP argue against CQ miners $1.3m lawsuit

A Moranbah miner is suing BHP and BMA for $1.3m for a workplace injury at Goonyella Riverside Mine which he claims has left him with a loss of strength in his right arm.

The mining companies have denied the claims, arguing the lawsuit and claim the injury no longer affected his ability to work.

The lawsuit was filed with the Rockhampton Supreme Court by Mackay firm Taylors Solicitors against BHP Coal and BM Alliance Coal Operations.

Lincoln Kotz, now 47, was employed at the Bowen Basin mine as a plant operator and coal mine operator.

On October 16, 2017, Mr Kotz was working on a dragline electrical cable with two other electricians.

Mr Kotz claimed one of the other workers dropped the cable, which weighed about 50 kgs, and the sudden weight caused him to drop it out of his left hand.

Mr Kotz claimed he then felt sudden onset pain in the back of his right shoulder which caused him to drop the cable out of his other hand.

As a result of the incident, Mr Kotz claimed he sustained right shoulder soft tissue injuries including tears to a tendon and cartilage, shoulder pain condition bursitis and a clavicle joint injury.

This has left him with pain at the top of his shoulder which Mr Kotz said was made worse by working and using his right arm in general.

Mr Kotz claimed he has difficulty sleeping and lying on his right side, he has lost strength in his right arm, struggles to carry heavy objects and experiences pain doing leisure and everyday activities.

After the accident Mr Kotze was on light duties and he has now changed crews to a less physically demanding and aggravating role.

Mr Kotz has sued for a total of $1,335,301.22.

Australian-wide law firm HWL Ebsworth Lawyers have filed a defence on behalf of BHP and BMA who claim Mr Kotz’s injury does not incapacitate him for employment.

Mr Kotz claimed there was no cable handler tool or cable tractor available or mechanical device to assist with lifting the electrical cable and plug.

In the defence, the mining companies argue they did provide a safe place of work and there “was a standard and safe work instruction” and “procedure that avoids risk of injury” for the task.

They agree the right shoulder injury did occur however argue that it no longer affects Mr Kotz’s ability to work.

Their defence stated the “claims are excessive and against the weight of evidence”.

A mandatory final offer has been submitted.