Mill rigger's wrist injury fails to move court
TWENTY years after Bruce Oswald Drew says he suffered injuries to his right wrist and buttocks in a fall in mill mud at the Marian Sugar Mill, his civil claim to make a negligence case for damages has been rejected.
Instead, Mr Drew must pay the legal costs of Mackay Sugar Ltd following his unsuccessful District Court application before Judge Stuart Durward SC.
Mr Drew applied for an extension of the period of limitation to enable him to start proceedings for personal injury.
The are no witnesses or mill incident report to the alleged workplace accident back in September 1994 when he worked as a rigger.
Mr Drew's wrist did not become symptomatic until 2011 and other employees had no recollection of any such incident.
Judge Durward said the critical issue was whether Mr Drew was substantially prejudiced by reason of the delay in his matter and that this would prevent a fair trial in any action against the mill (and insurer WorkCover Queensland).
Mr Drew's wrist injury was alleged to be a ligament rupture and secondary arthritis. His 'over the period of time claim' alleged there were subsequent aggravations of the injury between September 1994 and January 2012.
Mr Drew asserted these aggravations were caused by repetitive heavy scaffolding work that put pressure on his upper limbs, including the right wrist.
The rigger remains on light duties at the mill and evidence states his wrist will require a total wrist fusion.
Mr Drew's supervisor had no recollection of him reporting a fall in an area under a conveyor belt, where mill mud often came from. The area was described by the supervisor as 'dry one minute and then wet and slippery within a matter of minutes'.
Judge Durward found Mr Drew had not proved his case, and 'no fair trial for the defendant' was possible as there would be significant prejudice (against Mackay Sugar).