Former league player sues over Moranbah mine injuries
A One Nation candidate in the State election and former professional rugby league player is suing for $1.6 million, over his underground mining injuries.
Former miner Wade Rothery, 43, of Yeppoon, lost a thumb in a 2017 accident at Anglo American's Grosvenor coal mine, near Moranbah in central Queensland.
Just over a year ago he was again injured at the same mine, suffering a cervical spine injury, while clearing a rock fall, in his job as a shearer driver, cutting coal.
After that, Mr Rothery, a married father-of-four, said a neurosurgeon told him he could no longer work in underground mines.
He had played for Broncos Juniors and as a professional footballer in the NRL for two years with Balmain Tigers, before working in mines for 12 years.
Mr Rothery has not worked since his last accident but is now standing for One Nation in the central Queensland seat of Keppel in this month's election.
He is suing Anglo Coal (Grosvenor Management) and labour hire company, One Key Resources, for $1,632,014 in the Supreme Court.
His claim alleges it had been known before his first accident, that a ladder had been damaged and had a bent railing.
A "pinch point" had been created by the position of the ladder, in the path of the longwall miner as it moved, it is alleged.
Mr Rothery was resting his hand on the ladder railing, near a moving long wall shearer, when his left thumb was crushed and severed.
"Luckily I held on with my left hand instead of my right, or I would have lost my whole hand," Mr Rothery said.
"As soon as it happened, I thought the worst.
"I had gloves on and I could feel two pieces in my left glove."
Mr Rothery worried about losing his job, how he would support wife Connie, who works casually, and their two children, now aged 13 and 14.
He was off work for nine months and says when he was told he had to return, or risk losing his job, he still could not lift anything with his injured hand.
He only lasted a day, then was off work for another two months before returning on light duties.
In February, last year, Mr Rothery was working underground, at 2am, when a bucket of coal and rock debris fell and his cervical spine and shoulder were injured.
His claim alleges there was inadequate supervision, lighting and safety measures.
Mr Rothery said when he was told he could no longer work in the mines "it was scary".
"That was my career. Now I have to find something else," he said.
Mr Rothery still wants to be a voice for miners, and is campaigning for better mine safety and for casual workers to be offered full-time work, after six months with a mine.
Anglo Coal and One Key Resources are yet to respond to the claim.
Originally published as One Nation candidate sues mine