Mining Industry Compensation Claims and Common Issues

Working in the mining industry can be a lucrative career option for many people but it also comes with a level of risk as workers may find themselves in complex and precarious situations while undertaking routine tasks.

Although the industry is regulated and training procedures and safety policies are in place to foster a working environment which is as safe as possible, no industry is free from accidents and given the often dangerous nature of the work, these accidents can lead to injury – in some case serious injury – which can have a lasting impact on the worker and their ability to work.

In the mining industry, all workers are covered by workers compensation and injured workers have the right to claim compensation if they sustain an injury during the course of their work. Here are some of the most common mining industry injuries and how you can seek compensation if you fall victim to an accident at work.

What are some common mining industry incidents leading to workplace injuries?

The most common workplace injuries in the mining industry result from:

  • Heavy machinery being operated in a way that is unsafe, typically through misuse or negligent use. Faulty machinery or machinery which is in disrepair can also cause injury, as can heavy machinery which tips over or otherwise traps a person or their limbs.
  • Motor vehicle accidents, which include collisions and tipping, can occur during operation and cause work-related injuries for drivers, passengers and others on site.
  • Mining collapses due to unsecured walls and ceilings. Deeply excavated sites can weaken the overall structure of the mine and shifts or vibrations can cause the earth to collapse in on itself, which can result in serious injury or even death.

Psychological injuries can occur in toxic working environments which can result in and/or exacerbate stress, trauma and conditions such as depression and anxiety. Psychological injuries are assessed in the same way as physical injuries.

Industrial and delayed injuries are also an issue in the mining industry and can be the result of physical labour or exposure to loud noises, toxic dust or fumes and strong vibrations. Injuries include hearing loss, back and knee injuries and sprains and strains.

How to make a claim for workers’ compensation after a mining accident

There are two ways to seek compensation if you are injured during your work in the mining industry. The first is to make a claim for workers compensation and the second is to make a common law claim.

A claim for workers compensation is considered to be a statutory claim, which means it will be rewarded regardless of which party was at fault provided the worker can substantiate the claim they have been unable to work due to injury. Workers compensation claims typically cover the cost of medical professionals, rehabilitation and care and lost income (both present and future). WorkCover Queensland is the insurance provider which will assess these claims.

Although most injuries occur on-site, workers may also make a claim if they are injured on their way to and from work. This aspect of workers compensation is particularly important for workers who travel long distances across various means of transport in order to reach their work sites, such as ‘fly in, fly out’ workers.

Common law claims occur when a worker has been injured due to the negligence of another party and usually cover loss and suffering (which cannot be quantified in the same way as medical bills and lost wages) in addition to medical expenses and lost income. These types of claims may be brought in cases where someone did not follow correct safety procedures.

How much compensation will I receive for a workplace injury in the mining industry?

It is impossible to determine the amount of compensation that will be awarded as each case is assessed individually. If you have been injured at work, you should seek the advice of a personal injury lawyer who can work with you to put forward a strong case so that you receive the maximum amount of compensation.

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