Melbourne employer hit with $1.26m OHS compensation bill

by 14 Sep 2010

A Melbourne employer has been hit with a huge compensation bill for more than $1million after a workplace accident left an employee needing his foot amputated.

Linton Shirreff, 49, was working on the refurbishment of a building at Collins Street in the Melbourne CBD in 2002 when he fell from a ladder and suffered the injury. He had been performing maintenance on a broken lift that his boss had reportedly told him ‘to fix immediately’.

Shirreff has suffered severe and unrelenting pain, and restriction of movement, in his right foot. He has been advised to amputate the foot, and he has accepted this is inevitable at some time in the future.

Last week he was awarded $1.26 million in compensation for his pain and suffering and loss of employment in the Supreme Court of Victoria.

Supreme Court Justice Robson found Mr Shirreff’s employer, Elazac Pty Ltd, had breached its duty of care, and this breach had caused shocking injuries. Justice Robson awarded damages to Mr Shirreff for pain, suffering and loss of amenities in life of $320,000 plus damages for pecuniary loss of $940,000, totalling $1.26 million, plus a substantial amount of interest.

Slater & Gordon worker’s compensation lawyer John Karantzis said the case was a clear warning to employers using sub-standard workplace practices.

"Mr Shirreff should never have had to suffer such pain and now face the reality he will need to have his foot amputated," Karantzis said.

"Clearly, a safe and systematic workplace would have prevented such an accident. Cases like this show how important it is for employers to take responsibility for workplace safety - as the consequences can be devastating."


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