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Workplace accidents around the world

Mining, construction, oil and gas industries dangerous all over

around the worldAustralia: Accident leaves miner a quadriplegic

The Broken Hill mining company Perilya was fined $260,000 after a 2008 accident that left a worker quadriplegic. 

Rod Flight was injured when the front-end loader he was operating overturned, trapping him underneath. The court found that the vehicle’s brakes, warning light and alarms were defective, due to inadequate maintance. The company pleaded guilty for failing to ensure the safety of its employee under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).

Flight’s accident was one of a series of incidents at the mine. Two 2007 accidents left workers with serious injuries and in 2011, a worker suffered a traumatic amputation of his leg and serious spinal injuries after falling down a mine shaft at the site.

Scotland: Adding insult to injury

An engineer in Scotland who was fired after being injured on the job has been awarded £70,000 (about $100,000) by a court in Edinburgh.

David Hynds suffered a spinal injury when a one ton cutting tool fell on him, trapping him between a girder support and the ground. Although initial x-rays showed no fractures, a subsequent MRI scan showed a compression deformity of the spine which would require major reconstructive surgery to correct.

He was later fired by the engineering firm David Reekie and Sons and ultimately sued the company, which admitted liability. The amount awarded by the court for his pain and suffering was less than the £500,000 he was seeking, although he will receive further compensation for loss of earnings and pension.

Singapore: Accident kills worker at construction site

A 59-year-old construction worker died after being trapped inside a toppled elevator. Rescue efforts were hampered because the exacavator was half buried in debris and the operator’s cabin was against a concrete slab. A crane was used to stabilize the heavy machine before rescue work could continue.

Family members of the victim, Low Chim Lam, arrived on the scene after seeing reports about the accident on TV news.

The country’s Manpower Ministry is investigating the accident.

Norway: Worker sprayed with ammonia

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) is investigating an accident last month on Kårstø in which two workers doing maintenance on a tank valve were exposed to ammonia. One was reportedly sprayed with ammonia and both were exposed to ammonia vapours. They were both taken to a local hospital.

The purpose of the PSA's investigation is to determine the scope and course of the incident, and to map and evaluate safety and emergency-related aspects of the incident.

Naturkraft is the operator of the facility. The company has initiated its own investigation of the incident, assisted by Statoil on Kårstø.

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