Construction worker wins $1.9M in compensation for back-breaking fall at Nishi work site

Construction worker wins $1.9M in compensation for back-breaking fall at Nishi work site

A Canberra construction worker has won $1.9 million in compensation after he broke his back when he fell five metres into a shaft during construction of the Nishi building.

The accident had robbed Mr Bush of the chance to chase a career as a professional cricketer, court documents said.

The money will have to last Jayson Bush, 27, the rest of his life after the ACT Supreme Court heard of his reduced ability to work and ongoing medical needs.

Mr Bush desperately called for help on his mobile phone for almost two hours as he lay in darkness with a broken back, five broken ribs, a punctured lung and other head and shoulder injuries.

At one point, he spoke to a triple-0 operator but the connection was poor and the line dropped out before help could be arranged.

He was eventually found by a coworker and rescued.

Court documents listed 20 separate injuries Mr Bush suffered as a result of the fall, including multiple fractures, a brain injury, pneumothorax, pulmonary contusions, ligament damage, and broken teeth.

A further 23 disabilities, as a result of the injuries, were outlined in the lawsuit, including ongoing physical and mental health issues.

The lawsuit alleged Mr Bush’s life expectancy was now 59.

Court papers, filed by Mr Bush’s lawyers, Ken Cush and Associates, made claims for past and future economic loss through reduced earning capacity, domestic assistance, and out-of-pocket expenses, including ongoing medical costs.

The matter settled before going to hearing, with a consent judgment filed in the Supreme Court in August for $1.9 million, plus costs, in Mr Bush’s favour.

On October 22, 2012, Mr Bush, then aged 22, had been sent alone to work on fire resistant speed panels being installed at the New Acton construction site.

Mr Bush was cutting large holes in the panels when he fell forward into the shaft and landed on a concrete floor at the bottom.

Pieces of the heavy panel also fell through into the shaft and landed on top of him as he lay injured.

WorkSafe ACT launched an investigation into the incident, and Mr Bush’s employer, Corporate Ventures Pty Ltd, trading as fire protection company Bowsers, was prosecuted in the ACT Industrial Court.

The company pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to comply with a health and safety duty, exposing an individual to serious harm.

In 2015, an ACT Industrial Court magistrate fined the company $270,000 for safety failings.

The court heard the company had comprehensive safety systems in place at the time of the accident, but had failed to impose proper safety measures for Mr Bush’s specific task after the specifics of the work changed.

The company had originally just been required to install speed panels, but was then asked to cut large holes in them.

The court heard the company could have used edge protection, harnesses, or other fall-protection measures to prevent the accident.

But it also heard mitigating evidence that the company director had acted immediately to investigate the accident, ordering a report the day it occurred.

The company, which already had a good safety record, went on to significantly strengthen the way it dealt with work site safety.

This article is from Canberra Times:


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