Queensland Alumina Limited's red mud dam facility.
Queensland Alumina Limited's red mud dam facility.

QAL being sued for $1.65m after Red Mud Dam accident

Gladstone's biggest employer, Queensland Alumina Limited (QAL), and McCosker Contracting are being sued for $1.65 million after a worker's dozer tipped in the Red Mud Dam and he was washed up in the industrial waste.

Jason Kerfoot filed a workplace injury lawsuit against the companies in January at the Rockhampton Supreme Court.

The Statement of Claim details Mr Kerfoot was employed by McCosker Contracting as a machinery operator and he was conducting work at QAL's Red Mud Dam.

The document cites an incident occurred on December 3, 2018, when Mr Kerfoot was operating a dozer.

It states Mr Kerfoot was moving soil to raise the height of the back wall of the Red Mud Dam, which had slurry and manufacturing by-product behind it.

As Mr Kerfoot reversed to collect more soil, the back wall allegedly slumped and slurry washed away the wall, striking the dozer he was in and tipping it onto a 45-degree angle.

The document states Mr Kerfoot exited the dozer and dived into the slurry to get away from the dozer before it fully tipped.

According to the claim, Mr Kerfoot was then carried along tumbling forcefully downstream by the slurry, where he was completely submerged under the slurry and was ultimately being washed up onto some dry land covered in slurry and industrial waste.

Mr Kerfoot says he now suffers post-traumatic stress disorder and anosmia (loss of smell).

In the court documents, Mr Kerfoot alleges both companies failed to undertake any of adequate geotechnical investigations to determine the safety and stability of the dam wall.

Darren Moore, of Maurice Blackburn Rockhampton, is representing Mr Kerfoot and is suing for $1,657,148,42 for personal injuries and negligence.

Defence documents have not yet been filed.

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