Miner sues companies over safety issues.
Miner sues companies over safety issues. Brandon Livesay

Dangerous site? “That’s mining”

WHEN John Rogatski raised concerns about an unsafe work area at a Central Queensland mine site, the response was "that's mining mate".

He also claims he was threatened with the sack if he divulged details of a meeting where he voiced his fears again.

These allegations are contained in documents submitted to the Supreme Court in Rockhampton, where Mr Rogatski is suing WDS (Mining) Pty Ltd and Oaky Creek Coal Pty Ltd for $1,333,082.04.

The claim alleges he suffers from depression and PTSD after having his safety concerns ignored after working in what he described as an unsafe work site.

Mr Rogatski, now 54, was employed as an underground miner at Oaky Creek mine, about 17km southeast of Tieri in Central Queensland. He was hired by Oaky Creek mine through WDS Limited, a company which supplies a range of workers for the mining industry.

At the time Oaky Creek had a procedure in place which identified risks and hazards, as well as a requirement for workers to be taken through correct training and procedures by a supervisor.

On February 3, 2012, Mr Rogatski was told to assist another worker, but after being taken to the site where they were to be working he said he thought conditions were unsafe. In the statement the underground area was described as dark and flooded with muddy water, which was allegedly full of contaminants such as broken pallets, boards with exposed nails and other rubbish. Mr Rogatski claims he received no response when he raised concerns with the other worker. He told him he had never done that particular work before, and felt unsafe doing so due to the state of the site, to which the man allegedly replied in words to the effect of, "that's mining mate".

Mr Rogatski continued working, and after lunch another man came to assist them by operating the loader which allegedly dropped the "cans" they were installing - large, concrete pillars.

Mr Rogatski claims he repeated his concerns but again was ignored and felt "increasingly anxious, stressed and nervous".

A week later he was completing paperwork when he began feeling chest pains and a shortness of breath, which sent him to the doctor.

Upon returning to camp that afternoon, immediately after being treated, he was called to attend a meeting with representatives from both the mine and WDS.

At that meeting he again raised his concerns- but alleges he was told that if he told anyone about the content of the meeting he would be sacked.

Mr Rogatski is suing for damages for treatment and for loss of income. The lawsuit is seeking damages for breach of contract, negligence, statutory duty and vicarious liability.

Attempts to contact WDS Mining and Oaky Creek for a response were unsuccessful yesterday.