Amputee gets workers comp as rejection overturned

A FORMER gas pipeline worker, who had his lower leg amputated after it got infected, has been granted worker's compensation.

Brian Johns had originally been denied compensation by the workers compensation regulator, but an appeal hearing of the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission went Mr Johns' way.

The hearing heard how Mr Johns, a diabetic, had been injured when he received burns to his right big toe while riding a motorbike without shoes.

Mr Johns' working environment was one where he was required to walk through swampy ground in gumboots, and often the muddy swamp water entered the top of the boots, which Mr Johns claimed infected the wound.

Mr Johns' initial court application stated that the infection had been caused by a blister created by the gumboots he was required to work in.

However, the appeal hearing heard that the wound had been created by the motorcycle burn.

A swab taken at Gladstone hospital at the end of October 2012 revealed two bacteria - Staphylococcus aureus (Staph A) and an Acinetobacter baumannii (Acinetobacter) - in the wound.

His toe was amputated on November 6, 2012.

His foot was amputated in February 2013 and his leg below the knee in June of the same year.

He lodged an application with Work Cover to receive workers compensation in July 2013, which was rejected.

Mr Johns appealed that decision and expert medical witness evidence, both on behalf of Mr Johns and on behalf of the workers compensation regulator, showed that it was more probable than not that the bacterial infection had been acquired during the course of Mr Johns' employment.

In determining his judgement on the case, industrial commissioner Gary Black upheld Mr John's appeal, and ruled that the compensation claim be accepted.


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