In the case of Fisher v Qantas Airways Ltd [2014] QDC 117, a forty nine year old baggage handler working for Qantas received $225,035.00 in compensation after he suffered a serious neck injury at work.

On 7 February 2011 Mr Fisher, who was working for Qantas at Cairns airport, was unloading containers from a Boeing 767 aircraft. One of the containers became stuck on the mechanical floor of the hold of the aircraft and in an attempt to free the container, Mr Fisher pulled forcefully on a strap attached to the container. The strap broke and Mr Fisher fell backwards on to the unloading platform injuring his neck.

Before the incident, Mr Fisher had always been in continuous employment and had previously been employed as a deckhand, labourer and as a Telecom linesman. He had been working as a baggage handler since April 1993.

His work with Qantas moving luggage involved physical work, repetitive lifting and twisting which had to be performed quickly to ensure that aircraft departed on time. Mr Fisher worked 38 hours a week and said that if it wasn’t for the incident, he would have kept working until retirement age.

In his findings, in the judge considered Mr Fisher’s past and future economic loss, future loss of superannuation benefits and special damages such as the future medical care Mr Fisher will need.

Click to access the judgement to the case.