Brad Butcher was employed by Inflight Logistics Services to drive food and beverage trucks to aircraft within Brisbane Airport. On 22 January 2013, Butcher received an electric shock whilst holding an electrical cord and a metal frame of a hydraulic bin lifter. Butcher was observed by a witness lying on the ground for between five to 10 seconds after the shock, suffering from uncontrollable shaking and an erratic pulse. He was transported by ambulance to Royal Brisbane Hospital and discharged the same day.
Butcher filed in the District Court of Queensland for damages totalling $330,254.13. Butcher claimed he sustained a psychological injury from the incident. Under the psychiatric impairment rating scale (‘PIRS’) within schedules 10 and 11 of the Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation Regulations 2014 (Qld), he was diagnosed by a psychiatrist with a 17% permanent impairment rating. This was due to ‘developing PTSD, along with…anxiety and depression’.
Judge Moynihan ordered judgment in favour of Butcher of a total of $47,261.95. This included $35,400 in general damages for psychiatric injury.
For Queensland PCBU’s, there is a potential for employees to claim psychological injury following a physical injury.