Australia Post fined for lost leg
A WORKPLACE accident has robbed Leonard Bobart of one of his favourite past times, but it has done nothing to remove his positive attitude.
Mr Bobart, 76, was three days shy of his 73rd birthday when he was run over by a forklift while working as a contractor at the Toowoomba Mail Centre on July 7, 2008.
Surgeons could not repair the damage and a few days later his right leg was amputated about 15 centimetres below the knee.
It was a crushing blow for the veteran of six full marathons and nine half marathons who had also run with the Olympic Torch in the lead up to the Sydney Games.
The incident also proved costly for Australia Post, which was yesterday fined $160,000 and ordered to pay $80,000 in legal costs after the Federal Court found it to have breached the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
The court heard Australia Post admitted it had failed to properly control pedestrian and vehicle traffic in the congested loading dock.
Mr Bobart took no consolation from the decision, however he hoped it would send a strong message.
"I think the main thing to come out is hopefully it will never happen again," Mr Bobart said.
"I think there was certainly room for improvement."
Mr Bobart was working as a mail delivery contractor between Toowoomba and Taroom when the incident occurred.
He recalled the moment in hospital when he realised out how bad the injury was.
"The surgeon same in one morning and said 'that foot's no good; it's going to have to come off'."
The support of six children, 18 grandchildren, six great grandchildren and his wife of 54 years Valerie has helped the former Roma Cities Rugby League Club A-Grade coach back to being able to walk.
"He's got the most positive attitude I've ever met in anybody," Mrs Bobart said.
"He is an inspiration to the whole family."
Mr Bobart said he had been compensated for his loss in a confidential settlement.
He takes his beloved dog Fred for daily walks but can no longer run.
"Not being able to run was a bit a bit of a blow.
"I ran for pleasure; not to prove anything.
"I do miss it.