Man wins worker's compensation claim after being attacked by 'agitated 220kg boar'

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A South Australian man who was attacked by a pig has won a worker’s compensation claim against his employer, who claimed his injury was actually caused in a game with his dog.

Key points:

  • The piggery farmhand broke a thigh bone when he was gored by the boar in 2015
  • But pain in his ankle forced him to stop work altogether in 2017
  • A tribunal finds it flowed from the original injury caused by the pig, not a game with his dog in 2016

According to the claim, Graham Nottle was gored by an agitated 220-kilogram boar while working at the Sabor artificial insemination breeding centre in Clare — in the mid-north of South Australia — in May 2015, breaking his thigh bone.

The 45-year-old went back to work in 2016 but still suffered pain while doing his job which included working closely with boars weighing from 100 to 350kg and regularly walking them around the piggery.

He told the South Australian Employment Tribunal that going back to work too soon caused him to break a bone in his ankle, which then developed necrosis.

Sabor claimed the injury was caused in a tug-of-war game Mr Nottle had played with his dog in September 2016 during which he suffered a sprained ankle.

But the tribunal found it was just a coincidence, and in fact the tug-of-war game had led to Mr Nottle getting his ankle looked at properly.

His surgeon Rob Paterson ordered Mr Nottle to stop work altogether in January 2017, saying he had already worked longer than he should have.

“I find it amazing that Mr Nottle was able to persevere and continue to fully weight-bear after suffering that injury,” Dr Paterson said.

“The injury to the ankle was not a direct result of the work-related injury to the knee, but Mr Nottle advises that in favouring his knee, this resulted in his placing all the weight onto the left foot at the time of the incident which clearly would have predisposed to the injury to the ankle.

“In addition, it is clear that he suffered significant aggravation of the injury by persisting at work.”

Employer blames game with dog

In their submissions, Sabor and Return to Work SA said the months of weight-bearing at work after the original fracture did not significantly aggravate it.

They said there was “no progressive worsening of the ankle” between when Mr Nottle went back to work and when he was injured playing with his dog.

The tribunal’s deputy president Stephen Lieschke ordered Mr Nottle be paid compensation under the Return to Work Act, with the amount to be worked out next week.

“In my opinion, the evidence as a whole strongly supports the applicant’s claim,” Mr Lieschke wrote in his decision.

“I conclude that the presenting stress fracture of the left talus in January 2017 was significantly contributed to by employment, and that resulting total incapacity for work commenced on 12 January 2017, and has continued since then.”

Sabor has been contacted by the ABC for comment.