High-pressure dispute

Paper trail: Stephen Tapper has been in a three-year battle for compensation. Picture: Jon Hewson d413831
Paper trail: Stephen Tapper has been in a three-year battle for compensation. Picture: Jon Hewson d413831

Stephen Tapper said the whole ordeal had been stressful and hard financially.

In June 2010, Mr Tapper started working with TPI as a high-pressure water blaster. Two months later he was stepping off a ladder at the Pinjarra refinery and stepped on a hose. He claims he lost his footing and fell about one metre.

He said the fall snapped ligaments in his right foot, which required surgery. He claims the fall also exacerbated a previous neck injury.

Since the incident, Mr Tapper said his dealings with TPI had been difficult.

His allegations include being asked to wash utes, even though he could not get his infected foot wet. He also claims he was asked to operate machinery, despite being on medication and strong pain killers.

Mr Tapper also claims his privacy was violated when someone took surveillance of him coaching his daughter’s basketball game at Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre.

He said TPI wanted to stop his workers compensation, but returning to work or finding another job would be difficult because of his injuries.

The father of three got $7000 in back pay after he took his case to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

An investigation by Comcare found insufficient evidence of bullying and harassment by TPI, but recommended TPI review its internal investigations process and issued an improvement notice due to a shortfall in the induction system.

A spokeswoman for TPI said the company was committed to the health and safety of all employees and subcontractors in line with its Zero Harm philosophy.

‘We take all claims about safety and injury very seriously and do all we can to investigate and resolve complaints,’ she said.

A conciliation conference is scheduled with the AAT on March 10.