Former footy warhorse Shane Webcke was famous for his on-field passion, determination and work ethic, but he’s now bringing these same qualities to his role as an advocate for work safety.
Launching into his seventh year as Queensland Safety Ambassador, the league legend is dropping into businesses around the state speaking to workers about why safety is so important to him and what can happen if it’s overlooked.
Born and bred in rural Queensland, the ambassador role is personal for Shane as his father was killed by an industrial wool-press he was working on just as his son’s footy career was taking shape.
“I lost my dad to a workplace incident, so I know first-hand that family and loved ones are the most important reason for work safety,” Shane said.
“As Queensland Safety Ambassador, I travel around the state visiting workplaces and sharing my story in the hope I can make people think twice about their own and their mates’ safety and encourage businesses to create positive safety cultures.
“Seven years on and this is more than just a job for me. I am just as passionate today about work safety as I was when I first started in the role in early 2015.
“We lost dad needlessly almost three decades ago when I was a teenager. Sure, the years have moved on, but the pain hasn’t for those he left behind - my mum, my brother and me.
“Hopefully, sharing my family’s story and the tragedy that affected us will open up hearts and minds on the importance of safety.
“Trust me, as a parent, you don’t want your kids to grow up without knowing you and having to endure everything we went through after dad’s death. It’s horrible, devastating, and sadly, often avoidable.”
“When I’m on site and a bunch of blokes have gathered to listen, you’re not really sure of how things are going to turn out.
“But once it starts and you can hear a pin drop, you know you’re getting through.
“To see battle-hardened blue-collar workers tear up, you realise they are taking it in, relating it back their situation. It’s also a good sign when they ask questions at the end or tell you about their experiences. I hope that means I’ve helped change the attitude of at least one person in the crowd, made a bit of a difference and maybe, just maybe, a life or two might be saved down the track.”
Shane is especially busy during October which is national Safe Work Month and sees workplaces across Australia taking time to focus on work health and safety. In Queensland there’s a mix of livestreamed and in person events. Shane features in the launch on 1 October, the Safe Work and Return to Work Awards ceremony, and UQ’s Health, Safety and Wellness Forum 2021 held at the St Lucia Campus.
The 2021 Safe Work Month program also includes the Injury Prevention and Return to Work Conference, the Mental Health Forum and a series of short webinars including ‘Changes in work during COVID-19 (and beyond)’ by Professor Sharon Parker and ‘The human cost of not speaking up. Psychological safety – not just nice but necessary!’ by Naomi Armitage.
Read more on Safe Work Month and Shane’s ambassador role.
Safe Work Month 2021 - Media kit (PDF, 0.55 MB).
Queensland Safety Ambassador, Shane Webcke.
Media contact: 0478 33 22 00 or firstname.lastname@example.org