For Warren Adams, a line haul driver and a 30-year veteran of the road transport industry, trucking is more than a vocation.
Warren Adams: I've got four kids and 12 grandkids, mate, and trying to be Superman one weekend last year. Could have gone, the lot.
I don't remember exactly what happened. I had a nod and then ended up in a culvert after rolling the truck. I was pinned in the truck for four hours with my arm between the bridge and the vehicle. They pulled me out and yeah, flew to Townsville.
Jason Perin: That early communication is really important and making sure that that communication and the empathy that you're demonstrating is genuine.
Warren Adams: While I was down in Brisbane. I had some of the the big wigs from here phoning up from Scotts. They called while I was in hospital. I talked with them which was really cool. I had never met these people like, you know, in person and they're going out of the way to give me a call.
Jason Perin: For somebody that's gone through something as significant as he has, to see where he currently is has just been amazing. At the moment, he's not driving and it's not something that we could get him back into at any point early on.
We still got him back onto the depot doing very minimal duties, but mainly for his mental health and being there to see his comrades, see his colleagues, see his boss, his manager, be able to have some sort of normality in his life as opposed to sitting at home and reiterating everything that's happened and going over and over and over again.
Warren Adams: I go around and I talk to drivers about you know, looking after themselves, putting themselves before the job is probably the best way to put it. As far as truck drivers go, the load's more important than they are. Getting there on time, keeping the customer happy is way ahead of self preservation. And, and that's all cool until it's not.
Jason Perin: People value what he says and if he can help us spread that safety message that's genuine and not scripted and comes from his heart and that's exactly what we want and by him explaining that to our drivers and going through and giving his story, you can see it hits home. You can see the little change in their eyes when they see what he's talking about.
Warren Adams: Workcover is just amazing. They've got access to all the people that know exactly what to do. And if you've got a team that are willing to do everything they can to help you get back to work and these people don't know you. Everything they threw at me is, you know treatments, occupational therapists, surgeon just… you'd be an idiot not to, you really would.
His family had strong ties to trucking within the forestry industry back in his native New Zealand.
For Warren, a weekend run from Mackay to Townsville in October 2021 should have been routine – he knew the load and knew the route well.
“I just thought, ‘last run of the week. I can do this’. I’ve done it before. I’ve said it a thousand times in my life, ‘last run of the week’,” Warren said. “You just need that one where you don’t.”
He doesn’t remember what happened but believes he ‘had a nod’ at the wheel around 2.15am. The truck rolled, and Warren ended up in a culvert, his arm pinned between a bridge and the truck.
He was rescued and taken to hospital in Townsville, then flown to Brisbane for specialist surgeries and treatment. Since the accident, he’s undergone at least 15 surgeries to try to repair his arm.
Amongst the trauma of a serious injury, one thing that has stuck in his mind is that his employer, Scotts Refrigerated Logistics, got in touch with him right away after the accident.
“They called while I was in hospital. I talked with them which was really cool. I had never met these people like, you know, in person and they're going out of their way to give me a call,” Warren said.
While he’s not currently back behind the wheel, Warren is back at Scotts working as a safety ambassador. He speaks to other drivers about the importance of putting their own safety first.
In the meantime, through WorkCover, Warren has been able to access the support he needs for his recovery, including surgery, rehabilitation and occupational therapy.
Jason Perin, Health and Wellbeing Lead at Scotts, says that when Warren talks, other drivers listen.
“People value what he says and if he can help us spread that safety message that's genuine and not scripted and comes from his heart and that's exactly what we want,” Jason said.
It's a serious message, because it’s one Warren knows he nearly wasn’t able to tell.
“I've got four kids and 12 grandkids, mate. Trying to be Superman one weekend last year - could have gone, the lot.”