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Safety Advocate workplace visits

Safety Advocates

Safety Advocates share their personal stories of trauma and tragedy to compel workers and employers to think about the most important reason for workplace safety and encourage employers and workers to develop work health and safety solutions together.

A Safety Advocate will attend your Queensland workplace free of charge, whether it's your annual staff BBQ or a regular workplace safety meeting to speak to workers, supervisors and managers about the importance of safety in the workplace.

With a Safety Advocate visit, you must:

  • agree that a representative from the Office of Industrial Relations (who may be a Workplace Health and Safety Queensland or Electrical Safety Office inspector) will accompany the advocate to the talk
  • agree that supervisors/managers/executives will attend the presentation to demonstrate how important safety is to your workplace
  • agree to complete a short survey after the event and provide feedback and photographs if possible.

Queensland businesses can request a Safety Advocate to visit a workplace, free of charge.

Bill Martin

Bill MartinBill's son, Tim, died at the age of 17 after he received an electric shock at work. Bill shares his tragic story to inspire people to lead in safety culture, and to better understand the unique safety requirements of young workers.

"My passion for safety is very strong. Safety is the most important thing in a workplace. What happened to Tim was so easily avoidable—it absolutely shouldn't have happened. I feel like I've got a responsibility to try and prevent others having to go through what we went through."

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Debbie and Dan Kennedy

Debbie and Dan Kennedy - Safety advocates Debbie and Dan's son Dale was working in a ceiling space when he died from an electric shock. Dale was only 20 and close to finishing his electrical apprenticeship. He was also a young father himself.

"If you have been asked to do something unsafe just say no, it’s not worth it. You're a stronger person if you stand up for your own safety, we want you to go home at the end of the day to your loved ones."

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Garry Nichols

Garry Nicholls Garry was involved in a rural tractor roll-over incident which resulted in traumatic injuries, including the loss of his leg.

"A small lapse in concentration and you could end up seriously injured—or worse. In my case it was a tractor. You may be driving home or walking across the road. A split second is all it takes."

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Gavan McGuane

Gavan McGuane

Gavan was blinded when he tripped and fell at work. He shares his story to prevent anyone else having to experience what he went through.

"Think about what it is you do and don't put yourself at risk just to get something completed five seconds faster than it would have otherwise been. Make sure everything is put into the right perspective so you come home safely."

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Jed Millen

Jed Millen Jed's career as a rigger ended when the bridge deck he was working on collapsed under his feet and he fell five metres onto the ground, permanently injuring his upper spine vertebrae.

"I want to use my story to encourage a more positive safety culture with workers. We need to challenge unsafe behaviours in others by leading by example. You have an obligation to your employer, but also to yourself and your family."

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Jodie and Mario Cocco

Domenic - thumbnailJodie and Mario Cocco's son Domenic suffered life-threatening injuries when he crashed a quad bike. He was not wearing a helmet and had not had any formal training.

"Just to stop one family from going through what we did is something we hope to achieve. Before riding a quad bike make sure you, your workers and your family have had formal training, always wear a helmet, use the right sized quad bike and never ride double."

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Julie and Don Sager

Julie and Don Sager At the age of 25, Julie and Don Sager's son Adam died from mesothelioma (an asbestos related disease).

"Before you disturb any building material—especially in homes built before 1990—check whether it is likely to contain asbestos. We couldn’t save Adam’s life, but we hope you can save your child’s life."

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Michael Garrels

Michael GarrelsMichael Garrels' son Jason was just 20 years old when he died at a construction site. He had only been working there for nine days.

"The old and wiser should be looking after the young and inexperienced, and for the younger guys who are doing a job, if you don’t know—ask. If you’re left unsupervised and don’t know how to do a task, ask to be supervised, it’s as simple as that. Be an advocate for your own safety—we want to prevent deaths happening out there."

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Robyn Neilson

Robyn NeilsonRobyn was the first responder to her neighbour who suffered horrific injuries after her arms caught in a post-hole digger on a remote cattle property. For two hours, Robyn gave life-saving care to keep her neighbour alive. After the traumatic incident, Robyn was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.

"Before people can prepare for the unexpected, they have to see safety as a very serious issue. Everybody can save a life and preparedness is absolutely vital."

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