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.
Bill'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."
Debbie and Dan Kennedy
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."
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."
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."
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."
Jodie and Mario Cocco
Jodie 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."
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."
Michael 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."
Robyn 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."
Our Safety Advocates:
- increase awareness about the importance of work health and safety
- highlight the personal impacts that an injury can have on workers and their families
- prompt discussion about work health and safety
- encourage employers and workers to develop work health and safety solutions together.
Our Safety Advocates will attend your event—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.
- 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 that no audio recording or filming is permitted (you are welcome to take still photographs)
- agree to complete a short survey after the event and provide feedback and photographs.
Our Safety Advocates are not qualified inspectors and are not able to provide specific safety advice for your business, nor guidance on compliance with work health and safety or electrical safety laws.
If you need assistance in these areas, please call 1300 362 128 and ask about our Injury Prevention and Management program, or visit worksafe.qld.gov.au.