Safety advocates

Garry Nichols: Safety advocate

Garry is a Workplace Health and Safety Queensland safety advocate.

A rural tractor roll-over incident resulted in traumatic injuries, including the loss of his leg.

Now Garry visits Queensland businesses as a safety advocate, hoping to help others avoid what he has been through.

Every year about 40 people die due to workplace related incidents in Queensland, and around 5000 Queenslanders will suffer some kind of permanent injury. Tractors are the second main cause of injury in agriculture, in Queensland.

Left quoteA 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.Right quote

Garry herd

With the rapidly developing situation of the COVID-19 in Australia we have decided to postpone upcoming Safety Advocate bookings. We apologise for any inconvenience. Thank you for your support of the program. Any Safety Advocate enquiries can be directed to safe@oir.qld.gov.au

Between a rock and a hard place - Garry's story

Download a copy of this film (ZIP, 33MB)

  • Read transcript
    • FIONA: at the moment, the rural industry does have quite a high number of fatalities, and severe injuries in relation to other industry sectors

      FIONA: when we're talking about severe injuries, we're not talking about you know, a couple of stiches, or a crushed finger, we're talking about amputations and people maybe never returning to their work again so it is very serious.

      FIONA: It's very, very important that we work with industry to try and find solutions to some of those high risk activities and hopefully reduce those severe injury and those fatality rates.

      GENERAL TITLE SLIDE: "Between a rock and hard place"

      GARRY: I was farming. Most of my life I was on the farm. But I did have a tractor accident and that changed all

      MARLENE: He was the type of person who had to be busy all the time.

      GORDON: Everything had to be done today and not tomorrow and

      GARRY: I guess I was in the prime of my life, you know, I was 38 and I was pretty much bullet proof.

      MARLENE: Life was great and then 'bang'.

      [3 second black out]

      MARLENE: (voice only over black dropout) But that's the way it can happen.

      MARLENE: he mentioned to me that he was going to slash the paddock and I said well you be damn careful on that hill

      GARRY: I was slashing some fairly high scrub and you couldn't really see too far in front of you. But at the actual time of rolling it, I was looking up the hill and thinking well I've only got another hour and a half'.

      MARLENE: He had remembered some rocks in the paddock but he couldn't remember where they were.

      GARRY: when I hit the rock, it was certainly a combination of the slope of the hill, there was a washout on the bottom side of the rock as well, and the height of the rock.

      GARRY: Basically the impact of hitting the rock was just - I had no control at all - Just flipped over 360 sideways and catapulted me out down the bottom side.

      GARRY: I hit the ground, and I rolled and rolled and then when I stopped, I looked up and here was this tractor wheel coming down on top of me and I just screamed

      GARRY: I knew I was in strife, my body was flat, the tractor had actually got me across the groin and the pelvis and there was blood everywhere

      GARRY: my fear was that I had a broken back - and when I wriggled the toes on the left one, it worked, the right one eventually stopped.

      GARRY: I then hauled myself around. And - that was the most excruciating thing I've ever done. I had white lights just flashing before my eyes and it just felt like I was leaving the bottom half of my body behind. It was as if it was hanging by - just by a nerve, it was extremely painful.

      [3 second black out]

      GARRY: I strongly believe if that to get through something you need to focus on something that is really dear to you - I had to live for my family. We had a three year old girl - so that was my focus.

      GARRY: It was a long wait.

      GARRY: I saw my wife going to town. I saw the dust and I thought well there goes one avenue. Because I was thinking she'll come looking for me.

      GARRY: And then I heard a neighbour's tractor coming down the hill and that's when I yelled and somehow, somehow, he heard me.

      GORDON: my neighbour rang me and said that Garry had an accident, could you come over straight away?

      GORDON: I stood beside him on the stretcher and tried to keep him calm and talk him through it and, 'cause he was in a bad way, he was losing a lot of blood and I could see his leg was pretty bad

      CRYSTAL (with baby): I do remember coming around the corner of the hill, coming home from shopping with mum, and I saw the whole cattle paddock full with lights and helicopters and ambulances.

      MARLENE: I thought strewth, there's been a horrific accident at either of these farm houses

      GARRY: And Marlene came on site and threatened to kill me if I died - so - you're not leaving me with this child on my own.

      MARLENE: I think it was anger, shock, dismay. Our future, all our plans were down the tubes because he did something stupid you know and I was, I was angry.

      GARRY: they stabilised me then they choppered out to Cairns Base Hospital.

      GORDON: my thoughts at the time that he wasn't going to make it. GORDON: It was a fairly, fairly, yeah, disturbing, disturbing thing to witness.

      [1.5 second black out]

      GARRY: the specialists said they had never seen anyone come in with those injuries, survive.

      MARLENE: well we had an idea that he was going to lose his leg because it was cold - He couldn't feel me touching it

      GARRY: I cried buckets of tears that's for sure. Particularly when they - they said we're going to amputate.

      GARRY: Even though in the paddock, I'd known that I was going to lose it, the reality was a different thing, it was when they said they were going to cut it off.

      GARRY: after they shaved my whickers off, Crystal didn't recognise me and that was - that was - huge - that -

      CRYSTAL: it was just the initial shock of seeing him that sick and not well - it probably scared me a bit.

      GARRY: Yeah, I found that very hard to cope with, lying in hospital, you know, on the deathbed I suppose because they didn't think I would survive.

      [Pause]

      GARRY: It took a long time for me to get images of the rollover out of my mind, that haunted me for - a long time. And certainly the noise of the, when the tractor actually flattened me and squashed me.

      MARLENE: For the first 12 months after the accident, it was horrific for both of us I think.

      GARRY: I think my wife went through a lot more pain than I did. Certainly I was getting physical pain but she had mental pain. Mental strain, she had to try and keep the farm going, deal with me.

      MARLENE: He tried to brush me off in the hospital. Umm, said well you can pee off now.

      MARLENE: I was shocked, you know. And I just said hey, we made some vows a while back - In sickness and in health and I meant what I said.

      GARRY: I didn't have insurance for me. Looking back I guess I was bullet proof, it wasn't going to happen to me and yet when you look at it now it's so stupid because I was the main cog, without me, the farm didn't exist.

      GORDON: they were struggling at the time, trying to make the farm work and Garry's in, you know, development stage with his bananas and.

      CRYSTAL: Mum had to stay on the farm and try and run the farm when Dad went out to sell fertiliser I think it was and he was gone for one or two weeks at a time and I think that was hard on Mum

      MARLENE: and I just said to Garry - I know it's going to break your heart to leave it go, but the dream is now a nightmare for me. I can't handle much more stress; I've just about had all I can take.

      CRYSTAL: And I think that's why the farm ended up getting sold in the beginning, I think that's one of the reasons and because of course Dad couldn't do all the things he used to.

      GARRY: With the fact that I couldn't ride a horse, I gave up my dream of cattle. Ever owning a cattle block.

      GARRY: it was just like slamming a book you know, the final chapter and I knew I'd never go back to it. So yeah it was difficult. But - life goes on (V EMOTIONAL).

      [Pause]

      FIONA: in Garry's situation, the incident could well have been prevented.

      FIONA: He was under a lot of pressure to do the job. He was a man that pushed himself.

      MARLENE: it's not that he was careless; I guess that he was overconfident in his ability and always racing against time.

      GARRY: look, the accident could have been prevented, there's no doubt about that.

      GARRY: being on the farm all my life and complacency certainly did play a part

      GARRY: there's a couple of things I did wrong. Apart from certainly not having the roll frame on.

      GARRY: the rollover frame would have stopped the tractor from rolling, but I was slashing country where I couldn't see and I was using a 60 horsepower tractor where I should have been using a dozer. It's as simple as that - right machinery, right job. I didn't have the right machinery.

      FIONA: So with any incident, there's always a lot of factors – there's always factors surrounding the person, the piece of equipment they're using and the environment they're using it in.

      FIONA: and it's being able to recognise those, those risk factors and doing what we call a risk assessment.

      GARRY: Sometimes you put yourself into a situation where you know you shouldn't be,

      GARRY: I did some foolish things. I was fortunate enough that I got through it. Unfortunately, a lot of people out there won't make it.

      FIONA: from this story, I hope people take home the fact that incidents can happen to anybody. You can be a competent person, you may have been brought up on the land and you may have done that same job over and over again but the more risks you take, the more you increase the likelihood of having a severe injury or a fatality.

      FIONA: I'd really like people to hopefully watch this and just sit back and take a bit of time and absorb it. Think about what can go wrong and if you're doing something at home that you know is wrong, please pull up, take some time to fix it.

      MARLENE: the best advice I can give farmers is think about your family

      CRYSTAL: keep a safe workplace because you've got your family to go home to and if you don't go home to your family, your family is going to be heartbroken. Because your family is what matters.

      FIONA: Workplace Health and Safety should be an integral part of all of our business, it should never be isolated, we need to include safety in everything that we do to change people's behaviour - and everyone has the right to go to work put in a good day's work and come home a little dirty at the end of the day, but be home - and be home with your family.

      GORDON: at the end of the day, if you're alive, well you're going to be coming home, to your wife and children and grandchildren - I guess that's the ultimate prize, isn't it? To be able to live a long and healthy life on the land and enjoy it because it's an enjoyable life on the land, there's no two ways about it.

      FIONA: I've seen a lot of people go through incidents have come out with injuries similar to Garry's and some worse, that their marriages have broken down, they've lost their properties, they're isolated from their families, their whole life has been turned upside down

      MARLENE: life without each other, I shudder to think what it would be.

      GORDON: he's a really tough man, he's a fighter, and I'm very impressed with the way he's pulled through the whole thing.

      CRYSTAL: when I was three, it didn't really occur to me that he, you know, he could die. But now that I'm older - I kind of think wow, how lucky I really am to still have him around?

      GARRY: We now have an irrigation shop. I think we're just about back to where we were pre the accident and that, that's taken 17 years.

      GARRY: We nearly lost everything in the process, financially, but the strength was still there, you know, my wife stuck by me, the family stuck by me and I think that was the greatest asset I could have had.

      GARRY: and I'm just so fortunate that I'm here to enjoy it, I wanted to see my daughter grow up and I saw it and that was wonderful and now she's produced a wonderful little granddaughter and that's even better still so yeah, look, life's good. Couldn't be better.

      SLIDE: Work Safe. Home safe. Farm safe. Queensland Government logo

Garry Nichols was an experienced farmer when his life changed forever after a tractor rollover incident.

Between a rock and a hard place – Garry's story shows how a short moment of complacency in the workplace can lead to severe physical, emotional and financial problems.

Order your free copies of Garry’s DVD via safe@oir.qld.gov.au.

Workplace visits

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

A Safety Advocate will attend your event - whether it’s your regular safety meeting, toolbox talk or annual staff BBQ - to speak to workers, supervisors and managers about the importance of safety in the workplace.

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.

If your workplace could benefit from a visit from Garry or one of our other Safety Advocates, make a request and we'll be in touch.

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.

Request a free workplace visit

Workplace visit testimonials

Left quoteOur staff were very impressed with Garry’s presentation with a couple saying that they could listen to him again. His presentation was very well received and thought provoking and I’m sure quite a few will be reviewing their work practices from now on. We’ve taken a couple of photos of our Inspector Mark Ridge making a presentation to Garry in appreciation. We’re now keen to repeat the experience some time in 2021.Right quote

- Ian Stevenson, Darling Downs-Moreton Rabbit Board

Garry Darling Downs-Moreton Rabbit Board
Garry at the Darling Downs-Moreton Rabbit Board.


Left quoteI just wanted to share with you how privileged Designer Life felt to have Garry attend our Mitchelton Hub event last week. Garry had the whole room in awe and his story really hit home to everyone and gave encouragement to our students to really believe in themselves and what they can achieve.Right quote

- Jess Herrmann, Designer Life

Garry at Designer Life
Garry presenting at Designer Life.


Left quoteThis year we celebrated Safe Work Month with guest speaker Garry Nichols. We are so grateful to Garry for sharing his experience. During Garry’s presentation you couldn’t hear a pin drop as he had our undivided attention, as a result no group photo of his presentation. Thanks again for this privilege where we can all share, extend and learn from.Right quote

- Annette Corcoran, Sugar Research Australia


Left quoteJust wanted to send you a thank you for arranging for Garry to attend Scenic Rim Regional Council and share his story with staff. I have had such great feedback from all the sessions today.Right quote

- Pauline Wimmer, Scenic Rim Regional Council

Garry at Scenic Rim Regional Council
Garry presenting at Scenic Rim Regional Council.


Left quoteBoth sessions went well. Garry did his normal unbelievable talk, gee he is good at getting the people’s attention and reasons to be motivated for a safer workplace for all. Thank you once again for assisting in getting Garry to workplaces, workers find it very beneficial and I use it to push safety along.Right quote

- Gerard Bowe, Public Safety Business Agency


Left quoteEveryone enjoyed hearing Garry’s story and said that his story really hit home, that even though Garry was injured by a tractor - it really could be related to anything. Key take home messages from today:

  • Pay attention to the task at hand
  • Follow procedures
  • Get back to work as soon as you can
  • Speak up - be brave about safety

Having WHSQ Safety Advocates visit our offices is a very effective way to get the safety message across to staff. Thanks for arranging the visit to Toowoomba.Right quote

- Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (Toowoomba)

Garry with the Department of Natural Resources in Toowoomba
Garry with the Department of Natural Resources in Toowoomba.


Left quoteYes, definitely a big impact. Probably not so much within my work related duties but more so when I’m driving a vehicle - I guess to work and home etc and to do the banking. Just a big focus on concentrating on what you are doing as he had a tractor accident. And how it affected his family, many had tears including me and then I had to get up and thank him, definitely a few cracks in my voice as we all relate it back to our own loved ones and how you would all cope with such a traumatic event. Probably a direct hit for our field workers/compliance officers etc.Right quote

Left quoteSuch a touching story and there were a few tears shed during the course of his story.Right quote

- Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (Bundaberg)

Garry with the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (Bundaberg)
Garry with the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (Bundaberg).


Left quoteMy understanding is that everyone was very engaged and emotional by the end of both discussions. I was on site for the breakfast crew and they were all very touched by Garry’s story and appreciative of the time he gave them. Our agronomist was quite emotional and very empathetic to what Garry went through to save his own life. Thanks again and I will keep in touch to arrange a similar event in 2020.Right quote

- Nicole Cooper, Greensill Farming Group

Garry with the Greensill Farming Group
Garry with the Greensill Farming Group.


Left quoteThank you for the opportunity to have Garry speak on site. His talk was very well received by all who attended or saw his story via video (if unable to attend the session). The message about a lapse in concentration was particularly relevant and although a different industry everything that was discussed was relevant and had a hard hitting message.Right quote

- Emma Leech, WICIT

Garry with WICIT
Garry with WICIT.


Left quoteIt was a huge pleasure to have Garry talking to the Bindaree team. Garry spoke to workers and supervisor about the importance of safety in the workplace and shared with us his meaningful experience. Garry’s visit will help us take safety to an emotional level and have a positive impact to build the safety culture we want to embed at Bindaree.Right quote

- Thais Galvao, Bindaree Food Group

Garry with Bindaree Food Group
Garry with the Bindaree Food Group team.


Left quoteThank you so much for organising Garry to present to the Qantas staff at Brisbane Airport. The room was full with as many staff that could fit. Garry’s presentation was honest, raw and confronting. It was also warm, encouraging and supportive. To be honest, every emotion was felt at some point or another during his presentation.

The audience was a mixture of management, administration staff, health and safety representatives, ramp staff and customer facing check in staff. To guage the emotions in the room during his presentation, I would describe it as intense. All eyes were on Garry. He held the attention of everyone for the whole time. It was a testament to him that the line to shake his hand, give him a hug or thank him after the presentation was extensive.

I applaud your organisation for the work that you do for injury/accident prevention. If just one person listens and changes a potentially unsafe behaviour, it is all worth it.Right quote

- Ruth Healy, Qantas

Garry at Brisbane Airport
Garry at Brisbane Airport.


Left quoteWe LOVED having Garry out on site last Wednesday afternoon. It was a pleasure to have him tell his story to our small group in an intimate setting. We are grateful for his honesty and openness to share his mistakes as he relived the traumatic experience. Key messages that really hit home for our team were the importance of keeping your mind on the job, reassess and be cautious before taking a shortcut, and the ripple effect – while Garry was injured, the effects of trauma were felt by his whole family and community. Thank you Garry for your visit!Right quote

- Laura van den Heuvel, Capricorn Sandstone Quarries

Garry at Capricorn Sandstone Quarries
Garry at Capricorn Sandstone Quarries.


Left quoteGarry’s presentation was very moving and he is an inspiration to those on the land.Right quote

- Melissa Kimlin, AgForce

Garry with AgForce
Garry with AgForce.


Left quoteGarry, thank you kindly for your very heartfelt and professional presentation on Wednesday. I have had many staff tell myself and Brett how it was the most touching, yet had the most impact on them since we commenced the annual meetings three years ago. You were able to engage with, and had the undivided attention of all those present in the room for your whole presentation. You effectively tailored your experience in a presentation that has and will resonate within those present for a very long time to come. We would like to wish you all the very best for the future and please keep up the great work with the Safety Advocate program.Right quote

- Martin (landscape construction and maintenance business)


Left quoteGarry’s presentation to the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service Rangers at The Gap was very relevant and well received. His honesty and openness, and his passion to share his mistakes and traumatic experiences for the benefit of others really shone through, and I think will be remembered by the Rangers as they go about their work. His key message to focus and look after yourself at work, so you can go home and enjoy the things that matter most, really resonated with the audience.Right quote

- Andrew Hoffman, Department of Environment and Science


Left quoteGarry was very well received. He is a very skilled presenter. I have been running conferences and workshops for our members for about 26 years. It is quite rare for anyone to come to me after any presentation, however, one of the farmer’s wives came to me later and said his presentation was the highlight of the day to her. Her comment blew me away. I think his emotion got to her. We will all be more aware of our "situation" having heard Garry's story.Right quote

- Bruce Sambell, President Aquaculture Association of Queensland Inc.

Garry with Aquaculture Association of Queensland Inc
Garry with Aquaculture Association of Queensland Inc.


Left quoteI got nothing but praise from the employees who attended Garry’s talk. I had one employee say it was the best presentation he has ever attended. I had another say everyone should attend as it was so good and he could see that we would all benefit from the talk. Staff were talking about it for days after and I really believe it will help some of our employees with safety issues. Garry is doing a wonderful service to share his story.Right quote

- Wendy Greenaway, Greenstock Nurseries


Left quoteThe presentation by Garry was very well received. There were comments such as “it really made me think” and “he was well worth listening to”.Right quote

- Deby Ruddell, HR/HSE Advisor, Mackay Sugar – Mosman Mill

Garry presenting at Mosman Mill
Garry presenting at Mosman Hill.


Left quoteGary was a fantastic speaker and gave a no holds barred account of the lead up to and aftermath of his tractor accident that took his right leg and very nearly his life, with a great WHS message throughout.Right quote

- Coastal Farming Systems Team, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries


Left quoteGarry gave a great presentation, residents approached him to tell him it was the best presentation they had ever seen.

Thank you for giving us the privilege of meeting Garry and hearing his story.Right quote

- Jo Byway, Retirement by Lendlease

Garry with Retirement by Lendlease
Garry at Retirement by Lendlease.


Left quoteGarry absolutely nailed it with our team.

I had asked Garry to focus on complacency – Every single person got the same message – ‘keep your mind on the job and reconsider before you take a shortcut’ – which surprised me given there were a lot of excellent messages in Garry’s story.  His delivery, and displaying his pain to the team which is 95% male, was very effective.  When discussing the presentation with the teams this morning, all were solemn and contemplative of his message.

Inviting a Safety Advocate to site was the most effective way for our message to reach our team, and it reached 100% of the audience.Right quote

- Virginia Greggery, Health, Safety, Environment and Quality Advisor

Garry with Virginia Greggery team
Garry presenting at Virginia Greggery.


Left quoteGreat presentationRight quote

- Oliver Simon, CEO Paroo Shire Council.

Left quoteWow, made me think a bitRight quote

- Tom King, Works Foreman, Paroo Shire Council.

Left quoteReally hit the theme for Safe Work MonthRight quote

- Daniel Kirk, WHSET Coord, Paroo Shire Council

Garry presenting at Paroo Shire Council
Garry presenting at Paroo Shire Council.


Left quoteMany, many thanks Garry for the presentation that you delivered at Advanta Seeds Toowoomba. The reaction from the attendees as you told your story really brought home the fact that just 'A small lapse in concentration and you could end up seriously injured - or worse. A split second is all it takes'.

Garry as a master story teller made everyone feel as if they were there with him as he relives the experience and although he has told the story many, many times he manages to keep it fresh and realistic in the now, we all felt that we had come off the tractor with him, laying in the field wondering how we were going to survive. Just an incredible story, and all as a consequence of a lapses of concentration.

Garry’s presentation was relevant, poignant and fit for purpose, as we are an Agribusiness with many of our employees working on tractor or other moving plant and machinery on farms and in fields during any time of the year. And so, so relevant especially as the statistics show that tractors are the second main cause of injury in agriculture, in Queensland.

Again many thanks Garry for an emotional experience on how a ‘moment in time’ can change your life forever.Right quote

- Iain Martin Blakey, HR &WHS Lead, Advanta Seeds Australia.

Garry at Advanta Seeds Australia
Garry at Advanta Seeds Australia.


Left quoteThank you Garry your time and effort to help make the SunWater Fairbairn Dam Spillway Improvement Project’s Safety Focus Day a great success. Gary’s presentation really captivated our team, reminding them that no one plans to have an accident, but accidents do happen and it only takes a second to change your life. Some team comments included; it was a real eye opener, it really makes you think, to have someone there who has suffered a serious injury really makes it real, these types of presentations are great for the guys reminding them they are not bullet proof.

I would recommend Gary’s presentation to any audience, I feel that in today’s world the focus on safety is doing such a great job, that people sometimes forget how serious the result a major incident can be.Gary is a champion bloke to do what he does, I am sure that his presentations inspire people STOP, think about their actions and refocus on the task at hand.Right quote

- Andrew Rohl, HSE Advisor, Fairbairn Dam Office, SunWater

Gary presenting his story to the Fairbairn Dam Spillway Improvement Project Workforce.
Gary presenting his story to the Fairbairn Dam Spillway Improvement Project Workforce.


Left quoteIt was a privilege to have Garry in our region and speaking at our event, so thanks again for this!Right quote

- Stacey Heidenreich, Central Highlands Regional Resources Use Planning Cooperative Limited (CHRRUP)

Garry visiting CHRRUP staff.
Garry talking to the team at CHRRUP.


Left quoteOur students and Head of Agriculture Mr Bill Oram were fully engaged with Garry’s story this morning. We appreciate everyone’s time in organising this opportunity for our students – we found it very worthwhile and a valuable message for the young men of this College! A big thank you to Garry for such a worthwhile experience.Right quote

- Rebecca Picoto, St Brendan’s College

Visit by Garry Nicholls on 9 October 2018
Visit by Garry on 9 October 2018


Left quoteGarry’s presentation was a very moving account of a farm incident that happened in a flash, but affected the lives of him and his family both financially and personally. His experience should be presented to all the farming community.Right quote

- Keven Jackson, O.H.S., Q.A. Advisor, Barcaldine Regional Council


Left quoteThe hurt and regret that Garry feels even after all this time has passed is still very evident during the retelling of his story. As a Health and Safety Advisor for my Council, I highly recommend Garry and WHSQ for this very worthwhile initiative.Right quote

- Gordon Jones, Work Health and Safety Coordinator, Diamantina Shire Council


Left quoteGarry explained details of not only his injury and near death experience, but also how it affected his family and the people around him.

The thing that I noticed was while Garry was telling his story the room was very silent. He had the undivided attention of everybody. Nobody moved to check their phone, or duck out to the toilet or excuse themselves for any reason.

I will never forget Garry and the story he told.Right quote

- Rebecca Fitzgerald, Croydon Shire Council


Left quoteI thought Garry’s presentation was one of the most inspirational I’ve heard.  Just shows how a minor lapse in concentration can have such a disastrous result.

I got a bit tired while driving home last week and started yawning every few minutes so I pulled up and had 30 minutes sleep.  I reckon that was Garry’s influence.Right quote

- Darryl Fahey, Managing Director, Audiometric Testing Qld


Left quoteGarry is an inspiration and the message he provides is of tremendous value to any workplace.

Garry told his story in a way that makes him relatable to the average worker, and made sure to emphasise that incidents such as his could happen to anyone during any job.

It was easy to see from the moment he began to talk that his incident has changed his life and still makes him emotional to this day.

I believe that witnessing his emotion, especially when talking about his daughter, really drives home his message and the importance of working safely.Right quote

- Ashley Lohmann, Quality Assurance and Safety Compliance Officer, Richmond Shire Council


Left quoteGarry spoke well and interacted and socialised with everyone. Everyone enjoyed his presentation.

His safety message was on track, and Garry helped us to achieve our safety event goals by discussing the extent of his injuries and the impact it had on his family and rest of his life. Right quote

- Billy McNeil, Supervisor Risk & Compliance, APA Group


Left quoteGarry's message was very powerful because he used his incident to get his message across. The fact that his injury is visual meant everyone was all ears. The emotion in his speech also grabbed people's attention. All of the employees that came up to me by day's end where very appreciative of the talk – they thought it was very worthwhile. Left quote

- Brenden Giuffrida, Health, Safety & Environment Manager, Advanta Seeds

Garry with Advanta Seeds
Garry & Advanta Seeds team: Anne Davidson, Nick Gardner, Jacinta Goad, Eleisha Samuelsen, Brenden Giuffrida, Mano Naidoo and Matt McLoughlin.

Garry with Advanta seeds managing director
Advanta Seeds managing director Nick Gardner and Garry


Left quoteThere has been a genuinely positive response to Garry's visit; all those who I have talked to commented on the open and honest talk Garry provided, ie:

"I may not always remember his name but I will always remember what he said."

"It was a powerful message, we can all get distracted."

There have also been a number of colleagues who have approached me to thank the business for providing such an event with a keynote speaker, and I would pass on that thanks to WHSQ and Garry.

NQBP will revisit Garry's message over the upcoming months during our safety meetings and engagements with employees. "Remember what Garry said…"

I would recommend Garry to businesses who may be thinking of a Safety Advocate in the future. Left quote

- Pat Cunningham, Manager Health and Safety, North Qld Bulk Ports

Garry talking to the team at North Qld Bulk Ports
Garry talking to the team at North Qld Bulk Ports


Left quoteGarry gave a very engaging and compelling presentation of the events leading to his injury, and how it affected his life.

These courageous stories are unassailable in terms of the health and safety message in that they are told with the raw emotion of experience.

Garry is an excellent storyteller and is easy and absorbing to listen to. He speaks from the heart and touches on parts of his personal life which are common to all of us.  Whether it was the Mayor or the cleaner, all could relate to the life of an ordinary bloke, with extraordinary resolve to come back for his family.Left quote

- David Spann, Regional Director, South West Region, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland

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Garry provided a great deal of useful and engaging information in regards to keeping safe while on the job. Among some of the most vital points, covering the danger of loss of concentrating during "the home stretch". He is an excellent speaker and we were blessed to have him come out and speak to us, leaving us all with a lot of food for thought.
Ryan

Awful situation. So brave of him to share his story so we can keep safety at the front of our mind when at work
Anonymous

Thank you for sharing your story Garry and Marlene, I wish you all the best for the future.
Bennendine

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Garry standing by the road

Last updated
17 August 2020