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Doing Workplace Safety For Your Family

Anton Guinea,  a workplace accident survivor and international motivational safety speaker and author, shares a heart-felt article on safety from a very personal perspective.

Recently, a government campaign has been launched, as part of an attempt to reduce the tragic impact that workplace injuries have on the community, to encourage people to stay safe at work. The aim of the campaign has been to highlight that the main reason for workplace safety is not at work, but it is at home. It is your husband or wife, it is your children and all of those people that love you and that would miss you horribly if, god forbid, you were to be hurt at work. One of the billboards that has been posted includes a photo of a father cuddling his young daughter, who has a look of absolute admiration and joy on her face.

This article is going to focus on the importance of staying safe at work, and it will consider the impact that workplace incidents have on the family of the seriously (or fatally) injured. I can speak from experience on this topic, as being a survivor who has experienced not only the impacts of a serious incident, but also the impacts on family and friends, I can relate to the pain and suffering caused by what are generally avoidable incidents that occur at work.

There are many people affected by every workplace incident. At the scene of the incident, the injured worker’s fellow employees may be the people that find their colleague after he or she has been injured. These workers may or may not be able to render assistance, and may just have to provide reassurance and comfort (which may be difficult, depending on the severity of the incident). The ambulance or emergency response team will be the next on the scene. Now, contrary to popular belief, these people are only human, too, and are affected by every incident or accident scene that they attend. There may be something that the ambulance personnel can do, especially to reduce some of the pain being suffered, but it will generally be off to the hospital or an emergency department for the injured worker.

From this point, and again depending on the severity of the incident, the injured employee’s supervisor may be required to go his or her home and inform their family that mum or dad will not be coming home tonight. They are currently in hospital, intensive care or worse. The job of passing on this news may be left to police officers, again depending on severity (who again are only human, and struggle to deliver such sad news to a family). It might just be a phone call to the family, if this is appropriate, but someone has to make the call.

Then, at home, mum or dad and the children of the injured worker have to start to comet to grips with what has just happened. Their lives may have just been changed for ever. The injured worker may never walk again, may be broken, may have hurt both of his or her hands (which means a significant amount of assistance will be required for a period) or they might have second or third degree burns. The first trip to the hospital can be a shock for loved ones, as the sight of someone close to you in a hospital bed following a serious injury is terrible. Then, of course, there may be a funeral to organise.

In the case of my particular incident, the above process occurred in varying degrees. The first person to see me after the incident was my girlfriend Julie’s (now my wife) brother. He saw me stumble out of the switchroom with severe burns and he rang Julie to let her know what had happened. Of course in the moment, he was not able to ‘put it to her lightly’. His explanation was something like “Julie, Anton has been badly hurt, I can’t see his fingers and his face is falling off”. My dad then got a phone call that was to shatter him, as the caller said that I had been electrocuted (an incorrect explanation of the incident). The word electrocution means to be fatally injured. Dad will say to this day that he was heading to the hospital to identify his dead 21 year old son. I never ever understood the enormity of that call until I had children of my own, and I cannot begin to imagine how bad a call like that would be.

On visiting me in the hospital, my brother wept.

I had hurt both of my hands, and could not do anything for myself (include attending to my hygiene needs), so I was very reliant on family (and nurses) for assistance.

Safety at Work for Your FamilyIn conclusion, there are two key messages that can be taken from this article. The first is that not only will you be badly injured if you make unsafe choices at work, but your family will suffer horribly. Secondly, and in a similar vein, if you are at work and trying to decide whether to work safely or rush, always remember that even if you don’t ‘do’ safety for you, make sure you do it for your loved ones. They need you.

To contact Anton please phone 0418 686 522 or email anton [at] antonguinea [dot] com [dot] au or visit Anton Guinea.

Anton has just released his latest book titled: ‘Let’s Talk About Safety: 19 ways you can work safely’.  You can download more details on Anton’s book here at Let’s Talk About Safety.

Thank you Anton!  🙂

About the Author

Safety Concepts is an online resource providing up to date insights and covering issues in the field of Workplace Safety.

Comments (6)

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  1. Les Henley says:

    I am very touched by this article.

    It is terrible enough to consider such incidents from the perspective of a non-related person. I cannot imagine what it would be like to be any of those related persons.

    I have been in the position of supporting families that have been notified of an injury and that is as close as I want to get to telling someone the news.

    And yet the article is written, without sensationalism, in such a forthright way explaining what I, and I imagine so many others, have never so clearly considered as the impact on others around an injured person.

    Thanks Anton, I will certainly be sharing your article with people in my workplace.

    Les Henley

  2. Anton Guinea says:

    Les,

    Thank you for the comment, and thank you for sharing the article.

    It is people like you that we rely on when injured, those that are supportive and who care enough to try and understand what it is like. In times of need, just some active caring is all that is required to help ease some of the burden.

    It is amazing to think about it, actually, when you are injured, you are so inwardly focused. It is all about getting better etc. You can tend to forget about others – who in some cases are doing it tougher than you are.

    Anyway, thanks again.

    Stay safe!

    Anton

  3. Daniel Singh says:

    Spot on. There is a domino effect and along the line some loved ones suffer more than the actual casualty.

  4. Rick Parsons says:

    Hello Anton. I have just read your article and i am very pleased to see someone put a human touch on the subject of safety. In our fast paced hectic life safety is considered by many companies a fiscal liability instead of an investment in the employees and the business. Until it hits the fan of course! I am a transportation safety specialist who has seen many co-workers, family members and the public, injured and killed in vehicle accidents during my career. I also had the responsibility of handling several serious accidents that our drivers had which resulted in fatalities. Not the most favourite part of the job! Anyway,i am very interested in your book, i have often thought of writing a book on my experiences on the road, (40 years). Maybe this will motivate me to do so. I am very passionate about driver and workplace safety, and I will continue to educate others in order to save lives. Keep up the good work Anton!

    Rick Parsons

  5. Anton Guinea says:

    Danial,
    Thank you for the comment. Too true, about who really suffers. The less incidents everyone has, the better off we will all be.
    Stay safe
    Anton

  6. Anton Guinea says:

    Rick,
    Thank you for sharing your experience. You certainly have experienced the human side of safety, and I cannot begin to understand the amount of pain and anguish you have seen. You must be a strong individual, to be doing that job, as it would take a special person. Best of luck with your efforts to keep people safe, and prevent these types of incidents.

    In relation to writing a book, I think it is a great idea, and I encourage you to do it. If you need some help with it, just contact me at anton@theguineagroup.com.au and I would love to assist where I can. I have written another book about my experiences in life, which you might find interesting. Check out the products section at http://www.theguineagroup.com.au.

    Stay safe.

    Anton

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