PARALYMPIAN Nigel Barley was 26 years old when he broke his back in two places and became a paraplegic.
The experienced roof tiler from Parkerville had worked in the industry for more than ten years and never imagined a 2m fall would change his life.
One worker is paralysed permanently in Australia every day by a spinal cord injury according to not-for-profit organisation PBF Australia, which supports National Safe Work Australia Week.
The silver medallist has shared his story about workplace safety in the hope of inspiring others to rethink their behaviour, attitude and actions in the workplace.
“Workplace safety is an issue really close to my heart because I used to be one of those people who thought something like this could never happen to me,” he said.
“But paraplegia can happen to anyone; at home, at work, on the road or in the water.
“Once an injury like mine occurs, the damage is permanent, but with some awareness, this type of injury can be avoided.”
PBF general manager Martin Browning said the impact of a serious accident affected the families, friends and even the wider community.
“Some families can face financial ruin from income loss and an increase in costs associated with treatment and living adjustments,” he said.
“The physical and emotional pain that one person can experience can be so great that it can lead to mental health issues, and higher rates of suicide.”
He urged people to take note of the safety reminders issued throughout the safety awareness week.