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This Construction Safety Week, Peter Gohery outlines the impact that a serious workplace accident has had on his life.
Back in 2009, I suffered a serious work place accident, while operating a machine. As a result, I lost my left leg above the knee and stripped the skin and muscle to the bone on my right leg. I also shattered the bones in my right ankle and broke the two bones in my left arm.
I spent the next three months on the flat of my back recovering in Galway Hospital. Then I was moved to the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dublin where I spent 16 weeks learning how to walk again. I was lucky, I was alive, depression never set in. I have a good family around me and they supported me throughout.
I had a construction company going before my accident, but all of that ended the day of the accident; my life changed forever.
Looking back, I took care of the safety for all the employees on my sites, I had the attitude that nothing would ever happen to me, I knew it all. How wrong I was.
I could not be the hands-on person that I once was, and so my company had to close.
I was a carpenter that could no longer go up on the roof, hang doors and do finish work. Before the accident, I was able to operate the track machine, JCB digger and the teleporter. But the track machine got harder to climb into and the JCB digger got dangerous. When I would swing around in the seat to operate, my prostatic leg would hit the levers. I still work the teleporter, but I can’t get down to move anything out of the way.
Take my advice. Don’t be like me and learn it the hard way. I want you to come to work safe, to be safe at work and to return home safe to your family. Safety procedures are there to protect you. You might have got away with the short cuts in the past, but sooner or later you will be caught and the mess you will leave behind is huge and will have a major impact on your family.