Life can change dramatically in the blink of an eye

02 April 2015

Supporter Blog: David Crawford

At age 27 I was an avid soccer player, surfer, golfer and tennis player. I had  begun a building  career after completing my apprenticeship as a Carpenter & Joiner.

Those supposed worry free times would soon be a thing of the past. “I was walking across the rafters when one of them suddenly gave way and I fell about four meters to the ground,”

The fall damaged my C6/C7 vertebrae – I had to learn to live with quadriplegia and rely on a wheelchair for mobility.

That was 25 years ago.  My life is radically different today from that of my  27-year-old self.

I retrained as a building supervisor and also got drafting qualifications, but I came up against enormous barriers in gaining employment in the building industry.   The physical and emotional trauma of my accident created a lot of uncertainty about my future in the industry.

I embarked on an extensive personal rehabilitation program with the assistance of personal trainers.  I underwent exercise and weight training programs, Hydrotherapy, Acupuncture and alternative therapies.

In 2006  I  heard that Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (SCIA) had set up Teamsafe, a workplace safety and injury prevention program.  When the opportunity was offered I didn’t hesitate to train to be an ambassador and I am now proud to be the coordinator of the program.

Teamsafe complements an organisation’s work health and safety (WHS) program by presenting to the organisation’s management and staff the perspectives of those who have experienced life-changing injuries at work and know first-hand how important it is to watch out for their workmates safety.  By putting a human face on why following safety processes is so important. The most important message is “if you are unsure it’s safe, stop and reassess”.

All levels of management and workers are encouraged to participate in a Teamsafe presentation.  to help employees maintain a safety focus at work and at home and prevent the pain of injury and death felt by workers and their loved ones after a workplace incident.

Life should not need to change in the blink of an eye before safety becomes a priority.

A few months ago I was reading a local community magazine when I noticed an advertisement for volunteers at the local NSW Marine Rescue office. This interested me.

I felt that this was something I could do and applied and was accepted for training. I would join more than 3000 professionally trained volunteers who are committed to saving lives on the water.

Members come from all walks of  life and there is a job for almost everyone at their local unit, wether its crewing an offshore search and rescue vessel to maintaining radio communication at the base or provide the support crew to keep the operation afloat.

In my situation the opportunity to train as volunteer marine radio operator was given to me. I    then undertook the necessary training, I passed the  exam and I am now an accredited Radio Operator holding a Marine Radio Operators Certificate of Proficiency (MROCP).

Once again my life changed in the blink of an eye.

David


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