Make Getting Back to Work Your Goal, Says Paralympian
MULGRAVE, AUSTRALIA – Marc 21, 2013: Paralympian Jack Swift met with Ford Broadmeadows employees today as part of a mission to highlight the physical, mental and social benefits of returning to work after injury.
Jack is the ambassador for a powerful WorkSafe campaign that has revealed the many health risks faced by workers who don’t get back to work as soon as safely possible.
Georgia Danos, Safety Manager, Ford Australia, was keen to support WorkSafe in spreading the word about the benefits of returning to work. Danos said “our most valuable asset at Ford is our people and nothing is more important than their safety and well-being. Ford is privileged and delighted to work with WorkSafe and Jack Swift to deliver the message about the benefits of safe work and return to work programs. We’re always going further at Ford to positively impact on worker safety and well-being.”
A professional athlete who competed at the 2010 World Championships and the 2012 Paralympics in London, Jack told Ford employees of his own dramatic story of returning to work after a horrific injury.
Jack was just 21 and working on an inner Melbourne construction site when a 14-tonne excavator ran over his right leg, crushing it below the knee. Conscious throughout the ordeal, Jack was rushed to hospital and his leg was amputated the next day.
Jack said the accident “absolutely turned my life upside down” and described the 13 months he was off work as the worst time of his life.
“I thought losing a leg was like being paralysed,” Jack said. “I didn’t think I’d be able to hang around my mates, play football, let alone return to work—I couldn’t comprehend where my life was going.
“Now, I can do as much as, probably more, than many able-bodied people can do.”
New WorkSafe data reveals that being off work for an extended period of time can be extremely detrimental to a worker’s health. And the longer an injured worker is away from work, the less chance they had of getting back into the workforce.
WorkSafe Chief Executive Denise Cosgrove said it was not just the injured person’s own determination to get back to work that counted.
“The role played by family and friends, employer, doctor and other medical professionals is crucial in the return to work process,” Ms Cosgrove said.
Ford is a key supporter of WorkSafe Victoria and one of several organisations in Melbourne who will hear Jack’s important return to work message.