Paralympic powerlifting champion shares story of workplace injury at Real Pet Food Company

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Kahi Puru, a Paralympic weightlifter visited Real Pet Food Company last week to share his story of workplace injury.

Kahi was 29 years old when he lost his leg after being crushed by a forklift at work – he now works as a member of the icare Paralympic Speakers Program, visiting workplaces around NSW to promote a culture of safety at work and reduce workplace injuries.

He spoke to 35 plant operators during Wednesday’s night shift at the company’s site in Ingleburn.

“I’ve experienced first-hand the devastating effect of a workplace injury and the ramifications it has on your loved ones and your workplace. By sharing my experience, I can make people more safety- aware. Being able to prevent one workplace injury is worth its weight in gold,” said Mr Puru.

“I wanted to reinforce with the guys at Real Pet Food that life is precious, and they should never be afraid to speak up about unsafe situations in the workplace.”

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Jake De Farria, Freezer Team Leader and Safety Committee member, said Kahi’s attitude towards life and the injury he had to overcome made him rethink things.

“His story reminded me that I should never be complacent – there’s so many unexpected things in a workplace,” he added.

Real Pet Food Company General Manager, Logistics, Manufacturing, Distribution Sue Wood, said she would urge other employers to invite Kahi into their workplaces.

“Kahi is amazing man and he fully engaged with our team at Ingleburn,” said Ms Wood.

“We were overwhelmed and humbled by Kahi’s life story and I’d like to thank him from the bottom of my heart for sharing his story with my team and making the issue of workplace safety ‘real’.

icare’s General Manager Workers Compensation Jason McLaughlin, said icare’s Speakers Program was ‘a great way to spread the message of workplace health and safety’.

“With almost 11,000 manufacturing workers injured at work in the past 12 months, education, training and tools are crucial in building a safer work environment,” Mr McLaughlin said.

“Stories like Kahi’s bring home the ‘why?’ around injury prevention.

“Through the Paralympian Speakers Program and our Protect Together (P2) injury prevention

program, we’re working with employers to develop practical improvements and build a culture focused on strong safety behaviours,” he said.

Employers can book an icare Paralympian Speaker for their next safety event by visiting

https://www.icare.nsw.gov.au/icare-speakers-program/

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