icare is re-launching its Paralympian Speakers Program for 2018, targeting the manufacturing industry to drive down workplace injuries and help support a culture of workplace safety.
NSW’s manufacturing industry has registered over 11,000 workplace accidents in the last 12 months, with each claim costing, on average, more than $14,000 over its lifetime.
The program, which is run in partnership with the Australian Paralympic Committee, sees current and former Paralympians who have been affected by workplace injuries visit workplaces across the state to share their stories.
Australian Paralympic volleyball champion Nigel Smith, who lost his left leg at the age of 25 while working on a heavy industry paint machine, said he had underwent numerous operations before his leg was eventually amputated because of the accident.
“All it took was a split second for my life to change forever,” Mr Smith said.
“It’s not always up to an employer to point out potential risks on the job – employees also have to be aware. We have to keep striving for safe workplaces.”
icare General Manager Loss Prevention and Pricing, Workers Insurance, Jason McLaughlin, said the Speakers Program was ‘a great way’ to support employers engage with the importance of workplace health and safety.
“There is no better investment than giving your staff the training and tools they need to operate a safer work environment every day. This program empowers employers to change the safety culture of their workplace by helping their employees understand the ‘why?’ around injury prevention,” Mr McLaughlin noted.
“Our Paralympians are role models of human endeavour and people leading successful lives after being impacted by a severe injury. By sharing their experience, businesses can learn not only about the impacts of a workplace injury but how people can successfully recover if they are injured.
“By putting injury-prevention first NSW employers will reduce loss of productivity, improve their return to work outcomes, and ultimately lower their workers’ insurance claims and premium,” McLaughlin said.
The last six months have seen Nigel and his fellow Paralympic speakers share their stories with employees at more than 70 workplaces from all industries across NSW.
Kelly Heffernan, Human Resource and Payroll Officer from Snowy Monaro Regional Council said Nigel had been very ‘enlightening’ to listen to.
He makes you stop and consider what it means be caught out by the risk of accidents in the workplace and how a life-changing injury can strike anyone,” she said.
“His story will hopefully reduce the risk of injuries on the job.”