In this Safety survivors series we’re hearing from people who’ve been seriously injured, both on and off the job. They’ve discovered, to their cost, how important it is to fully evaluate risks and take steps to mitigate them, and now they’re sharing their stories so others can learn from their experiences.
Curtis Weber was just 17-years old when he took a summer job with a steel construction company in Saskatchewan. With a promising sports career ahead of him he wanted one last summer at home before heading off to play junior hockey in Alberta.
Unfortunately Curtis never made it to Alberta. His hockey career was brought to a dramatic end before it even started; and the course of his life was changed due to one simple mistake. Here’s how Curtis describes what happened:
Curtis was thrown from side to side, engulfed in flames, while three separate jolts of electricity burned through him. By the time it was over he was unconscious and no longer breathing. That was the start of a long battle for his life:
Why it’s never worth taking safety risks
As we’ve seen in previous blog posts, safety is compromised when risks are minimized. Sometimes it’s due to that human tendency to think everything is bound to work out fine, other times it might be hard for an individual to go against the thinking of the group. Either way, as Curtis discovered, it’s never worth carrying on regardless of the risk:
Curtis felt that, as a 17-year old and a brand new member of the crew, it wasn’t his place to speak up. So what can we change to ensure that every voice is heard and no one is forced to put themselves or others in danger?
While Curtis holds himself partly responsible for not having spoken up, he believes this is definitely a situation where everyone in an organization needs to take some responsibility:
These days Curtis shares his story as much as possible to try and teach people the potential consequences of a brief lapse in safety. He presents to people in the oil and gas, mining and construction industries, and to government departments and schools. It’s his way of helping make sure his ordeal doesn’t happen to other people.
“I was just a kid who had everything going where it was supposed to go for me. I didn’t think anything bad was going to happen, and now that I know that it happens, and it’s something that can’t be undone, I think it’s important for other people to hear the message.”
This blog series is one of the ways Enform is trying to spread the safety message and increase safety awareness.
In part 1 of our Safety survivors series we heard from two people who received a sharp lesson about bear awareness during a break from work up near Fort McMurray. Stay tuned for more stories to come.