A personal journey of triumph over tragedy” or “In order to change or develop a safety culture, first we must understand and change behavior
On July 29th, 1999, I was 17 years old and working as I did everyday as a Construction Laborer on the Saskatchewan prairies. After a long day at work, my crew and I were attempting to transport a grain bin under a power line with our picker truck. Prior to performing the task, we assessed the risk of moving the bin under an overhead power line. After a brief discussion we talked about the power line and how it “had the potential to kill somebody”. Just minutes later, it nearly did.
Had to be cautious. We thought we could get the job done safely. As we worked against the elements, I steadied the bin from the high winds while we approached the overhead line. Then the predictable happened. The preventable happened. As we approached the overhead line, the operator of the crane did not boom down far enough and backed directly into the power line. I immediately became the ground point for the electricity as 14,400 volts of electricity surged through my body three separate times. I was surrounded by steel and as each cycle of 14,400 volts passed through my body, the electricity tried to eject me from the live zone, instead throwing me violently from one end of the steel structure to another as the 2nd and 3rd cycles of 14,400 volts of electricity passed through me. I was given a 0% chance of survival, my family were told I would not survive my injuries. Instead I have 3rd and 4th degree burns to over 60% of my body and am now a double amputee. Let me tell you my story of triumph over tragedy and share with you how and why I was lucky that day.