ABANDONING WORKPLACE SAFETY EDUCATION

In October 2007 I travelled to Tasmania to run REFLECTIONS on invitation by Safety Standards Tasmania. This was during Safe Work Week and the presentation was being run in front of young school leavers as well as the Tasmanian inspectorate. This was also when I first met Karen and Guy Hudson.

This was really the first time I had the opportunity to meet someone who had lost a very young member of the workforce. It was a little haunting to realise just how similar our stories were – how comparable our struggles were and are still today.

Karen sent this in as a comment on another article but I decided to create a new item for it. This was what she had to say about REFLECTIONS

In 7 years, I have only twice witnessed anything close to trying to educate our children and others regarding safety in the workplace and industrial death!

It was through Workplace Tasmania several years ago, that Guy and I got the opportunity to meet another lady that had also lost her son to industrial death. My first thought was how small and petit this lady was, and as we seated to watch her programme, I remember thinking… I wished we weren’t there with all these people and children. I just wanted to be at home grieving in the comfort of my own home.

As we sat there waiting for the programme to begin, children and adults chatted away, and then it went deathly quiet as a song started to play. Guy grabbed my hand and squeezed it as we realised the song playing was our song to Matty – EVENESCENCE ~ MY IMMORTAL.

I watched as Guy’s head looked around the room for the nearest exit, but I squeezed his hand and whispered that there must be a reason to be here and it is no coincidence that Matty’s song is playing.

Yes, my tears fell but I think I held them back fairly well considering I was in the midst of grief.

Guy and I sat through what I can only describe as the most POWERFUL hard hitting programme I have ever seen on the reality of a WORKPLACE DEATH and SAFETY in the WORKPLACE. It still gives me chills.

At the end of that programme, the only sound you could hear were a few sobs in the background, other than that you could have heard a pin drop…almost impossible considering these children were High School kids.

I remember sitting there watching this lady pause every now and again as she held back her tears, as she spoke about her experience.

After the programme we were invited to meet this lady, she introduced herself as Daniel’s Mum, Andrea Madeley. 🙂

I clearly remember the drive back to Launceston because I cried on and off for most of the way.

To this day, I will never understand where you draw your strength to do such things for others and put your own needs a side. The day after watching your programme Andrea, Guy and I were straight on to Workplace Standards Tasmania insisting that they put a similar programme together for our children here in Tasmania.

Not only is your programme made with love, experience, and reality, it is the TRUTH and awareness that you try to share with others, that touch the very soul of another.

I also know firsthand how draining such a fight is, but you seem to gather more steam as you move along the “DAKOTA TRAIL” as Guy and I call it.

The impact your programme had on me Andrea was amazing and I am sure that your message got through to everyone that sat and watched your programme that day.

Yet 7 long years on and the state of Tasmania has not lifted a finger, or raised an eyebrow to implement such a powerful programme for our own children. I would have at least thought that the $70,000 fine that the Government earned from Matty’s death would have been spent on such a brilliant programme like your own.

I get the feeling that more money is spent on socialising, so-called-research, travel and a nice new car for Government employees.

Karen is right, there is little value in taking something like REFLECTIONS to one small group of school kids. Talking to young people means you’re talking to the employers and the safety representatives of the future. See, that’s really what this trendy word ‘culture’ is all about – these are generational lessons.

It’s interesting and a little sad because I find it ironic that Tasmania probably paid a little more interest in this programme than our own safety regulator here in South Australia. It’s just such a shame.

I was quite excited about REFLECTIONS when I first began implementing the presentation in 2007. The feedback was very positive and it’s probably true that for a moment, I felt like a constructive and productive human being again. However, in spite of all that optimism in me, it was never shared by the management at SafeWork SA. I’ve even given up entering the presentation in the annual Safety Awards.

That’s okay, I’ve learned not to expect anything from the Government or its squaddies …and when one expects nothing, there is never disappointment. J

Over the next few weeks REFLECTIONS will be very busily spreading its wings … for anyone interested in booking the presentation, feel free to contact VOID on (08) 8524 6879. October 10th to 15th and the 26th are booked out.

2 Comments
  1. Admin:AM says:

    Bloody hell Karen – you really are very kind. Thank you for the wonderful words of encouragement. I like that we can do that for each other – when it all feels like too many brick walls? Yep just knowing someone else understands really makes the difference.

    I do remember you and Guy sitting there when ‘My Immortal’ came on. Yep – that’s one very powerful song. It still brings me undone. 🙁

  2. Karen Hudson says:

    It may seem kind to you Andrea, but it is just, plain truth to me. I tell it as I see it, no finesse :0) just straight from the heart.
    Just a thought, but have you thought of putting your REFLECTIONS program on YouTube, CD, DVD and any other way possible to get it out to a larger audience? even a link to REFLECTION from the VOID site.
    As I see it Andrea, you have a “POWERFUL MESSAGE” that needs to spread like the plague, and as quick as you can get it out there, and as far and wide as you can spread the message :0).
    I can;t see anybody else trying to educate our up and coming Employers and Employees can you :0)
    Waiting on those that one would expect to help and embrace such a message will not be coming anytime real soon.
    Our earthly Angel for Workplace Safety and education is you Andrea, spread your wings xox

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Welcome , today is Sunday, September 24, 2017