In November 2000 Paul was working as a Process Operator and Engineer at the Recycled Fibre Plant in Kemsley, Kent. He was involved in a machinery incident, which resulted in his left arm being severed above the elbow.
Paul’s story was shown as part of the BBC’s 999 programme as his arm was retrieved and reattached. Whilst Paul has his arm back, with limited use, it does not hold him back. As he is honest and open about that day and the ripple that is continuing to this day.
The incident has also had a profound effect on Paul psychologically and socially, affecting his relationships with his wife, family, work mates and friends. Paul’s story is incredibly raw and powerful, as he talks about getting back on his feet and dealing with a new world, in his own honest way of expressing this fact.
It acts as a reminder of the fundamental importance of key safety behaviours such as risk assessment, communication, and lock off procedures. It also highlights the need to think about custom and practice in the workplace and the need to encourage people to question and challenge. It is about joining the dots and speaking up, to ensure everybody goes home every day to loved ones.
There are many opportunities for Paul’s story to be told. As a part of a safety stand down day, a site tour or perhaps as part of a conference. With the opportunity to question Paul regarding the details of his accident and its consequences, no attendee can escape the reality of human error or the tragic outcomes that can result from such incidents.
When effectively designed, the encounter with Paul can be life changing as delegates are forced to relate their own safety behaviours to those that resulted in personal tragedy for the speaker. These occasions are clearly emotional and provide the ideal opportunity for an experienced facilitator to assist delegates to realise the risks that they take together with the potential adverse consequences and influence them to adopt a different approach to their personal safety.
Paul has spoken around the world to industries far and wide. Even though Paul’s story sits beautifully with those in manufacturing and engineering, the story suits all industries as it will help align organisations to where Paul, his colleagues and employer were, to that of their own current position concerning health and safety and the culture that exists within it.