Actively sharing the personal stories of injury is one way that WorkCover NSW inform and educate workers and employers about the importance of safety.
Their Paralympian Speakers Program involves workers hearing the stories of WorkCover sponsored paralympians about the injuries they have experienced, their long road to recovery and why people must put safety first.
Liesl Tesch, a local who has experienced incredible sporting success following her injury, is one of the featured speakers.
In 1998 Liesl became an incomplete paraplegic as a result of a bike accident when she was a 19-year-old University of Newcastle student.
During her recovery Liesl discovered a passion and skill for wheelchair basketball. She was a member of the silver medal team at Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 and they won a bronze in Beijing 2008.
In 2011 she switched sports and took up sailing, winning at gold medal at London 2012.
WorkCover NSW CEO Julie Newman said Liesl has been a valuable member of the Speakers program since 2008.
“Under the program we are able to feature athletes whom despite suffering permanent disabilities, have gone on to achieve success,” Julie said.
“During workplace visits, Liesl shares experiences about her injury, her personal journey to recovery, return to work and success as a professional athlete.”
The Paralympic ambassadors personalise an emotive workplace safety message and are also proof that people can return to work and life after sustaining a serious injury – but also send a sobering message about what may have been done to avoid it.
Lisel believes it is vital that people understand the workplace safety message so that no one has to deal with the change and distress that occurs as a result of injuries.
“It's critical not to be complacent about safety – a moment’s concentration lapse can change your life forever,” Liesl said.
“This program allows me to recount my experience and reach people who may not normally be aware of what I've been through.”
The program reaches thousands of workers each year and during 2012 athletes raised awareness of workplace safety at more than 160 businesses across metropolitan and regional New South Wales.
To book a speaker for your workplace, contact WorkCover NSW by using one of the below links.