Accident victim inspires workers

Merna Dwyer supports her partner Rodney Vagg in his push to improve workplace safety.
Merna Dwyer supports her partner Rodney Vagg in his push to improve workplace safety. Kevin Farmer

TOOWOOMBA man Rodney Vagg's passion for safety is most obvious when he is sharing his story with the workers he is employed to help, according to his partner Merna Dwyer.

Mr Vagg said he drew heavily on experiences surrounding the workplace accident in which he broke his neck to get his message across in his new job as a safety speaker.

He sees his role as part of the healing process which has been ongoing since he fell onto his head from the bucket of a front-end loader 14 years ago.

"It does get easier," Mr Vagg said.

"You learn ways of using what you have better."

Mr Vagg said he was lucky the break in his C7 vertebra left him with full use of his arms.

Through years of practice he has relearned how to do all of his everyday tasks.

Together with Ms Dwyer, Mr Vagg now travels around Queensland and further afield telling workplaces of the importance of safety.

"I suppose I talk a lot, because of my accident, about complacency in the workplace."

He said it was likely his message was given more impact by the fact he was delivering it from a wheelchair.

The inspirational father-of-four also shares his and his family's lives were changed by the accident.


Rodney Vagg is inspiring workers from his wheelchair.
Rodney Vagg is inspiring workers from his wheelchair. Kevin Farmer

"When he is doing it he really shines," Ms Dwyer added.

"You can really see he is passionate about it."

Mr Vagg said he enjoyed visiting workplaces.

"I guess you get huge amounts of satisfaction when you get that one bit of feedback."

He will be giving safety speeches for Toowoomba businesses and Toowoomba Regional Council as a part of Queensland Safety Week from October 21 to 27.

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Topics:  personal safety quadriplegic workplace accident

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