(Steel Distribution Worker)
In June 2013, I suffered a life-changing injury.
I was lifting heavy metal plates up with thousands of pounds of pressure. One of them popped off and hit me directly in the safety glasses. It propelled me 20 feet. As a result, I sustained serious head injuries, facial lacerations and eventually suffered from debilitating PTSD.
What I didn't know then was that the workers compensation system, the system meant to be there to support injured workers and their families, would treat me like little more than a number on a spreadsheet.
As my family struggled through the impacts of the PTSD, the WCB pushed me back to work before I was ready. This was against my physician's orders and done on the threat of cutting off my benefits and my means to support my family.
Why wasn't the medical advice from my doctor listened to? I had nowhere to turn to. My return to work caused further trauma on many fronts. And it has had a long and continued impact on me and my family.
Injured workers and their families need care and respect in their most desperate hour, not to be treated like a cost burden. The truth is, the system is set up like private insurance, to limit costs for employers. Not to focus on the dignity and wellbeing of the injured worker.
Talking about my workplace injury brings back so many bad and painful memories. I came forward during the review of the system by Janet Patterson because I believed that government would listen to the stories of injured workers and finally act... I'm still waiting.
I often wonder whether the damage to my life could have been mitigated if I had been given the supports I needed earlier? While I will never get that answer, I will continue to tell my story in the hope that no one else must go through what my family and I continue to go through.