Injured employee utilizing accident to proclaim constructive message internationally

“I am very grateful for today’s wheelchair …. It has taken me around the world; It probably got me further than my legs ever would. ‘

An accident at work 28 years ago left Jason Anker in a wheelchair, but his injury hasn’t stopped him from spreading a positive message around the world.

Anker was 24 years old, married with two children and was living in the north east of England when he went to work one day in 1993. He and his team were doing their last chores of the day as they rushed to finish early. In this hasty approach, anchor fell ten feet from an unsecured ladder and injured his spine, paralyzing him from the waist down and forcing him into a wheelchair.

This had a major impact on his life: his wife left him after he came home from the hospital, while his injury had a “massive impact” on his parents, friends and colleagues.

“I couldn’t handle it. I wasn’t one of those people inspired to change. I’ve walked a very dark path. I turned to alcohol and drugs. I had a really bad time … “said Anker, 53.” My story is very typical of what happens when something goes wrong. “

Anker eventually turned on his life, but it took 14 years to do so.

“I’m doing very well today, especially in the last (three) years,” he added. “I think it took me about 25 years to adjust properly. I’m really successful right now. “

In 2010, Anker started talking about his injury, how it affected him and how he changed his life. Those conversations took him to Europe, the United Kingdom, the United States, the Middle East and, most recently, Saskatchewan.

Anker was one of four speakers to address May 25-26 during the Workers’ Compensation Board’s 23rd Annual Compensation Institute. The two-day virtual conference gave attendees the opportunity to learn about the province’s compensation system and the latest workplace safety, prevention and health initiatives.

Anker kept his presentation positive and offered advice on how to turn his life around and address his mental health issues.

His main point was that in addition to safety, workers need to focus on their overall wellbeing as this can influence their decisions. Workers need to spend a lot of time with family and friends so that they have the right attitude when they go to work.

“If this critical security decision that is being forced upon them is in the right place, then they may be making the right choice,” he said.

During his presentation, Anker compared the compensation programs in the UK and Canada. In the UK, workers are required to show that the company was at fault for their injury, while in Canada the focus is less on guilt and more on compensation.

It takes an average of five years for UK workers to receive compensation based on the severity of the incident, Anker said. It took him 14 years due to the complexity of his case.

Injured workers in Canada typically receive small lump sums of compensation on a regular basis, while workers in the UK receive a large amount.

Having a large amount of money in the bank wasn’t a good thing for Anker as he was struggling with his sanity. He pointed out that mental illness – he still suffers from anxiety and depression today – wasn’t much discussed decades ago.

While he was shown how to use his wheelchair and fitness equipment, he was not told anything about how to manage his mental health or how to spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair.

“Today I am very grateful for the wheelchair. Instead of looking at the wheelchair as something that has taken everything from me, I actually see it positively… ”added Anker. “It took me around the world; It probably got me further than my legs ever would. “

In 2015, the UK government named Anker a member of the British Empire’s Most Excellent Order (MBE) for its efforts to promote safety at work. This is the third highest award for contributions to the public service.

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