Justin Manley was a skilled pipe technician with 15 years experience in the water industry when he was called upon to sort out a burst water main that in just seconds changed his whole life.
Whilst working on a 12″ water main a miscommunication resulted in the mains water being switched on whilst he was still working on it and the explosive pressure change forced a torque wrench into his face at tremedous speed. Justin was knocked unconscious and was left floating face-down at the bottom of a hole rapidly filling with water. In his high-vis-vest he was fortunately quickly spotted by his coworker and pulled out but with major injuries to his eye and head. A retired nurse appeared and essentially brought him back to life stabilizing him until the paramedics arrived.
At hospital Justin’s relief at seeming to be hurt but mostly functioning OK was soon to be rudely interrupted by the news the doctors had for him.
The rest of the story sets out the heart-rending decisions he had to make and the way the whole sent waves of consequences not only to wife and children, but far, far beyond that.
It’s a story of eventual triumph over tragedy but also a sobering warning about ever assuming that familiarity with a task equates to that task being intrinsically safe.
A talk that very few of the members present are likely to forget in a hurry!