When Jason Anker was 24 years old, he took a job with his father-in-law doing roofing -- something he’d had little experience with.
Nearing the end of the workday, Anker saw a situation he knew was risky (the ladder he was to use wasn’t tied on), but said nothing.
"I didn't think it would happen to me"
"The main reason I didn't speak up...I didn't think it would happen to me,” said Anker. That voice has gone off in your head, which it does every time there is a dodgy situation or something's unsafe...you override it with one excuse...you say 'Ah! But it not going to happen to me' and that's how you manage your risk on a daily basis."
But it did happen to him. Anker fell ten feet, sustaining a severe spinal injury that put him in a wheelchair for life.
Found a purpose
After years of struggling with the indignities and frustrations of life as a paraplegic, Anker found a purpose: he now uses his experiences to warn others of the devastating consequences of not speaking out when they know something to be unsafe.
A new film, Jason Anker: Proud 2b Safe, focuses on the effects a workplace accident like his can have on the victim’s family and friends. Anker was married and had a young son and daughter when he was injured. Now grown, his children speak candidly and sometimes emotionally about how their lives changed when their father became a paraplegic. Two of his closest friends – who shared Anker's love of soccer and played on a team with him, prior to the accident – are also featured.
Anker himself speaks movingly of the depression and substance abuse he experienced after the accident. “I wasn’t coping,” he admits.
A safety iniative
Anker has made this film freely available in order to further his safety iniative, Proud 2b Safe, which he hopes will revolutionize attitudes by encouraging individuals to embrace the highest safety standards themselves, not at the insistence of their employer.
Both films can be useful in safety training.
Click here to stream Jason Anker: Proud 2b Safe at no charge.
Click here to purchase Jason Anker: A Fall from Height.