Sep 21, 2012
Safety procedures save lives – motivational speakerBack
Perth|Africa|Safety|Systems|Training|Africa|Australia|South Africa|Systems|Power|Theo Venter
© Reuse this
At a presentation in Midrand, in July, he detailed the consequences of carrying out unsafe acts in industries and the physical, emotional and financial scars these mistakes can leave behind.
Venter recently travelled across the country on a promotional tour to share his personal experiences with various audiences. His message, called ‘Just Another Day’, was triggered by an almost fatal electrical accident six years ago, in Perth, Australia.
Venter, originally from South Africa, worked as a live linesman and was asked by his employer to repair a power pole that was damaged by lightning. He recalled the difficulty he experienced in loosening a nut on the pole and to get a better grip on the nut, he removed his gloves.
Following this, an insulator fell over and, in an attempt to catch it, Venter’s hand made contact with a 22 000 V power line.
“It felt like I was burning from the inside out and I lost consciousness. I had 17 surgeries and am one of the only people ever recorded to have been exposed to and survived a 22 000 V electrical accident while working on overhead power lines,” he said.
Venter’s hands and arms were burnt to the extent that his muscles protruded out of his arms, his hands had swelled to almost three times their normal size and doctors were adamant that he should have his arms amputated.
Venter detailed the downward spiral his life took following the incident, citing depression and suicidal thoughts as major hindrances to his recovery. Eventually, his determination returned and he slowly started to relearn how to do the everyday tasks that he was unable to do as a result of the incident.
He emphasised that systems and safety procedures were in place for a reason and that these needed to be followed, as the consequences of not following them could cause immense pain and anguish for the individuals involved and result in significant costs for companies.
Further, he urged companies and employees to speak about issues and ensure that no shortcuts were taken, even if the culture for business demands that workers produce great results quickly.
He advised workers not to take chances, no matter how experienced they were, as the aftermath of accidents could be huge.
“I will carry these scars as a constant reminder of not following procedure and I urge all companies and their employees to be compliant with risk assessments, as they can help,” he said.
Two years after the incident, Venter returned to work and was offered the position of safety coordinator at his company.
Procedures and training were changed to prevent incidents such as Venter’s.
Venter has addressed more than 80 000 workers facing health and safety challenges on a daily basis in high- and low-risk industries.
He has also had the opportunity to speak to hundreds of organisations and their board members, management and supervisors.
Venter will be back in South Africa in November and again in January 2013 before he begins a world tour in February.
Edited by: Chanel de Bruyn© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Electricity News
State-owned power utility Eskom and Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown confirmed on Wednesday that contracts under the so-called short-term power purchase programme (STPPP) had been renewed ahead of the March 31, 2015, expiry date. Eskom told Engineering News...
State-owned power utility Eskom said on Wednesday that full power from Medupi Unit 6 should be reached by the end of May and that it was working to ensure that the completion of the remaining five units was not undermined by further technical or labour problems. The...
A new handbook, titled Understanding Power Purchase Agreements, has been published under the aegis of President Barack Obama’s Power Africa initiative, which was launched in June 2013 with the aim of facilitating the addition of 30 000 MW of new electricity...
Updated 10 minutes ago Toll tariffs for the proposed N1 and N2 Winelands toll roads in the Western Cape have not been set, the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) said on Wednesday. These tariffs will only be set by the minister of transport once the competitive bidding process...
Updated 11 minutes ago One key component of the South African government’s current economic policy relates to encouraging economic growth and fostering job creation through promoting the procurement of locally produced goods and services. But supporters of the policy believe a shift in the...
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2015: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2015 report provides an overview of the key developments in the global steel industry and particularly of South Africa’s steel sector over the past year, including details of production and consumption, as well as the country's primary carbon...
Projects in Progress 2015 - First Edition (PDF Report)
In fact, this edition of Creamer Media’s Projects in Progress 2015 supplement tracks developments taking place under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, which has had four bidding rounds. It appears to remain a shining light on the...
Electricity 2015: A review of South Africa's electricity sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Electricity 2015 report provides an overview of State-owned power utility Eskom and independent power producers, as well as electricity planning, transmission, distribution and the theft thereof, besides other issues.
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
This Week's Magazine
Projected capital expenditure (capex) in the South African automotive assembly industry should reach a record R7.48-billion this year, says the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) in its 2014 fourth quarter business review. Capex...
After several years of navigating project-threatening red tape and currency fluctuations, the 4.4 MW Bronkhorstspruit biogas power plant, which will supply clean energy to a leading automotive manufacturer in Gauteng, is expected to enter production before June....
South African paper and pulp producer Sappi reported earlier this month that it would build a pilot plant for the production of low-cost Cellulose NanoFibrils, or CNF (nanocellulose) at the Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Sittard-Geleen in the Netherlands.
The long-term outlook for Nigeria is a country that has the potential to be very strong. So affirmed International Monetary Fund (IMF) Nigeria Mission Chief and Senior Resident Representative Dr Gene Leon on recently. "But we are starting from a point of huge...
Poor infrastructure planning and inadequate maintenance are becoming increasingly problematic for new developments and the associated infrastructure required to support such developments. In many urban and rural municipalities, the state of infrastructure has been...