Positioning Injured Workers for Long-Term Success and High Quality of Life: The Story of Billy P. Amputee
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Billy P. was introduced to the world of welding at the ripe age of 14, where he took on a part-time gig in the space and fell in love with the work. At 18, he started a full-time position as a welder and fabricator and spent the next 21 years in the business.
But that all changed on January 23, 2007.
“I was working as a welding shop foreman at this company,” Billy explained. “We had this machine called a drywall shredder, and my boss asked me to help a coworker clean it out because it had to be on the truck by noon.”
Though Billy had 10 years’ worth of OSHA safety training under his belt, he had been lulled into a false sense of security by the company’s poor safety culture. To clean such a machine should have required the complete shutdown of the shredder. But after observing others cleaning the machine while still operating it, Billy didn’t think to hit the switch.
It would be a decision that would change the course of his life.
“I walked over and stuck a screwdriver in the machine. I was there for a second or two before getting caught. The machine took both my arms above the elbow. It almost took my life that day,” said Billy.
He spent 18 days in the hospital, replaying his decision to pick up that screwdriver in the first place. He was turning 40 that year and quickly realized he could no longer do things for himself, from bathing to dressing to feeding.
“It wasn’t easy,” he said, to get back up from that place. But with time and the right team behind him, Billy slowly found a way to live a fulfilling life post-accident.
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