Accidents can have lasting impact on family, friends, says P.E.I. man

A P.E.I. man who was injured on the job as a teen is giving a thumbs-up to a new ad campaign by Workers Compensation Boards (WCBs) across the region.

New WCB campaign focuses on impact of workplace accidents

David Collins had to learn how to walk again after his injury at age 16. (Submitted by David Collins)

A P.E.I. man who was injured on the job as a teen is giving a thumbs-up to a new ad campaign by Workers Compensation Boards (WCBs) across the region. 

The campaign, called Workplace Injuries Hurt the Most at Home, focuses on how accidents can affect more than just the person involved. 

"It's not only the individual that is affected, it's their friends, family, everyone around them are affected by this workplace accident," said David Collins, an Island man who was paralyzed from the waist down at age 16. 

Affected parents, friends

Collins said he and a co-worker were joyriding on a golf cart while working at a resort. Collins fell out and was struck, breaking his back. 

Collins now speaks about his injury to students and others. (Submitted by David Collins)

That was 15 years ago, and although Collins learned to walk again — he's more than 50 per cent paralyzed — the 31-year-old still suffers from chronic pain. 

He said it took a toll on his parents, who have helped care for him. 

"It was many nights of hearing me scream in pain, and for them there was nothing that they could do," he said.

"It was heartbreaking," for everyone involved, Collins said. 

Over the years Collins said his injury also affected his friendships, as he often must cancel plans at the last minute due to unpredictable pain.

Now speaks nationally

Collins has been an advocate for workplace safety, volunteering to talk to students on behalf of the WCB. He's now a national speaker with Threads of Life, a group that supports families after workplace accidents. Threads of Life is also a partner in the new ad campaign. 

The ad campaign began running two weeks ago on television and will include radio, print and social media ads.

Some 15,000 Atlantic Canadians suffer injuries at work every year, the WCB said. 

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With files from Laura Chapin