Apprentice recognised by Return to Work Awards
“KEEP trying. Give it your best. What you put into helping yourself is what you get out of it.”
These are the worlds of Rhys Sunderland, a Proserpine man who returned to work after suffering a traumatic workplace fall and has been named a finalist in Q-COMP’s 2013 Return to Work Awards.
In August 2010, the 21year-old first year electrical apprentice fell through a metal floor plate at the Proserpine Sugar Mill. Falling 2.7 metres and hitting his head on the way down, he was then hit by the floor plate, which partially amputated his left arm.
What followed was a series of extensive surgeries to the left forearm, hand and fingers and a long and painful rehabilitation process spanning years.
“Mentally, it hit me pretty hard at first and I went and saw a psychiatrist. It was a lot to deal with and to be honest it hit my parents pretty hard too,” Rhys said.
However, after inten- sive therapy to rebuild his arm and regain movement, Rhys was determined to return to work as soon as he could and once given the all-clear he was back at the mill on light duties.
Occupational physician and Q-COMP medical advisor Dr John Sowby said this was an amazing outcome given the severity of the injuries and he praised Rhys for his determination and commitment to rehabilitation and returning to work.
As for how he did it, “you are only going to get as far as you try,” Rhys said. “I always have a positive manner about myself and this really helps in the journey.”
Rhys will now join finalists from seven other categories at the QCOMP awards ceremony on October 30 in Brisbane.
The Return to Work Awards celebrate the achievements of injured workers who get back to work, along with the employers, case managers, rehabilitation and return-to-work co-ordinators and health providers who help them reach their goals.
ONWARDS AND UPWARDS: Proserpine resident Rhys Sunderland returned to work after suffering a traumatic workplace fall and has been named a finalist in Q-COMP’s 2013 Return to Work Awards.