Ap­pren­tice recog­nised by Re­turn to Work Awards

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

“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.

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