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“I hope my story can inspire people to make changes”: Curtis Weber

Years after a workplace accident almost took his life, Curtis Weber has brought his story to Grande Prairie. Speaking to a crowd at the Growing the North Conference, Weber told people about the day his life changed forever.

“We were attempting to move a hopper bottom underneath an overhead power line that we had identified before we could complete our tasks. Just using a picker truck we hooked on to the hopper and suspended it off the ground three or four feet… In doing so the operator of the crane we were using, who was actually the owner of the company as well, we didn’t boom down far enough and we had a line strike.”

On July 29, 1999, the then 17-year-old was three days into a new job building and installing steel grain bins in Saskatchewan. He was holding the structure’s legs while it was being moved when the metal hit a low hanging power line sending 14,400 volts through Weber and two other workers. While the others managed to escape, Weber was hit two more times with 14,400 volts.

When paramedics got him to the hospital he was put in a coma and his parents were told he wouldn’t make it. He had sustained 3rd and 4th degree burns to 60 per cent of his body and lost his right arm below the elbow and left leg below the knee.

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He did survive and spent the next 6 years of his life going through 30 surgeries and 14 plastic and reconstructive surgeries. Weber says in all that time he never once felt depressed or sorry for himself.

“I think a lot of the reason I came out of my situation the way I did was just the type of person I was… My mom always said I was the only kid she knew that could go hunting, fishing, golfing and quadding all in the same afternoon because I just loved life that much. I think that had a lot to do with it [and] the type of person that I was that just had that much zest for life.”

Weber is now a speaker, workplace safety trainer, husband and father of three. He says the most important thing he wants people to do is to have those conversations about safety.

“I hope I’m able to use my story and the messages within it to inspire people to make changes to the way they view safety. I know safety is not the most flashy topic or subject but I just hope that people can take my message back to their workplace, back to their crews, back to their dinner table with their families and just create the conversations around safety and choices.”

He also wants people to know that they should feel comfortable speaking up if they don’t feel safe no matter how young they are or how new they are. If something doesn’t look safe or feel safe it may not be.

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