Hear Peter’s journey in his own words
I did go through the paperwork that we received from WorkSafe
...so we received an email – that's how it all sort of started.
And then from that we went through all the information that was in there about the new initiative
and the program using either Sonic Health or Jobfit to do the health screening.
I spoke with my team in management – 'Okay, how are we going to manage this situation,
because obviously we want to get all the guys on board so that they can also receive the benefit of the program.'
So we came up with a strategy on how to deal with it with our team and that was basically have a team meeting about it,
so we grabbed everyone together in a round circle – we just sought of spoke about what's happening in our industry, the silicosis.
There'd been a report on an a current affairs program where one of our friends from within the industry had been diagnosed with silicosis
and was essentially kicked out of the industry because it was no good for his health.
And that really helped us drum it to our workers – or hit it home for them – how important the individual screening was.
I also, whilst talking with our team, basically said 'look I'm also going in and doing the screening as well,
so it's not like it's just you guys, it's not me – I'm in it just as much as you guys are.'
And I think that helped them understand the level of concern that we obviously have
and the fact that we just want to make sure that they're safe.
The best way that I could basically get them on board was look ultimately it's a free health check,
maybe, more than likely most of us are all 100% fine – no big deal,
but there's that element that we might pick up one of our friends here could potentially be very ill and we don't know –
so we want to make sure that everyone was getting the necessary treatment.
One of our workers just didn't want to go through it at all.
He pulled me to the side afterwards and he asked 'I don't have the capacity to go through it mentally.'
So we encountered some challenges in trying to encourage him to go – to this point he still hasn't gone.
Because within himself he hasn't got the... he doesn't believe he has the mental capacity to deal with
a verdict that would say he does have silicosis.
He thinks that as soon as he finds out he'll just fall off the edge of a cliff and become extremely ill a lot faster than otherwise.
Based on what we learnt from WorkSafe, they'd given us a lot of tips with other organisations,
you know such as Men's Line, BeyondBlue and organisations such as that
to really help our employees to take that – you know they can speak to someone else,
it doesn’t have to be my voice or one of their work colleagues talking to them, you know it can be professionals really helping them along.
We've tried all those things as well, we've passed on that information, we've had him have some phone calls with some people.
We actually had our HR team specifically help him and take him and get –
I believe he got the access to the three psychological assessments that you guys have
– appointments and he took advantage of that.
And that really helped him with his mind frame – although it hasn't pushed him towards having that test done just yet –
but we're – work in progress.
As I said I did undertake it myself.
I do have some silica spots in my lungs – so I essentially have a diagnosis that I have silicosis.
I think it's only very minor so at this stage there won't be an impact on my life.
So... potentially... thank goodness for me for now…
That was nerve wracking, I think I was only really anxious the day I was going into get results, otherwise,
personally I wasn’t really too nervous – it's water off a ducks back, it is what it is
and only on the day of the scheduled appointment did I share any real nervousness within myself about what the results could be.
I went back and told them all 'well I actually have silicosis' – so even more reason why we need to make our workplace compliant.
So... that's not to say that if you don't have silicosis you don't need to make your workplace compliant –
as an employer it's our responsibility to make sure that we are looking after our team.
You know we've got 15 beautiful individuals that work for us you know,
without them our company's nothing, so we need to look after our people as best we can.
You know I think any employer that doesn't look at it that way – you know they might need to rethink that.