Inspirational Safety Speaker
Inspirational safety speaker Hawk Vagg knows the exact moment that his life changed forever. At the time, he was assistant manager of a 50,000 acre property and a strong, healthy family man with four children but after a workplace accident on 4 December 1998, he became a quadriplegic. He was 38.
He fell two metres from the top of a front end loader and landed on his head breaking the C7 vertebra in his neck, severing his spinal cord and fracturing his right wrist. The moment he hit the ground he knew his injuries were serious, even life threatening.
Hawk spent six months in the Austin Hospital, Melbourne, six weeks of these in intensive care and almost 6 months at the Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre. So began his long and painful journey.
No one knows better than Hawk the consequences of ignoring safety warning signs and today he shares his story at workplaces and events in Australia in the hope that he can save the lives of others. He believes that to change behaviour, you need to change an attitude. So how do you change an attitude? Hawk has spoken to groups as small as six up to audiences of several hundred, including at mine sites and workplaces.
It could all have been so different. Hawk had become complacent whilst working in a very dangerous environment. He had fallen victim to the “She’ll be right” attitude. But what if you’re wrong? If Hawk had not made decisions to cut corners to save a bit of time, and instead had been thinking about the safe way to do the job, his life would have taken an entirely different path.
During his presentations Hawk covers many different aspects of safety: individual safety, duty of care to look after your own safety, team safety, bad habits and complacency in the work place, effects on work mates, coming to work fit for work, stopping the job at an unsafe workplace, attitude, culture, workers compensation, getting another job after injury, the ripple affect your accident has on many people and its repercussions on finances and relationships.
Hawk Clark is very honest about the risks he took with his own safety. He thought he was invincible and that nothing could happen to him, an attitude shared by many. Hawk is a down-to-earth speaker and hearing his story and seeing him in a wheelchair often has a profound effect on his audience.
There is currently no cure for Hawk himself but this inspirational man will do everything he can in the meantime to make others aware of the impact their actions can have on themselves, their mates and their families.
I just wanted to say that I thought your speech / presentation was brilliant, it was a very hard hitting speech that I could see it made an impact on the lads. I thought it was well delivered and your detailed description of the accident really hit home. I was especially moved by the aftermath of your accident and the way it’s affected you and your life.
-Port Botany Laing O’Rourke
Rodney’s message has had a huge impact on my approach to everyday moments in life and highlighted the need to be vigilant and remain safe wherever we are in life, be it at work or home