Boilermaker Clay’s role expands with help of new, innovative equipment through JobAccess
Image: Clay is sitting on a perching stool in the factory and smiling at the camera. He is surrounded by factory equipment and seated behind a three-dimensional (3D) welding table.
Clay is a Boilermaker working with Evermil, a steel fabrication and supplies business based on the South Coast of NSW.
Clay’s role is diverse in nature. Day to day, he may be interpreting blueprints, cutting, moulding, and welding metal and steel to fix faults, welding and bolting structures together or identifying and solving various challenges depending on the project Clay is working on. As a Boilermaker, Clay also needs to lift items of various weights and move things around the workshop.
Clay lives with a physical disability and is a wheelchair user following an accident riding bulls 23 years ago, causing an injury to his spine.
Chris Beck, Managing Director of Evermil, was keen to find support to make Clay’s role more accessible. Chris commissioned colleague Paul Baxendale to research and see what was out there. That’s when Paul came across JobAccess and the Employment Assistance Fund. Clay was also aware of JobAccess from a previous role with another business.
Paul and Clay sought support which meant Clay could work autonomously and efficiently. Clay didn’t want to interrupt his colleagues when needing assistance to lift or move things. Clay also had difficulty undertaking some aspects of fabricating tasks using his existing workbench.
Since acquiring his disability, Clay has had moments where he hasn’t worked. However, he much prefers working. “I just enjoy keeping busy really. Nothing worse than having nothing to do,” said Clay.
After Paul connected with JobAccess, a workplace assessment was organised to understand Clay’s challenges and requirements at work. The assessor recommended various equipment to support Clay in working effectively, safely, and efficiently.
The recommendations included a three-dimensional (3D) welding table, a perching stool that Clay can perch on to make him more comfortable when working on a job, and a self-propelled electronic scissor lift trolley (double scissor), supporting Clay to lift things onto his trolley and transport them over to his workbench.
This equipment means Clay doesn’t have to get people to get his materials. “He was independent when working on the job but relied on others to get his materials and lift them to his desk,” shared Paul. “Now he can pretty much use his self-propelled trolley to get materials, bring them back to his 3D welding table and start working.”
In terms of the three-dimensional (3D) table, Clay can attach various items to it and adjust its height depending on the job. It is a welding system table with an attached scissor lift.
Clay can put the table at different angles; instead of turning sideways or crawling under it, he can turn it where he needs it. “Essentially Clay can work with the table on a ‘funny angle’, rather than him being on a ‘funny angle’,” said Paul.
“I can lower it down, making it easier, and I can clamp stuff onto it. It has been amazing, it helps me out a lot,” said Clay.
JobAccess Professional Adviser and Occupational Therapist Chantal Hardey supported Clay and Paul through what was a rather lengthy process sourcing the equipment required, as not many businesses produce the specialised and expensive equipment here in Australia.
Clay is also appreciative of living in a country with this kind of support available. Although he still faces his struggles, the equipment has made things easier. “The scissor lift saved me. I’m always struggling, but now not as much. Not many people in general get a worktable like this. I’m pretty stoked,” said Clay.
From Paul’s perspective, although the specialised equipment took some time to arrive, it was well and truly worth the wait. Paul is pleased to see Clay with more freedom at work, and instead of having to crawl around the table or ask team mates to help, the equipment means Clay can do his job his way. “Clay uses the scissor lift trolley a lot, I see him here, there and everywhere using it. It helps big time,” said Paul.
Clay is now taking on more tasks with the help of his equipment. “Clay is a top guy. He can do more tasks now, it’s great to see and makes his job a lot easier,” said Paul.
No matter the role or challenges faced, JobAccess’ team of professional advisers will get to know the employee and employer, uncover the challenges at work and come up with solutions to remove any barriers. It is a simple and straightforward process.
Talk to us about making reasonable adjustments at work.
Are you interested in understanding more about how the Employment Assistance Fund can help you or your employee?
Click on this link for more information: www.jobaccess.gov.au/employment-assistance-fund-eaf or contact JobAccess on 1800 464 800.