Thanks to JobAccess, Keith can continue running his business and support his customers better
Image description: Keith is sitting on his mobility scooter and looking to camera. He is wearing a yellow and black jacket and there is scrap metal behind him. The text on the right-hand side reads, “Good News from JobAccess” with the Australian Government and JobAccess logo on the top-right hand corner.
Keith felt the impact of his accident, and all procedures since, on his capacity at work. That’s when he contacted JobAccess for tailored support.
A life-changing incident
Around 45 years ago, at 19, Keith was in a motorbike accident that left him paralysed. Six weeks later, he woke up confused and unaware of the extent of his injuries. “It wasn’t nice,” shared Keith. “I didn’t know where I was.”
Keith had broken his neck at the C2, wrists, knees and more, and was in a bad way. “I couldn’t speak properly,” shared Keith. Medical professionals didn’t think Keith would be able to walk again.
After five months in hospital, Keith miraculously started to feel sensations in his legs. Three months later, following extensive work and recovery, Keith left the hospital walking. He was using a walking stick and had a paralysed right arm. It was a long road ahead for Keith, but he was so grateful to be back on his feet walking and to be out of hospital after eight months.
Keith was now 20. He started collecting rubbish from homes, mowing lawns, and collecting scrap metal on weeknights and weekends. He continued doing this for many years. In 2000, Keith started his own business by purchasing an undeveloped four-acre site, turning it into a metal recycling facility. “I thought it was a good idea, and now I have been doing it for close to 30 years,” shared Keith.
Fast forward 30 years, and the aches and pains were present. Keith had experienced various surgeries, including a left hip replacement, a left knee replacement, decompression and fusion procedures, and more. Keith was also experiencing severe bilateral sciatica, particularly on his right side.
As a result of the accident, all the procedures since, and general wear and tear on his body, Keith’s mobility was also limited. Doing tasks outside the site office was becoming challenging, and most of Keith’s work duties required access to the yard.
Keith realised he needed some support. Getting around the four-acre yard effectively and efficiently was becoming challenging, affecting Keith’s ability to serve his customers best. He had been using a walking frame, but it wasn’t supporting him sufficiently.
“The challenge was trying to get around the yard. To walk to some places in the yard with a walking frame and the time it would take to show customers items, customers would leave,” shared Keith.
The turning point
Keith wasn’t aware of JobAccess until a friend suggested it to him. “A friend told me about JobAccess. I didn’t know I was entitled to anything,” he shared. Keith reached out to JobAccess for advice and support with workplace adjustments.
JobAccess provides free, expert and confidential advice on workplace adjustments to employers and people with disability. The JobAccess team includes range of field experts, including allied health professionals, who offer advice tailored to the person’s situation from the first point of contact.
JobAccess also managed funding for workplace adjustments. This funding, called the Employment Assistance Fund, provides financial assistance to employers and people with disability (including mental health conditions) to help cover the cost of making reasonable adjustments in the workplace. This includes people who run their own business.
Keith was connected with JobAccess Professional Adviser Emma Tutty, who arranged for a free workplace modification assessment. Such an assessment is conducted by an independent assessor – a qualified professional who will look at the workplace and help identify any barriers that may exist.
An assessor visited Keith at his business, KB Auto Salvage and Recycling.
“She came down and was with me for two and a half hours. She watched me with customers and around the yard. She was more than helpful,” shared Keith. It was agreed that an ‘Outback Mobility Scooter’ was the solution. Emma supported arranging the funding for this item. “Emma was very good,” said Keith.
The mobility scooter supports Keith to get around the big yard easily, reducing the impact on his body and reducing his pain and fatigue. Keith couldn’t continue working at his business in the same capacity without the outdoor mobility scooter. “I am very happy. It is a big help to me. JobAccess are very understanding,” shared Keith.
Thanks to the mobility scooter, Keith can also better support his customers. “It helps me help customers better. I’m getting new customers all the time. I enjoy it. You never know who or what is coming in,” shared Keith.
A great result for Keith, who now runs his business with the help of his new business partner, his son Jeremy.
“I am very happy. It is a big help to me. JobAccess are very understanding”
Contact JobAccess for advice and support with workplace adjustments
Contact JobAccess on 1800 464 800 to speak to our Advisers for expert, confidential and tailored advice on workplace adjustments. You can also submit an online enquiry through our website.