Read Dan's Story below.
For years, Dan Plexman worked successfully and safely as a driver, equipment operator and warehouseman in pipeline, oil sands and general construction. In his early 30s, Dan made the move into the electrical field when he began a 4-year electrical apprenticeship. He was in his 4th year of the apprenticeship when he was seriously injured on the job.
Despite trying to address safety concerns with his supervisors, Dan found himself learning and working in a very lax safety culture during his apprenticeship. Ironically, to check off the box on the form, Dan’s General Foreman appointed him as the Safety Rep for his crew while he was still an apprentice because no one else wanted the job. Dan was told the position was strictly “on paper.”
Unfortunately, one day changed everything for him when he found himself working alone – again. This time he was 17 feet up in a manlift doing his final inspection when he came in close proximity to the live overhead power-lines. An electrical arc flash fire resulted. The flash fire caused 3 – 6 degree burns to 60% of Dan’s body before he fell the 17 feet to the ground. At the hospital, doctors gave him a 13% chance of surviving this preventable accident.
Dan survived the fire but it did not just burn his body, sentencing him to years of surgeries, medical procedures and therapy, this horrific accident also left him dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Dan’s family felt the brunt of the accident, too. Their loved one was severely injured and that changed everything.
Today, while Dan is forever a changed man, he has learned much on his road to recovery. Dan says he wouldn’t change anything about what happened to him because the experience has served as a catalyst for his personal growth and inner healing. He cites that while we can’t always choose what happens to us, we can always choose how we respond. While it's taken many years, he has come to realize that this experience has made him a better person.
But Dan says people don’t need to go through something so horrific to grow. Because of this accident, he knows first-hand the serious effects this sort of thing can have on a person and their family, as well as their co-workers. It’s Dan’s hope that people will learn from his experience and embrace a culture of safety so no one else will suffer as he has.
Preventable accidents shouldn’t happen. Dan wants to raise awareness about the incredible need for well-thought out and practiced emergency rescue plans and effective work safety cultures that protect workers and their families, as well as equipment and companies.
No one should suffer from a preventable accident.
Audiences connect with Dan when they hear his message. Not only workers and employees hear the wisdom he shares when he tells his incredible story and the insights he's gained, but family members have also been helped and marriages have even been saved. Dan’s ability to share about the accident and the resulting journey he’s been on opens eyes, ears and hearts.
Dan feels fortunate to be able to connect and help others. Working in the construction field gave him diverse experiences around Canada for which he is grateful but that work remained “only a job.” Dan only fell into speaking as a result of the accident but he’s discovered a passion he didn’t even know was there. Being able to share his story and help other workers has not only served to help him in his recovery, it has become his mission in life.