Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Serious Injury Leads to Lifetime Career

Jeff Walters attributes two things to his success:  his graduation in Trident Technical College and a work-related injury that left him with a broken coccyx, fractured lower back, two sprained ankles, a sprained wrist and worst of all, an arm that was “shattered into a million pieces.”   

On December 8, 1988, Jeff voluntarily climbed on to a conveyor belt to secure a limit switch that was needed in order for the machine to operate.  In his haste to get home for the day, he violated the lock out procedures and the belt started to run more than 100 feet per minute.  Jeff was slammed against a wall, knocking him up in the air, then fell 19 feet to a concrete floor. 

His doctor explained his injuries and that he had sustained fractured vertebrae in the lower back and a broken coccyx (tail bone). Then he said, “We are most concerned about your left arm; it is shattered into a million pieces.”

Jeff asked if they could pin it back together and the doctor said, “There is nothing to pin it to.  It looks like grains of sand.”

After a long and painful recovery, Jeff returned to work inspired to dedicate his life to advocating and training in the field of workplace safety. 

Jeff’s Associate of Science in Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technology from TTC and his passion for safety and prevention has resulted in a successful 24-year career as an industrial technician.  Jeff has spent much of his time serving on various safety committees to improve safe conditions and safe work practices and has worked on the development and implementation of hazard recognition and risk analysis systems and behavior based safety processes in the KapStone Charleston Paper Mill. 

Jeff is very appreciative of Trident Technical College for providing him with a great education at an affordable price, enhancing his career and life.  “My degree has proven to be the catalyst of a long and prosperous career as an industrial technician,” says Jeff.  

In fact, Jeff is so grateful to TTC, that he provides safety awareness training classes in the college’s aircraft maintenance department at no charge.  He does this because he wants to “give back to the college that did so much for me, as well as prevent the lives of workers from being physically, emotionally and psychology 'shattered into a million pieces'.”  

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