In 2012, while working on the Airport Link tunnel in Brisbane, tradesman Darren Sissan was stocking a five-tonne bolter rig when it slipped off the loader and landed on his left foot. The operator of the loader managed to lift the rig enough to enable Darren to remove his foot but it was obvious significant injury had occurred and he was rushed to the emergency room.
Darren was sure his foot was crushed and his life had just changed for the worse. “I was thinking ‘this is my start to a new life, a life with half a foot, or no toes’,”he said.
He was rushed to hospital by ambulance where the doctors had a look at the injury. Darren forced himself to do the same and was amazed by what he saw. “I could see my toes and they looked heaps better than I thought they would.”
The doctors told Darren he was extremely lucky. He had sustained just a hairline fracture and the loss of his big toenail. His Oliver Workwear boots had taken the brunt of the five-tonne impact.
A post-accident review was conducted with a simulation of what would have happened if Darren had been wearing the standard-issue steel-capped gumboots. It would have been devastating. His foot would likely have been crushed and his toes amputated.
“If I had not been wearing my Oliver Boots and if I had been wearing their gumboots, I would have lost my toes,” Darren says. “I am so grateful I was wearing them on this shift.”
“I am back to playing squash, mountain bike riding, playing with my baby girl and chasing my wife-to-be around the house again.”
Tradie Tough Tested
When the crew at Oliver Workwear told us about Darren’s story we had to see these boots first hand. That they could protect Darren’s toes from a five-tonne impact is a huge win for everybody involved. Darren keeps his foot, Oliver Workwear showcases their boots and the industry as a whole is reminded of the importance of taking safety seriously.
WTW believes there is no excuse but to buy the absolute best when it comes to safety. This is your life, it’s worth preserving.
When Oliver told us they were launching a new range of boots – the 34 Series – we wanted to help shine the light on safety. And we did it In true Tradie Tough Test fashion; with a massive hammer and a Moto X helmet.
“I feel bad taking a hammer to such a beautiful pair of boots, “ said WTW tool tester, Matty Page, the sparkle in his eye suggesting he was actually looking forward to the carnage.
Knowing what Darren’s boots had withstood, I had a little wager with Matt that he wasn’t going to make a dent on the Oliver Boot’s steel cap, while he was pretty sure he was going to crush them. He was pumped to throw everything he had at them.
Belting the toe with brutal force again and again and again, Matt screamed in frustration as the hammer bounced harmlessly off.
After about 30 blows at full tilt and with the steel cap showing no signs of damage, we stepped up the carnage scale with a huge crowbar weighing in at around 10kg.
Matt drove the bar relentlessly down onto the toe. The shuddering crunch of bar on boot causing spectators to cringe and shake their head in disbelief.
Yet after about twenty blows, Matt was exhausted and the steel capped boot was in good condition. The only evidence of the beating was a slight tear in the material which gave the boot the appearance of grinning back at its attacker. Matt was beaten. His only consolation was he got to keep the boots and know his toes were safe on site.
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