‘I would love to get back to work’

SOUTH SURREY – WorkSafe B.C. has launched a new preventive campaign to inform workers and employers about the importance of making safety a number one priority.

It’s a voicemail Barb Bertram never thought in a million years she’d receive.

Husband Robert Goforth had fallen more than nine feet onto a concrete landing and was headed to the hospital.

“When I got there, I basically got ushered into trauma. He’s lying there and kind of looks up at me and says, ‘What are you doing here?’ I’m looking at a man who’s had his clothes cut away from him, his boots are down at the bottom of the stretcher, he’s got blood coming out of his ears and his head looks like a pumpkin.”

Goforth, who had worked in construction for over two decades, was at a Delta-based site this past January.

“I don’t remember falling, only that we had a safety meeting that morning at 9 a.m.,” he said. “No one was there to witness it.”

The 45-year-old South Surrey resident had leaned on an outcropping piece of plywood that gave way.

He woke up nine days later, not

remembering his wife’s name.

“My answer was ‘I don’t know,’ because I really had no clue,” he added.

“I could look at a racoon, know what it was, but could not put a name to it.”

Injuries included a dislocated shoulder, a couple of broken ribs and a fractured

skull and cheekbone.

Doctors initially told Goforth he could be back to work within two months, but the effort was short-lived after he began getting major headaches.

“They never went away. They’re at level four all the time, six when I do anything physical and sometimes a nine. It really depends,” he told the Now.

Bertram admitted their lifestyle has

become very sedative, whereas before the accident, much of their time was spent out in the garden or with the animals.

“I never thought I’d have an accident like this. Even though everything may look perfect at work, anything could happen,”

South Surrey resident Robert Goforth was injured at a construction worksite earlier this year, suffering severe head trauma as a result.

Goforth said.

According to WorkSafe B.C., falls from height in the province accounted for 92 worker deaths and over 22,610 serious injuries, between 2004 and 2013.

WorkSafe is hoping to curb that figure with the launch of a new preventive campaign, a partnership with five Lower Mainland construction companies representing 22 job sites.

Of those sites, three are located in Surrey and North Delta.

The goal is to share statistics with employers and workers in order to overcome the fear of speaking up about safety, according to Al Johnson, vicepresident of prevention services. As for Goforth, the recovery process is expected to take another year and a half.

There’s at least one thing he hopes to achieve when he’s up to par.

“I would love to get back to work.”

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