PARALYMPIC power lifter Kahi Puru stopped into the city to share his story last week, telling Armidale workers that taking control doesn’t have to be just limited to the competition ring.
Puru lost a leg in a workplace accident in the early ’90s and now travels the state, speaking to workers on the importance of site safety measures.
“I was in an industrial area in Newcastle, I was a driver operator of an industrial vehicle,” he said. “In the area I was working at the time there was noise and the light wasn’t the best.
“I was crushed by a forklift.
“He didn’t see me, I didn’t see him.”
The accident meant a long recovery for Puru, who threw himself into swimming for rehabilitation.
It was by chance he become involved in power lifting, with someone nominating him to have a go at the sport without his knowledge. “It was in the late ’90s when I went the aquatic centre in Sydney,” he said. “They said to have a look at power lifting I went down and had a look.
“There were about six to seven [athletes] and they were calling names; low and behold they called my name out.
“That’s how it all started.”
Puru shared his journey from that chance nomination to the Paralympics with residents at Ken Thompson Lodge, as well as workers who turned out to here the power lifter speak.
While Puru’s achievements in sport were significant, he said the important thing for people to take away from his talks was a sense of empowerment in the workplace.
He said people need to speak up if they see something that looks unsafe.
“It’s all about us taking control,” he said.
“It’s about preventing things from happening in the first place.”
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.