Gary is 53 and married with two grown-up children. He lives in Leyland and has worked as a highways maintenance operative for 12 years.
In October 2017, Gary was sat in an IPV while his colleagues were putting out a lane three closure. At around 8pm, a road user hit the IPV head on at 69mph.
The IPV shunted forward and Gary damaged the ligaments in his neck and shoulder and the base of his spine and both Gary & the driver were taken to hospital. The driver was charged with dangerous driving and received a 12-month ban.
The following August, Gary felt physically fit enough to return to work following month of physio on his arm. On his first shift back he was put on the sweeper and as he entered the closure, he broke down crying, felt like he couldn’t breathe and had a panic attack; this resulted in him leaving work.
Following on from this, Gary has had counselling where they discovered Gary was suffering with anxiety as a result of PTSD. Gary is now feeling mentally strong and has recently returned back to work. Currently, he is not able to drive due to the medication he is on and due to this his IPV license has expired, which he is unsure if he will be able to get back onto again.
Gary is really proud Kier Highways is doing more to promote the health and wellbeing of its employees. He was once considered the tough guy at the depot and for him to cry in front of the rest of the operatives he felt weak, a feeling he doesn’t want anyone else to go through.
Gary commented: 'I’ve trained in martial arts and boxing for years. I used to have this hard man image. When I had the panic attack, I thought I was weak and soft. I couldn’t believe how I was feeling. But from the help I received, I now know that this kind of reaction is normal after suffering something like I did. Everybody has a breaking point, no matter how tough you are.
'I think we could do more to support people with the kind of issues I suffered with. Encourage people to open up more, or better still, train colleagues to know how to spot the signs. Often the person that needs help is the one to recognise it last, this is why the Kier Highways Safety in Mind videos are so important, to raise awareness of this kind of thing.'