Like any regular bloke, Rohan Sykes had a passion for playing music, dabbled in home renovations and enjoyed spending time with friends. He loved his sport, captain-coaching cricket clubs around Geelong. His family, wife Claire and daughters Zoey and Dakota were everything to him.
After completing a fitter and turner apprenticeship at ALCOA in 2006. He immediately showed a passion for workplace safety and safe work practices, becoming an apprentice safety rep in 2008. During this time Rohan gained a sound understanding of what can go wrong in industrial workplaces and what to be aware of.
Then one day at work in 2011, everything changed……
Not long after Dakota was born, Rohan started work as a multi-skilled operator at a glass bottle factory in Melbourne’s west. After less than six months in the job, he suffered horrific burns to 35 per cent of his body when he was exposed to radiant heat from molten glass which caused him to catch fire.
The experiences that followed, including three days in an induced coma, six weeks in hospital and years of rehabilitation, shaped who Rohan is today. He is passionate about workplace safety, not only from the perspective of employers, but he wants to urge people to take responsibility for their own safety at work.
Through his speaking, Rohan has been able to touch people from all walks of life and all career paths. Sharing his story and his experience has enabled him to heal whilst helping others to gain a better understanding of what can go wrong and how it can change your life forever. Motivating people to improve their attitudes towards workplace safety to avoid accidents like his, or inspiring others to get through their ordeal is what drives him.
“This presentation is something every worker and every apprentice should see and hear. Rohan is no bleeding heart. He doesn’t “preach”. Rohan just tells it like it is – how workplace injuries impact not just the injured, but families and friends as well.”
- John McKay, WHS trainer – Gordon Institute TAFE