United Steel Worker
On June 13 2013, Owen Goodwin sustained a life changing injury. While doing a job he and others had done on a daily basis, steel plates weighing about 6000 pounds slipped and one of the crane hooks being used to lift them struck Owen square in the left eye. Fortunately, he was wearing safety glasses as specialists have equated that the force of the hit to his face was equal to swinging a sledgehammer like a baseball bat. Owen was rushed to the hospital and diagnosed with four facial fractures. Luckily he didn’t sustain any bleeding to the brain. He was stitched up and sent home with heavy medications.
Owen attended a head injury rehab clinic where he began to recover from the physical and mental trauma associated with his injury, and it was here that he was diagnosed with a mild traumatic brain injury, post-concussion syndrome and PTSD. Once the clinic time was done, he was put on a gradual return to work program. As a big strong steelworker and someone who had played sports throughout his life, he thought that once the bones had healed, everything would be fine. But being back at work “scared the hell out of me…so like any other tough guy what I did was lie about it, mainly to myself. I faked like I could handle it and just got back to work.”
What no one but Owen and his wife saw was that he wasn’t fine and was on a downward spiral. After a minor incident at home sent him into a rage, he knew he was lying to himself, and that he and his family were suffering. He called WorkSafe and did the hardest thing he ever had to do and asked for more help. “Men in my industry have been bred that asking for help is wrong. Especially mental health help.” That is why Owen is speaking out about his story. He wants to reduce this stigma and make sure that workers and their families get the help they need to recover.
Owen lives in New Westminster with his wife and son. He enjoys travelling across BC with his family in his fifth wheel. He works as a CNC electronic oxygen burner, and is a proud and active member of United Steel Workers Local 2009.