In 1993 I was working for a construction company doing a bit of roofing work when I fell 10ft from a ladder.
I realised straight away that I couldn't feel my legs and it was quickly determined that I had fractured my back and was paralysed from the waist down. I was told that I would never walk again. I was 24 years old.
I had to spend four months in rehab at a special unit. My marriage quickly ended - I had two young children and struggled to try and rebuild my life.
The consequences of the accident were massive. Alcohol was the first thing I used to block out the emotional pain and then I became addicted to prescription drugs. In 1995 I suffered a reaction to taking ecstasy and ended up in a coma.
I'm not proud of what I did but these are the things that can happen to you when you suffer a life-changing accident.
When you are that low it's quite frightening what you do to try and alleviate what you are going through. I was a normal guy who went to work, with a family, and these are the consequences for making the decision I did.
"I realised straight away that I couldn't feel my legs"
I was inexperienced; I wasn't a roofer by trade, which were all the signs for something to potentially go wrong.
I was going up a ladder, it wasn't secured and the ground condition wasn't very good. I knew that I shouldn't be climbing it but I thought it would be OK.
My boss went up the ladder first and I remember thinking "this isn't right". It felt unsafe but I still climbed it. I was trying to get the job done and I made a decision to do something unsafe and this is the consequence.
It was a rushed job towards the end of the day and I was trying to get the job done and please a client.
I would say to anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation to speak up if they think something is unsafe. The most important thing is to go home at the end of the day.
We have to strive for a culture where it is the norm to accept that everybody has the right to go home safely to their loved ones.
Jason now works as a motivational and behavioural safety speaker giving talks to industry about his experience of living as a paraplegic and the story of his life before, the day of and after the accident.
For more information or to book Jason for talks visit www.p2bs.org.
Posted: 5/26/2016 2:50:49 PM