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Home Tradesman Insights A near fatal work accident and catastrophic life changing injuries

A near fatal work accident and catastrophic life changing injuries

Justin Manley is a performance coach, motivational safety speaker and cultural change program trainer. He started his company, Titanium Talks in 2020 after having a near fatal work accident in 2015.

For over 15 years Justin had been a water pipe technician and was highly skilled and qualified in his trade. In 2015 on a call out shift, he was attempting to repair a 12” water main when a miscommunication led into the main being charged up and causing an explosion, which then catapulted a torque wrench into Justin‘s face at 80 mph. This caused devastating damage.

Justin was knocked unconscious and was left floating face-down at the bottom of a hole which was rapidly filling with water. In his high-vis-vest he was fortunately quickly spotted by his coworker and pulled out but with major injuries to his eye and head.

He was rushed to hospital where he had to undergo an operation to save the vision in his right eye, which was sadly unsuccessful, paired with receiving devastating news that his injuries were a lot worse than they initially thought. Justin was given an ultimatum, a couple of years to live or face life-saving surgery which only carried a 15% survival rate.

Justin decided to go for the operation and was faced with the distressing task of having to say goodbye to his family. With the thought of never seeing them again if he didn’t survive the operation, he said goodbye to his family and went for the operation. Fast forward, Justin is now left with life changing injuries, multiple titanium plates in his forehead and skull, and also a huge impact on his family and his own mental health.

Justin’s presentations and training have had a huge impact on the construction industry, and his story is one that should be shared widely. Not only does his tale send a very strong safety message, but the mental impact on himself and his family has been a sobering experience that more people in the construction industry should hear about.

Justin promotes workplace safety, and now delivers a wide range of services from performance coaching, safety and motivational talks, behavioural safety and much more. Justin has gone on to win awards for his hard hitting public speaking including The Construction Excellence Award and the Chairman’s Award for the future water awards.

To find more and book a talk with Justin, visit the Titanium Talks website.

Feedback from Titanium Talks

“It was without doubt the most powerful ‘health and safety’ talk that I have ever seen, but in reality it wasn’t really about health and safety, it was about life and being appreciative of what you have – and that is the most important message there is…you’ve shown great courage to use your experience in a way that good will come of it”

– Paul Salmon, Clancy Docwra Senior Contract Manager on the Anglian Water IMDS Contract

“I wanted to thank you and the whole team for the successful quick delivery of some really powerful safety messages. I can honestly say in 29 years, I’ve never seen so many engaged and emotionally moved grown front-line men and ladies; this really did make us all think… it reinforced to me the power of the guys on the ground being involved in the delivery of our safety messages…you could truly see the teams respected him for what he’s been through and the messages he was delivering to them, for their benefit”.

– David Ward, IMR Director and Head of Water Networks, Anglian Wate

Justin Manley

Up until a few years ago, Justin was a highly skilled Pipe Technician and a team leader within the utilities industry. His life changed on 28/10/15 and now he tours the country specialising in Behavioural Safety and Performance Coaching under his company Titanium Talks.

All articles by Justin Manley

Leave a comment


Deeply thought provoking and hard hitting stuff,made me think about the times I’ve cut corners and more often at home than in the workplace.There is always the potential for that one time event to occur when our thoughts are jaded by other things and of course we make the wrong decisions.Your talk has I believe made me make better decisions in the future

Reply to Mark kelk

Hi Mark,

Thanks for leaving us a comment. Justin’s story is one that we can all learn from and just goes to show that PPE is so important to be worn, as without that, he could have been left unfound. Even if you’ve been in the trade for years, accidents can happen to anyone. Stay safe!

Reply to Stephanie Lowndes
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