Scott Frederick aims to change accessibility and safety awareness in Morgantown.
On June 11, everything changed for Scott Frederick, a local carpenter, reclaimer, and timber framer. While working at a job site, Frederick did not take the time to tie off with his safety harness—resulting in a nine-foot fall onto his feet, followed by eight weeks in a wheelchair.
Frederick’s wheelchair-bound daily routine is completely different from before. For one thing, he’s experiencing firsthand how inaccessible things can be for people relying on wheelchairs. Normal daily tasks, like going to the grocery store and getting up steps, are no longer straightforward for him.
Not only has he experienced the lack of accessibility—an issue he has begun speaking out about—but he says he’s also finding that he’s treated differently in a wheelchair than he ever was on two feet. Odd glances and long stares make going out in public uncomfortable for him. “I never realized how many looks someone in a wheelchair gets,” he says of his first time going into the grocery store after his accident. “I mean, I was standing two days ago.”
Frederick has become a safety advocate and reminds us all that following safety protocol is crucial in any work environment. He emphasizes the importance of prioritizing self-care and mental health in one’s daily work. One of his own biggest takeaways has been not to push himself so hard that he puts deadlines before his own well-being. Your value in your career does not rely on whether you meet every deadline or not or how quickly you can get a job done, he says.
Frederick’s goal is to raise awareness of accessibility and safety. Since his accident, he has focused on speaking out and encouraging others to be more aware of what is going on around them. His hope is that his story makes people more aware and compassionate. “I want to raise education on this, hold everyone to a higher standard, and hope for people to recognize their privilege,” says Frederick.