17 November 2021 posted by Recovery Partners

It’s not every day you meet a client who absolutely loves their job and is incredibly passionate about their industry, but that’s exactly how Jonathan Dawe* felt about his role as a butler in a high-end Sydney hotel.

Jonathan’s genuine enthusiasm for his role made it even more challenging when he suffered a life changing injury and needed nearly nine months off to recover.


In late January 2021, Jonathan was pushing a trolley with a glass cloche on it into the back of house lift area. Suddenly, the heavy doors started to close on him. The doors knocked the trolley causing the glass cloche to slide off. Jonathan quickly attempted to catch the cloche as it fell. Unfortunately, it shattered and a piece of glass sliced Jonathan’s left thumb off, causing significant loss of blood.

An ambulance was called and Jonathan was taken to Sydney Hospital where he underwent plastic surgery to repair two tendons and an artery that were damaged in the incident.

How Recovery Partners Helped

Sammi Levene was assigned Jonathan’s case in early February 2021.

Sammi is a Rehabilitation Consultant with a passion for helping people increase their physical activity by finding something they enjoy doing and inspiring them to turn that activity into a habit.

“Jonathan was only going to get 85% of hand function back and wants to be a voice to other injured workers that they can still return to work and do what they loved even if they aren’t 100% better,” explains Sammi.

Imagine learning you were only ever going to have 85% function back after your injury. Jonathan had to come to grips with his new reality.

Sammi conducted a work site visit to assess the job requirements and physical demands. She made recommendations for Jonathan to return to the job he loved with a graded RTW plan.

Jonathan needed to attend weekly hand therapy and Sammi monitored his progress and physical functions.

“He had to relearn everything like lifting things, fine motor skills and get his strength back in his hand,” says Sammi.

Terrible timing

Jonathan was excited to return to work in March 2021 on suitable duties and reduced hours.

However, shortly after his return, Sydney was thrown into lockdown. As we all know, the hospitality and tourism industry were already experiencing significant hardships.

“Jonathan didn’t know whether the hotel was going to reopen and was very concerned whether they would keep his job for him as so many hospitality jobs were made redundant. While he notes he was a valued worker, he wasn’t sure if they would accept him with a left hand working at only 85%,” explains Sammi.

The power of positive relationships

“Jonathan is very social and loves interacting with the hotel visitors. He was going mad because he was in lockdown and unable to work,” says Sammi.

During his treatment and recovery, Jonathan and Sammi developed a beautiful rapport.

In addition to monitoring his recovery, Jonathan and Sammi also shared recipes and tips for gardening.

Due to the seemingly never-ending lockdown, Recovery Partners conducted a vocational assessment and job canvassing to see where else Jonathan might be able to work. Fortunately, a New Employer was not required.

Great timing

In October 2021, Jonathan was back to pre-injury duties, just in time for the end of lockdown and the hotel’s reopening!

The employer made adjustments to accommodate Jonathan.

Not only was the employer supportive, but Jonathan’s colleagues also couldn’t wait to have him back on board. A ‘Buddy System’ was developed to assist Jonathan with tasks that required heavy lifting or handling hot and cold objects.

The result and key achievements

  • Jonathan was able to return to his pre-injury duties within nine months and with discharge from specialists.
  • Jonathan and Sammi developed an amazing relationship where they were able to have conversations about everyday things, aiding Jonathan’s mental health during a difficult time.
  • The hotel is no longer using glass cloches or requiring staff to push trolleys through heavy doors, ensuring this accident does not happen again.

From Sammi

“I’m glad I could support Jonathan to return to work he really loved. The fact he didn’t need to go down the New Employer path is awesome. It was a really pleasant experience because everyone was on same page and supporting him throughout the claim,” Sammi states.

From the injured worker

“Sammi has been so great. She is so supportive and focussed. She nurtured me to be more positive. I’m back at work now and I’m all good.”

“You have two hands, one to help yourself and the second to help others”

– Sam Levenson, In One Era and Out the Other

72 of 373

Disclaimer – these articles are provided to supply general safety information to people responsible for OHS in their organisation. They are general in nature and do not substitute for legal and/or professional advice. We always suggest that organisations obtain information specific to their needs. Additional information can be found at https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/