High five for safety

Injured worker sets Guinness World Record for most high fives in 24 hours

He did it, and it wasn’t even close.

Josh Dueck, a Paralympic medallist who was injured in a workplace accident, broke the Guinness World Record for the most high fives by any individual in 24 hours. He slapped hands with 9,307 people, far surpassing — or, in his words, “crushing” — the previous record of 3,131 set in 2008.

At the B.C. Lions game at Empire Field on Aug. 27, he high fived the Felions cheerleaders, Leo the Lion and uber fan Crazy Pete. The total tally at the stadium: 3,803 high fives.

Then Dueck moved on to the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) on Aug. 28, where he high fived the pre-opening crowd and then continued a marathon day at the fair, smacking hands with thousands. He finished the 24-hour marathon by high fiving Jen Beauregard of Abbotsford, B.C. Beauregard, 23, is herself an injured worker and safety advocate

Dueck’s record ”crushing” was part of WorkSafeBC’s Raise Your Hand campaign — an annual initiative to increase young workers’ understanding of their safety rights and how to stay safe at work. Young workers in B.C. are more likely to sustain an injury than workers aged 25 years and older, the agency said.

“I’m competitive and love a good challenge, but this was more important than breaking a record,” says Dueck. “I did it to bring attention to young worker safety, and that’s something I’m stoked about.”

Since becoming paralyzed from the waist down in a workplace accident at the age of 23, Dueck has become a world-champion para-alpine skier. He has won national and international competitions, and recently won a silver medal at the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.

“Josh can now add this to his long list of life accomplishments,” said Scott McCloy, WorkSafeBC director of communications. “We thank everyone who came out and raised a hand with Josh to help us raise awareness about safety for young workers.”

Josh Dueck

Josh Dueck shows off his world record form at Empire Field in Vancouver on Aug. 27.
(Photo: Courtesy WorkSafeBC)

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