It’s gratifying when employee safety training kicks in and saves a life, as happened in New Orleans, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Workers performing clean-up and recovery work didn’t have long to wait before putting to use the heat stress information they had received in a safety meeting earlier that day.
Observing symptoms of heat illness in a co-worker, they checked his symptoms against heat stress information and provided first aid until emergency responders arrived. The victim was found to be suffering from potentially fatal heat stroke.
Their quick thinking made a life-and-death difference for their co-worker, according to an emergency room physician. He said the worker would have died if treatment hadn’t been started before expert medical help arrived.
“Through foresight, fast thinking and the right information, tragedy can be averted,” says OSHA.
The two most serious forms of heat-related illnesses are heat exhaustion (usually caused by dehydration) and heat stroke, where the body loses its ability to cool itself and body temperature soars to a life-threatening level.