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Are you ready?

Are you ready safety incident whs

By Monica Toews Brown

Ready for that fateful day?

I remember the screams that echoed through the incomplete building when the incident occurred. As a trainee and visitor to the site, I was perplexed and unsure of how to intervene, thus I stood idle on the sidelines watching the so called incident management unfold.

Firstly, the workers involved clearly did not know how to communicate an emergency incident in a timely manner. An injured work mate lay in a pool of his own blood when onlookers looked blankly at each other. Wondering, what do we do? Who is the first aider? How can we help our mate?

It wasn't until the area Supervisor heard the commotion and entered the area. He too appeared to be lost with what to do. After a period of time that felt forever, he used the site radio to call for assistance.

I desperately wanted to call 000 for help. However, the site rules did not permit visitors to enter the site with a mobile phone. Like I said earlier, all I could do was watch and cringe.

I wasn't close enough to hear the conversation on the 2-way radio, but it looked like there was a lot said, with little action to follow.

The sounds of the poor worker screaming in pain attracted my attention again. This is when a guy wearing a green helmet quickly ran into my view. He was one of the sites nominated first aiders.

As soon as he entered the area, he asked if an ambulance had been called. He shouted the question repeatedly in an attempt it seemed to snap the onlookers out of their dazed state.

A few people mumbled in response. The first aider then directed the Supervisor to call for an ambulance and to let them know a worker needs critical assistance due to loss of blood. 

The next 15 minutes were a blur, but I recall the worker being stretchered off the site into an ambulance to receive much needed medical attention. I often think about that injured worker today and wonder if he survived and if so, how his life might be today.

In my career as a Safety Professional, it is events like these that drive persistence to ensure company systems are not only developed, but monitored and reviewed. 

This would include conducting emergency drills regularly to test the system and ensure workers are prepared and efficient at emergency response.

How ready is your workplace to respond to an incident? And how do you ensure your procedures (e.g., banning mobile phones) do not inadvertently cause harm?


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