A little over a year ago, four ordinary DMI employees became heroes when their reactions to an incident resulted in saving the life of a co-worker.
Before the start of a shift in Monongahela, Pennsylvania, on February 22, 2021, an employee lost consciousness. Ronnie Vall immediately called “Code Red” over the paging system to signal the first responders. The employee regained consciousness shortly after the call, and the majority of the first responders were waived off. However, the employee passed out again moments later, setting off a chaotic 24 minutes until the ambulance arrived.
Joe Pusatere analyzed the situation and immediately called 911, rallied for help, and cleared a path for emergency services. At this time, Vall and Rafael Delao began administering CPR, taking turns as necessary. Charlie Blaniar assisted as he prepped the scene and kept the employee’s airway open. Pusatere then rushed to get the AED and began prepping it for use. A police officer arrived on the scene and took over chest compressions. After a few minutes, the officer became fatigued and passed CPR back to Vall. Nearly a half-hour later, the ambulance arrived and took the employee away. In the end, the AED ended up not being necessary and was not used.
Later, both the paramedic and treating doctor called DMI to tell us that the actions our employees took saved their co-worker’s life.
After this story was submitted to the American Red Cross, the four employees were submitted for a national award that was signed off on by the President of the United States. The award ceremony where they received a certificate, pin, and medallion had to be performed virtually due to COVID-19. Additionally, their names as award recipients can now be found in the national archives. From the start of this award in 1911 until the present day, there have been a little over 1,000 awards received. DMI had a plaque created to recognize these individuals that can be found in the Monongahela office lobby.
As this story is revisited for National Safety Month, it’s important to look back on incidents such as this one to determine the effectiveness of companies’ safety plans and policies. At DMI, employee safety and wellness are our number one priority. Because of this, DMI strives to create an accident-free workplace and promote safety across all aspects of DMI through the implementation of a comprehensive and effective health and safety plan that endeavors to eliminate unsafe conditions and minimize the impact of hazardous situations.
In each DMI facility, there are a variety of trained and certified first responders to act in emergencies during every shift. DMI employees can become certified first responders by attending the American Red Cross first aid, CPR, AED, and bloodborne pathogen training provided by the company once every other year. Certifications through the American Red Cross last for two years. After becoming certified, each first responder will receive their own emergency kit at their desk or station to use when needed.
Recently, Safety Manager Nicholas Dadig conducted a safety training on diabetes in the workplace so that DMI’s first responders and supervisors will be prepared in the event of a diabetic emergency. The training covered the definition of diabetes and its types, the problems associated with it, and how to react to these problems in an emergency. Additionally, all DMI first responders now have a glucose gel packet added to their kit.
Another step DMI has taken to ensure that its employees are prepared in an emergency is conducting yearly incident drills so that these practical exercises become second nature to DMI first responders. Safety protocols are also discussed during every new hire orientation to ensure every employee has the basic information they need.
Nobody plans on an incident occurring, but it’s always important to be prepared and ready to deal with an emergency when it happens. DMI recognizes this and will continue to develop its safety protocols to ensure employee safety and wellness.