Several quick-thinking employees who jumped right in one day and helped save the life of a fellow co-worker at H.M. White in Detroit, Michigan, were recognized with a SMOHIT Safety Matters Award for their heroic actions.
The Sheet Metal Occupational Health Institute Trust (SMOHIT) acknowledged the workers, all Local 80 members, for keeping Kevin Koslowski alive until help came. Koslowski had suffered a massive heart attack on the shop floor.
“Safety is at the top of the pyramid, but pyramids have broad shoulders,” said Chris Hulbert, president of SMACNA contractor H.M. White. “Training, tools, and technology are keys in our shops for safety and productivity. It’s stuff you thought you would never use until it happens and a guy falls.”
Nearly a victim of a “widow-maker” heart attack, Koslowski, who was 45, had been at work that day in October 2016 for just a few minutes. He hadn’t been feeling well that morning, but decided to come into work anyway. Thinking back on it, if he had stayed home, he may not have survived. He collapsed on the shop floor.
Luckily, Koslowski’s friends and co-workers had been trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and on how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED). John Frech performed CPR, Jay Jaszewski grabbed and applied the AED, and Joe Floyd made sure dispatch knew where paramedics could find them.
“It was a good reaction by everybody,” Hulbert noted.
They had the training and tools to save his life, because, Hulbert decided way back in 2001 to add AEDs to the fabrication shop. Two years later, Hulbert’s own boss suffered a heart attack in the office and died because the only person in the office at the time did not know how to use the machine.
“I lost my boss, and it hit me like a ton of bricks,” Hulbert said. “What good is a tool without training?”
Hulbert began implementing CPR and AED training throughout the company. In fact, just two weeks before Koslowski collapsed, 17 of his co-workers completed a CPR and AED training class. Now, AEDs are placed in multiple locations throughout the company and also in every trailer on the jobsite. Thankfully for Koslowski, the life-saving training came just in a nick of time.
“This is a prime example of how working together pays off,” said Randall Krocka, SMOHIT administrator.
For more safety and health resources, visit the SMOHIT website.