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Making safety a habit

Celebrating safety during North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) Week 2014

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Submitted by Richard Weishaupt (Saskatoon, SK)

“No. That’s a person.”

Lauren Stead said these words aloud as she drove down Victoria Avenue in Saskatoon earlier this year. She was alone in the car, and a rapid succession of thoughts flooded her brain as she noticed – a pile of something? No, a garbage bag? – and finally made sense of what she was seeing. She pulled over.

The shape on the sidewalk turned out to be a woman. When Lauren got to her, she realized that the woman, although not really lucid, had begun calling 911. A second good Samaritan finished the call while Lauren assessed her condition. In the almost 15 minutes it took for paramedics to arrive, the woman had two more seizures. She stayed unconscious after the second and stopped breathing altogether. Lauren applied a few compressions and resuscitated the woman, saving her life.

When Lauren joined Stantec in 2013, we gained more than an archaeologist. She brought with her over 10 years of instruction with the Canadian Red Cross. Trained as a lifesaver and lifeguard since age 13, she went on to act as a Water Safety Instructor Trainer and First Aid & CPR Instructor. She now trains Stantec staff in Saskatchewan.

Still, she is taken aback by the event on the street. “All of this time – 15 years probably – working out in the field in what you would consider higher risk situations, nothing. The time I end up needing these skills is when I’m doing something that everybody does – going for groceries.”
***

Terry Steadman, a senior electrical designer in our Regina office, received his Standard First Aid/CPR/AED Level C certification as part of Stantec’s safety program in February of 2013. Almost exactly a year later, he was in Esterhazy, Saskatchewan, for a client meeting. After it wrapped up, Terry stopped at the local diner for lunch. “There were two old guys in there – I was one of them – and two women, one with a walker.”

As Terry read the paper, he noticed a bit of commotion with the women. One appeared to be in distress, in a choking pose. He approached the women and asked if they needed help. The choking woman’s friend said yes. She was attempting to perform the Heimlich maneuver without success, not having enough strength. Terry took over and it took three shots to dislodge the piece of food the woman was choking on.

“I knew what I had to do and did it immediately. It just came automatically,” Terry says. “I was glad that I was there and glad that I had the training.”
***
It seems fitting to tell these stories during North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) Week, May 4 – 10, particularly due to this year’s theme: Make Safety a Habit. Now in its eighteenth year, governments, employers and workers across the continent of North America will take time out from their normal activities to promote the importance of preventing injury and illness in the workplace and at home. The goal of NAOSH Week activities and events is to focus the attention of all stakeholders on this important topic and encourage them to equip themselves with tools, information and knowledge, educate each other with positive attitudes and behaviours that will convey commitment and confidence at work, at home and in the community.

As an employer, Stantec is committed to providing and maintaining a healthy and safe workplace and to responsibly managing all of the environmental aspects of its business. We celebrate NAOSH Week annually, and safety all year round. To see our team members extend this approach to the communities we work and live in is truly overwhelming. We are proud to work with such giving people who do the right thing at the right time. We know these actions go well beyond the three we’ve featured and are happy to thank each and every one of you for making safety a habit – in all aspects of your lives.

Richard Weishaupt is Stantec’s senior director of health & safety.

We are proud to work with such giving people who do the right thing at the right time.

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