Safety and OSHA News

Choosing the best first responders

How do you choose people on your staff to be first responders? A safety manager for an Illinois company found a way to make sure employees were up for the job.

Contributed by Tom Hess, Safety Manager, Toll Packaging Group, Gibson City, IL.

Our safety program required that we have first responders. That wasn’t a problem in itself — I’d never have any lack of people who wanted to be first responders.

But here was the question: If employees never had any experience with emergency rescue, how would I know the volunteers would react properly in a real emergency?

I got the answer to my question by inviting some guest speakers to our monthly plant-wide safety meetings.

Over the years, I’ve used all sorts of experts who are here, right in our community, to provide expert lessons during our safety meetings.

They included representatives from our fire extinguisher provider and our workers’ comp insurance carrier.

So to address the employees who thought they wanted to be our first responders, I asked some paramedics from the local ambulance service to come in and speak.

They face the types of emergencies on a regular basis that our first responders would be called upon for.

Bringing in someone who faced emergencies on a daily basis created a new awareness for my volunteers.

After hearing from the paramedics, some employees decided maybe they weren’t the best candidates for the job because they couldn’t imagine doing some of the things the paramedics had to do.

After I brought in the guest speakers, I had my answer. I knew our first responders had a better idea of the types of situations they might encounter.

As a result, our company realized one more benefit from inviting outside speakers to our safety meetings.

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  1. I established a safety committee for our company to discuss about safety issue and work place accident prevention. I can tell you that the best people in the committee are the line staff. They are the ones who know every little shortcut that might have caused accident. However, when choosing them, you must acknowledge the fact that they must be those people that have influence in their department. This is how the message got across and people stay safe at work.

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