Automotive Manufacturing Plant Drives Well-Oiled Safety Plan
Stan Weber,* a 54-year-old robotic welder for Newman Technology Alabama, Inc., was on automatic pilot when he entered the break room before his shift. He doesn’t remember sitting down in the room crowded with co-workers between shifts.
All he remembers is his drive to work on a four-lane highway and thinking about how bad the cigarette he was smoking was for his health. Although he has no recollection, Stan did go to the break room. Then he went into sudden cardiac arrest.
Cardiac Arrest in Office
A first responder who happened to be in the room saw Stan experiencing a seizure and ran to alert Nathan Levan, the company’s environmental health and safety coordinator. Following protocol, the first responder immediately sent out a page to direct the other responders to the scene. Each shift has between 10 and 12 first responders on call for the 200,000-square-foot facility.
The well-prepared team went into action, assigning themselves roles to save Stan’s life. Nathan checked Stan’s pulse and found none. With the help of a colleague, he placed Stan on the floor and cut off his shirt. He then started cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) while another colleague ran to retrieve the ZOLL® AED Plus® around the corner. Someone else had already called 911, and another co-worker was positioned outside to direct the medics to Stan.
A group of five had gathered in the break room to administer CPR, rotating to keep the compressions high quality. “We know ineffective compressions are as bad as no compressions at all,” says Nathan, a former firefighter and certified American Red Cross training instructor. “ZOLL’s Real CPR Help® knew when we were getting ineffective, and coached us with prompts letting us know how we were doing with rate and depth of compressions.”
Unique to ZOLL, Real CPR Help guides rescuers to push hard enough and fast enough to meet current CPR guidelines with prompts such as “Push Harder.” After multiple rounds of CPR and two shocks, Stan came to. By the time the medics arrived, nine minutes into the rescue, Stan was talking.
According to statistics for cardiac arrest survival, the chance of survival decreases by 10% every minute following sudden cardiac arrest. After 10 minutes, a victim has little chance of survival. By having trained rescuers and an automated external defibrillator (AED) on-site, Stan was able to receive immediate aid to forestall potential brain damage or untimely death.
“It is imperative that manufacturing facilities have an AED as well as staff trained in CPR and the proper use of the AED,” says Nathan. “Companies must understand AEDs do make a difference in a life. Stan is with his family today because of the shocks and effective CPR. Without them, Stan’s family would have lost a husband and a father, and we would have lost a quality associate and good friend.”
Hardly any time was lost before Stan was back on the job producing exhaust pipes for automobiles. Five days after his sudden cardiac arrest, he underwent surgery to insert an implantable defibrillator. His cardiologist was able to review ECG and vital sign data the AED Plus had recorded during the incident to gain additional perspective on Stan’s situation.
Ironically, two days before the save, Nathan met with ZOLL to make sure the company’s two AEDs were in good working order and to discuss whether to add more AEDs to the facility. “I said it would take an event for us to consider more AEDs. After Stan’s save, I had to ask myself and I urge other companies to do the same, ‘Is it worth losing an associate for lack of a relatively inexpensive device?’ You can never replace a life for the cost of an AED.”
A day after Stan’s save, Newman Technology Alabama added two more AEDs to its facility for quicker access in the event of another cardiac arrest.
*The survivor’s name has been changed to protect his privacy.