Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 10:59 am
Employees at Mortenson Construction’s job site at the University Wisconsin campus in Madison sprang into action on Wednesday, Feb. 29 as the life of a colleague depended on it.
The company employees and a team of subcontractors were working on the Wisconsin Energy Institute project when, during an afternoon meeting, a 64-year-old sub-consultant suffered a non-work related medical emergency and collapsed with no pulse. Mortenson team members and other employees on site launched into the company’s emergency response plan. By the time paramedics had arrived the man had regained his pulse and consciousness. “Mortenson’s on-site team responded flawlessly in executing the life-saving measures needed while paramedics rushed to the scene,” said Richard Kinkade, division chief of Madison Fire Department. This situation should serve as a model in demonstrating the importance of emergency planning and on-site training.” Mortenson team members are trained in various aspects of safety and emergency response. The team on this specific job site was able to call 911, begin chest compressions and use the emergency automated external defibrillator (AED), before the paramedics arrived. According to Brad King, project superintendent at Mortenson Construction and specifically this job site, all emergency procedures are reviewed on the first day and practice emergency drills are organized throughout the duration of the project. “Our company places strong emphasis on safety and emergency preparation,” King said. Mortenson project team members are required to attend Accident Investigation Training as well as Crisis Management classes. All team members receive First Aid and CPR certifications as well as AED and Blood Borne Pathogen Courses. “Our goal is never to have to use this training, but Wednesday, all of our preparation and training paid off, and we saved a man’s life – you can’t put a value on that,” King said. Mortenson employees are required to complete 160 hours of continuing education in their first year of employment with the company, 84 of those hours are education on safety and 14 of those are on emergency rescue training. Certifications must be renewed every other year. “It’s not optional,” said Mel Langlais, Wisconsin group safety director at Mortenson. “All of our employees from job site foreman all the way up to the president and CEO are required to be prepared the same way. That’s something our company has always valued, it takes a significant initial investment to train all of these employees, but in situations where it’s needed that investment always pays off.” According to Langlais this was the second non work related cardiac issue in the last six months at this job site, but this was the first time where the portable AED actually had to be used. The man who collapsed on the job site has a few cracked ribs from the chest compressions, but is doing well overall, Langlais said. “I was actually on the job site (yesterday) and the employee on site who had issued the chest compressions got a call on his cell phone from the man who had collapsed,” Langlais said. “He wanted to thank the man who had helped save his life. I think he’ll be taking it easy for a while, but for now he’s doing ok.” Mortenson has offices in Madison, Milwaukee, Chicago, Denver, Colo. Minneapolis, Minn., Phoenix, Ariz., and Seattle, Wash., with international operations in Toronto, Canada and Shanghai, China.