Twenty-two Washington heroes honored for saving lives on the job

September 26, 2023

TUMWATER — This year’s state Lifesaving Awards will honor Washington workers who performed CPR, saved someone from choking, recognized signs of a stroke and got help, and rescued someone from a car crash among other tales of commonplace heroism.

Twenty-two workplace heroes will be honored Wednesday, Sept. 27 for their inspiring stories of going above and beyond the call of duty while on the job to save a person’s life. The awards will kick off this year’s Governor’s Industrial Safety and Health Conference in Spokane.

In each case, the award winners acted quickly and compassionately to identify someone in jeopardy, assess the situation, and take action.

“When emergencies happen, whether in public or workplaces, people working nearby are often the first ones to help. Their quick actions can mean the difference between life and death,” said Craig Blackwood, assistant director for the Division of Occupational Safety & Health, Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I). “I’m inspired by their stories and reassured knowing there are workers like the people being honored who are willing to do what it takes to save a life.”

In one case, a social services specialist in Spokane was approached by a person who was concerned about the health of a baby they were taking care of. Without hesitation, the worker quickly removed the baby from the car seat, gently placed it on the office floor, and called 911. Following the operator's guidance, the worker performed CPR on the baby until medical professionals arrived. The baby survived. 

In another case, a student has a team of lifesavers from the Kennewick School District to thank for his life. They used a defibrillator machine on the student after his heart stopped beating in P.E. class. With a pacemaker and a new lease on life, the student returned to school and was able to play baseball in the spring. 

Lifesaving Award recipients are selected by a committee of business and labor representatives. To be eligible for this year’s Lifesaving Award, the heroic act must have occurred during work hours between June 1, 2022 and May 31, 2023 and the nominee must have performed hands-on aid. For law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and other similar professions, the lifesaving action cannot be part of their normal job responsibilities; it must be above and beyond the call of duty.

The Lifesaving Awards will be presented during the opening ceremony of the conference at the Spokane Convention Center beginning at 8:00 a.m.

The conference, sponsored by the Governor’s Industrial Safety and Health Advisory Board and L&I, includes safety demonstrations, workshops, and special events like the Pole Top Rescue Competition taking place over the lunch hour on the Riverside Lawn at the convention center.

For media information:

Dina Lorraine, L&I Public Affairs, 360-972-4868.

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