Workplace preparation saves life

City Image

An inspiring story from Penrice Soda Products has highlighted the importance of having the appropriate first aid qualifications and equipment in the workplace.

Penrice is a market leader in the supply of soda ash and sodium bicarbonate and limestone to domestic and export markets.

Based in Osborne and Angaston, Penrice is the sole manufacturer of soda ash and sodium bicarbonate in Australia. Its products are used in the glass manufacture, mining, food and medical care.

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Penrice, Guy Roberts, said that a recent incident at the company had changed many lives.

 “An employee at Penrice was working in an electrical switch room on our plant when he suffered a heart attack,” Mr Roberts said. 

 “A fellow employee and trained first aider was in the vicinity and immediately identified the symptoms and commenced CPR heart massage.” 

 Whilst doing this, he managed to radio the Control Room requesting backup support of other colleagues. 

 “Four other employees, trained in Occupational First Aid, attended to help after hearing the call.  As they were trained, they automatically took  the defibrillator to the scene even though the call out did not stipulate this need. Each employee then took a role in using the defibrillator, applying CPR and stabilising the victim.”

 In total, it took four minutes from the time the employee was first identified, to reviving him and putting him into the recovery position where they then waited for the emergency services to arrive.

 The medics who attended, and the doctors at the hospital, commended the efforts of the Penrice employees, specifically stating that without the immediate actions of trained first aiders, who were skilful and very brave, and the use of the defibrillator, the consequences may have been more dire.

 “These men saved the life of a colleague and friend. The significance of this cannot be overstated. We are extremely grateful, proud as is everyone who works here,” Mr Roberts said. 

“Many people commented that he was lucky he was at work when it happened because being at work literally saved his life.”

Mr Roberts said the incident confirmed the importance of having first aid training and a defibrillator in all work environments

“For industrial manufacturing sites such as ours, it is even more essential to have senior occupational first aid trained employees. St John conducts our training and we do it frequently as part of our standard training regime.

“Secondly, for the small investment in the cost of a defibrillator, you have the added security of being able to respond adequately in these circumstances. Every workplace should have one.”

Following the incident, the company immediately arranged a counsellor to attend the site and debrief with the individuals. There was also Company wide communication the next day.

Mr Roberts indicated that the employee is making a good recovery and they are happy for him to take as much time as necessary to ensure he is fit and healthy to return to the workplace.

Adelaide Office

Level 1
136 Greenhill Road Unley
South Australia 5061

P 08 8300 0000
F 08 8300 0001



Member of