DATE: February 26,
INCIDENT TYPE: Choking
TYPE OF WORK ACTIVITY:
THE ACCIDENT: Last
week during a lunch break, three employees were eating in the crew room.
As a normal practice, an employee took out some raisins, loosened them
up with a finger in the package, shook them into his hand, and threw
a handful of them into his mouth with his head back, as he had done
many times in the past. This time the results would be much different.
One of the raisins got lodged in the windpipe, in his throat. Knowing
there was something wrong he immediately stood up trying to get his
breath, which didn't happen. He went into the bathroom, put some water
into his hand thinking it may dislodge the blockage, but once again
that didn't work. He said he thought he would use the sink to give himself
the Heimlich maneuver, but was not sure if that would work, he was getting
From the crew room, another
employee heard some noises, and gasps for air that he knew were not
normal, which sounded like that employee was trying to get air. He walked
into the bathroom, looked in the mirror, saw that the employee's face
was red, and knew he was having problems breathing. He asked the employee
if he was all right. He couldn't talk but did shake his head no. He
thought the employee was ready to go down, so he grabbed him around
the waist, and made a couple of thrusts using the Heimlich maneuver.
He was a little too high the first couple of times, but moved his hands,
and arms down under his ribs, and thrust again. This dislodged the blockage,
and the employee was free to breathe normally again. This employee was
very thankful to his crewmember for his fast actions, and would like
his efforts to be recognized.
a discussion about the incident with the employees, they brought up
a very good point. We all do a lot of training for CPR, First Aid, Haz.
Mat, etc., and after taking these classes a few times we seem to attend
them, and just go through the motions. This incident reminded us all
that we should give some thought to the reason we are scheduled for
training, that the "other guy" may be you, and we all would like to
have a positive ending like we had in this emergency situation. The
"other guy" on this day was sure glad his co-worker was paying attention
in his first aid class.
review the following information on the Heimlich Maneuver:
The Heimlich Maneuver
A choking victim can't speak or breathe and needs your help immediately.
Follow these steps to help a choking victim:
- From behind, wrap your
arms around the victim's waist.
- Make a fist and place
the thumb side of your fist against the victim's upper abdomen, below
the ribcage and above the navel.
- Grasp your fist with
your other hand and press into their upper abdomen with a quick upward
thrust. Do not squeeze the ribcage; confine the force of the thrust
to your hands.
- Repeat until object is
Unconscious Victim, or when
Rescuer Can't Reach Around Victim: Place the victim on back. Facing
the victim, kneel astride the victim's hips. With one of your hands
on top of the other, place the heel of your bottom hand on the upper
abdomen below the rib cage and above the navel. Use your body weight
to press into the victim's upper abdomen with a quick upward thrust.
Repeat until object is expelled. If the Victim has not recovered, proceed
with CPR. The
Victim should see a physician
immediately after rescue.
Don't slap the victim's back.
(This could make matters worse.)