TUMWATER — Real-life heroes and heroines sometimes work right alongside us and we don’t even know it. They might not wear capes and tights, but when there’s a workplace emergency their true identities are revealed by their quick, often life-saving actions.
There’s an opportunity to make sure those lifesaving heroes get honored and appreciated by nominating them for the 2020 Governor’s Lifesaving Awards. The Governor’s Industrial Safety and Health Advisory Board honors workplace heroes in Washington each year. Due to COVID-19 concerns, the 2020 awards will be presented individually. A digital presentation will air during the Virtual Governor’s Industrial Safety & Health Conference in September.
Some of last year’s honorees include a Metro-Transit driver who kept his cool after being shot in the chest by a man firing at a Metro bus. Instead of panicking, the driver, with at least a dozen passengers on board, backed down the street and then drove his passengers to safety. Another 2019 honoree was a quick-acting Department of Transportation employee who rescued a woman severely injured in a car crash. The woman had been ejected from her car and was face-down in a creek near a highway. The rescuer quickly called 911, and began CPR in the frigid water, saving her life.
People who know about heroes like these can help them get the recognition they deserve by nominating them for an award. Eligible incidents must have occurred during work hours and must have taken place between June 1, 2019 and May 31, 2020. This year’s deadline for nominations has been extended to July 31.
All workers covered by the state workers’ compensation system or by a self-insured employer are eligible. The nominee must have performed “hands-on” aid. For law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and other similar professions, the lifesaving action must be above and beyond the call of duty.
A humanitarian award is also available for people who, despite their best efforts, were unable to save the victim’s life.
Award recipients will be featured at the Governor’s Industrial Safety and Health Virtual Conference on September 22. The Governor’s Industrial Safety and Health Advisory Board and the Department of Labor & Industries sponsor the event.