Hurt by Helping

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When there is a crisis situation, often times we just want to do anything we can to help. However, we truly need to step back for just one moment and analyze the situation before jumping in. This scenario from a story in the Louisville Courier-Journal is repeated several times every year throughout the country and highlights that fact:

Worker at plant tried to help another - 8/6/2009

One of two workers hurt in a release of nitrogen at a Jeffersonville, Ind., steel plant Wednesday night was trying to help the other when he succumbed to the gas, a spokesman for the Indiana Department of Labor said Thursday.

The incident occurred at the Steel Dynamics Inc. facility just before 9:30 p.m., said Maj. Kevin Lindsey of the Jeffersonville Fire Department. One man was not breathing when he was found by emergency workers, but another was alert and conscious, he said.

Labor Department spokesman Sean Keefer said the first worker was in a confined area when he was overcome by the nitrogen and "unfortunately, someone else attempting to help got themselves in trouble, too."

The two men were taken to University Hospital, Lindsey said. Keefer said one man was treated and released and the other was admitted. He said he did not have their names or any further information about their conditions.

"We have someone on-site investigating what happened," Keefer said. "The hazard was controlled so there was no work stoppage at the plant."

Lindsey said it appeared the men were working on a 15-foot ladder when they were hurt.

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