OSHA Honors Local Women for Life Saving Efforts

July 8, 2003
When billboard poster worker Isaac Lesman of LaSalle, Ill., responded to a dispatch requiring him to change a billboard in Peru, Ill., he didn't know he was walking into a life-threatening situation. Nor did he know that three strangers would save his life on July 15, 2002.

The Aurora, Ill. area office of OSHA recognized the efforts of Nancy Weberski, Rhonda Adamson and Jean Pfalsgraf, who found the 19-year old worker and helped save his life after his aluminum ladder was electrified by an overhead wire. OSHA recently presented the three with plaques honoring their efforts.

On the day of the incident, Lesman was carrying an aluminum ladder to the jobsite. He may never know whether the ladder actually touched an overhead power line &endash; or merely came close enough for it to send a power surge through his body due to electrical arcing. Fortunately for him, passing motorist Weberski saw Lesman fall on the side of the road in the parking lot of a local church.

She stopped immediately to help and was soon joined by Adamson, who searched unsuccessfully for a pulse for Lesman, who was not breathing. She initiated CPR and Pfalsgraf, also a passing motorist, stopped to help and noted that Lesman was turning gray each time there was a pause in breathing. Pfalsgraf immediately started rescue breathing while Adamson and Weberski teamed to give compressions, telling the young man to fight for his life.

When paramedics arrived, the three had managed to keep Lesman alive, although his breathing had stopped at least twice. Paramedics defibrillated Lesman twice before transporting him to the hospital, where rescue workers were too busy keeping him alive to immediately notice the two small marks on either wrist, which were entrance wounds from electricity, nor the three-inch long gash on the left side of his right foot, the exit wound.

Lesman is recovering from his injuries, which include physical and neurological damage.

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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