On-Site Medical Team Providing Lead Battery Employees with Award-Winning Care
The lead battery industry holds a core belief that a safe, clean and healthy workplace is imperative for all operations. East Penn Manufacturing has been at the forefront of making that a reality, by maintaining an on-site employee medical center since 1993.
Recently, that care literally saved lives when two employees experienced unrelated life-threatening health episodes within a 24-hour period. Thanks to the quick-thinking of nearby coworkers and the medical team, everyone recovered. East Penn is sharing the full story, during Safe + Sound Week 2022.
NOTE: This is the third of three blogs devoted to the safety culture of the essential lead battery industry, which employs nearly 26,000 people across the U.S. Read the first blog on how Stryten Energy is protecting its “industrial athletes.” Second in the series highlights the creativity Crown Battery uses to engage employees in workplace safety. We hope you’ve enjoyed our Safe + Sound Week 2022 series.
Policies, Professionals Protect Entire Team
East Penn Manufacturing Company is headquartered in Lyon Station, Pennsylvania. The private, family-owned company operates the largest single-site lead battery manufacturing facility in the world. Foremost, the company strives to create a sense of familial caring, starting with rigorous policies aimed at protecting the health and safety of every employee.
Central to that commitment is an on-site medical center staffed by three doctors and 11 registered nurses. Together, they care for more than 7,000 employees across East Penn’s sprawling 490-acre campus. The convenient center offers comprehensive screening and prevention, including a range of services such as blood tests, flu shots and physicals.
“Healthcare Heroes” Save Lives, Win American Red Cross Award
In May of 2022, several East Penn Manufacturing employees were awarded the title “Healthcare Heroes” by the Berks County American Red Cross. This was following a 24- hour period last August when the medical professionals went far beyond routine care and despite the good outcome hope to never repeat the experience..
- Crisis One Last August, a third-shift employee felt short of breath. The foremen had him sit down, and nurses Bryanna Rabut, Marissa Swanson and assistant Julie Carver-Phung were called to assist. The worker was holding his chest tightly. A moment later, he was unconscious and fell backward while being assessed by the medical team. They immediately began compressions and shocked him with an on-site AED (automated external defibrillator), bringing him back to life, as health and safety tech Brian Whitmas guided EMS paramedics to the patient. Today, he has recovered and is back at work.
But that was just the beginning of a wild 24 hours.
- Crisis Two At the start of the next shift, an employee fell off a forklift and sustained an injury on his head. He had no pulse. A coworker immediately began CPR. Nurse Jennifer Yashur and medical assistant Jennifer Birch set up another AED. Nurses Shelby Hetrick and Brittany Russo were there to provide a CPR break, as they waited for the EMS crew to arrive. Many months and one pacemaker later, he has recovered well and is back on the job.
For these actions, East Penn employees were named 2022 American Red Cross Heroes in Berks County Pennsylvania. [Watch this local TV news report.] East Penn was also recognized as a Workplace Wellness Hero by the Lehigh Valley Business newspaper.
Creating a Safety Culture Through Prevention
The lynchpin of East Penn’s safety culture is the company’s global health and safety management system (HSMS). It includes comprehensive procedures to prevent injury and reduce exposure to workplace hazards, along with extensive training, frequent safety audits, and regular health-monitoring programs. The system covers all employees, including temporary workers at all global manufacturing locations.
The Lead Battery Industry: Being Safe and Sound Year Round
As Safe + Sound Week 2022 comes to a close, we thank all members of Battery Council International and the lead battery manufacturing and recycling community for their commitment to creating a safe, clean and healthy workplace. We especially recognize East Penn Manufacturing for its stellar on-site medical center and all the healthcare heroes for making employee health and safety a top priority.