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ASSE’s Southwest Ohio Chapter Presents ‘The Buried Truth,’ to Put a Face on the Importance of Job Safety

Posted in , on Wed, Nov 2, 2011

DES PLAINES, IL (October
31, 2011) – In an effort to drive home the importance of workplace safety the
American Society of Safety Engineers’ (ASSE) Southwest Ohio Chapter will be host
to ‘The Buried Truth Uncovered’ program on November 15th, 16th,
and 17th, featuring Eric Giguere, a former construction laborer who was
buried alive in a six foot deep trench, and lived to share his story.

Giguere, who survived the October 4, 2002, incident,
delivers his message to ASSE’s Southwest Ohio
Chapter on three separate dates; November 15th, from 9:00 to 9:30 a.m.
at  Sheakley Corporate Offices in Cincinnati,
OH; November 16th, from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m. at the Oasis Conference
Center in Loveland, OH; and, November 17th, from  4:00 to 6:00 p.m. at Ticona Polymers, Inc. in
Florence, KY.

“As safety professionals we want to provide more exposure to
theses real-life stories and to show anyone who is involved in safety why it’s
so important,” said Mark Frye, ASSE’s Southwest Ohio Chapter President.

Since his accident, Giguere has travelled the country putting
a human face on the issue of workplace safety, in an effort to change behaviors
and attitudes towards the issue. Due to the impact he has made with businesses,
municipalities, government officials, and the general public through his
recollection of the events of that fateful day, his presentation continues to
be in demand.

Anyone in the safety profession, or who works in the
construction industry, whether they are a project manager, foreman, laborer, or
health and safety engineer is encouraged to attend.

Recently married at the time of his accident, Giguere who
had been working for five years as a laborer was on his first trenching job
installing a water pipe. He knew, and he said the rest of the crew on site knew
that the trench they were working on was not safe.

“We had started out with it being safe, but circumstances
from the job changed, and we never stopped to fix it and do it right,” Giguere
explained recently. “I was a bullet proof kid who thought this wasn’t going to
happen to me. It was a recipe for disaster.”

When the trench collapsed, it took crews 10 minutes to rescue
him. He was given CPR, and airlifted to a hospital, where family members were
prepared by medical personnel that he could either die, or suffer brain damage.

Just over nine years later, Giguere, who now owns Safety
Awareness Solutions in Geneva, NY, has worked to change the attitudes and lives
of many who have heard his story, which encourages workers to take personal
responsibility for their safety, and take the necessary steps that could save
their lives.

“I’m representing one great big near miss,” he explained,
adding that many others are not as fortunate as he was.

“I get messages all the time about people being killed in
trenches.”

In fact, according to a September, 2011,  report from the National Institute for
Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), 350 workers from 2000-2009 were killed
in trenching accidents or excavation cave-ins. This averages to 35 fatalities
per year. According to an analysis by OSHA, 64 percent of fatalities occurred
in depths of less than 10 feet, with the majority being caused by lack of a
proper protective system.

Giguere also stresses that his message about taking the
extra step for safety does not just apply to organizations that do trenching
work.

“It’s the same for the employee in the manufacturing
facility, or the power plant,” he said.

‘The Buried Truth
Uncovered’ is part of the Southwest Ohio Chapter’s annual ‘Give Back to the
Community’ effort, and is intended to bring valued information about workplace
safety to the entire Southwest Ohio chapter area.

For more information or to register please go to http://swohio.asse.org/events/.

ASSE’s Southwest Ohio Chapter’s mission is to provide value
and support to chapter safety professionals by providing a variety of services
that connect with them personally, show them that they are a part of a greater
movement and that they aren’t alone in the cause of safety and health in the
workplace.

Founded in 1911, the 100-year-old Des Plaines, IL-based ASSE is the
oldest professional safety society and is committed to protecting people,
property and the environment. Its more than 34,000 occupational safety, health
and environmental professional members lead, manage, supervise, research and
consult on safety, health, transportation and environmental issues in all
industries, government, labor, health care and education. For more information please
view ASSE’s ‘Celebrating a Century of Safety’ video at www.asse.org/newsroom.



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