Medical department

at our production facility in Spain

Date: 31. August 2020

The health and safety of our employees is of vital importance to us. That is why we have set ourselves the goal of minimizing the risk of workplace accidents at our 13 RONAL GROUP production sites. If an employee is ill, unwell or injured, the medical department at each plant is there to look after our colleague. But what happens in the event of an unforeseen incident, like the one at our plant in Spain at the beginning of the year?

At our Spanish production facility in Teruel, an employee in the paint shop suffered a heart attack during the night shift. Until the ambulance arrived, a group of colleagues from the same department performed a heart massage and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. According to the doctors who arrived half an hour after the emergency call, the intervention and commitment of our staff saved this worker’s life.

We took this opportunity to ask our local medical department about their tasks and the courageous act of their colleagues.

Mercy and Cristina, how long have been working for the RONAL GROUP and what are your daily tasks at the plant?

I have been working at RONAL Ibérica as a company doctor since November 2019.

I have been working for the company as a qualified nurse since April 2018.

The daily tasks that we perform in our practice here include blood pressure measurement and monitoring of workers with hypertension, administration of vaccinations, first aid for wounds and burns and their further monitoring, application of compression and immobilization bandages, removal of foreign bodies from the eyes, scheduling of annual medical examinations in cooperation with the external health monitoring service, administrative matters in the field of health, replacement/refilling of first aid kits and checking the AEDs  (automated external defibrillator).

What problems do employees usually come to you with?

One of the most frequent causes for visiting our practice are muscle injuries due to overexertion. That is why we organize posture awareness and stretching workshops, which are held by a physiotherapist who performs stretching exercises for half an hour and explains to employees how to avoid injuries while doing their work. This kind of event is very popular with the employees.

Thanks to the preventive measures and the health monitoring team, the number of accidents at work is constantly decreasing, but there are still a few isolated cases. On the other hand, the company’s medical service is playing an increasingly important role among employees, who come to us not only in an emergency, but also to find out what they can do to improve their health and how to avoid dangerous situations.

What do you like best about your work? What are the main challenges?

What we like best about our work is the ability to help workers in emergency situations and to help prevent situations that are hazardous to their health.

In our opinion, the main challenges of the medical service are to minimize the damage after possible incidents during working hours and to build a relationship of trust with the employees so that they see the service as an ally within the company.

What do you think about the intervention of your colleagues during the night shift?

That was a true heroic act and they showed real leadership. In such situations, many people tend to freeze and do nothing, unlike our employees who immediately provided expert first aid and performed CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), saving their colleague’s life. Without their action, the consequences could have been fatal.

Are employees regularly trained in order to be prepared for this type of situation?

At our location, employees are regularly trained in first aid and in the use of semi-automatic defibrillators. We also have five semi-automatic reanimation devices at the company’s two plants, which can be used immediately if necessary, as was the case here.

At the time of the heart attack, five colleagues from the paint shop were on site (Fernando, 25 years at RONAL, responsible for the paint shop; José, 20 years at RONAL; David, 20 years at RONAL; Joshua, 6 months at RONAL; and Ángel, 2 years at RONAL) as well as a maintenance technician (Manuel, 8 months at RONAL). We also interviewed the colleagues involved:

How did you experience the situation?

We were nervous, but we knew exactly what to do.

Did you know immediately that you had to act and help?

We recognized the signs of a heart attack right away and acted according to the first aid protocol.

Antonio, the worker who suffered the heart attack, talks to us on the phone:

I am eternally grateful to my colleagues! It is thanks to their quick action and courage that I am still alive. I know you saved my life, buddies!

These pictures were taken before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.