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Local man recognized as ‘lifesaver’

ATV crash required CPR at work site

— A local man has earned the Governor’s Lifesaving Award for helping an injured co-worker who overturned his all-terrain vehicle this summer.

Jose Diaz, who works for Pateros-based AgriMACS in Richland, was one of 40 men and women around the state to receive the honor this week from the state Department of Labor and Industries.

During the late July incident, an employee doing irrigation work in the Badger Mountain area on an 800-acre orchard and vineyard hit a pile of gravel while driving an ATV, which then overturned and landed on top of him, according to the Department of Labor and Industries.

Although he was wearing a helmet, the employee was knocked unconscious when he crashed, AgriMACS Vice President Tom Gausman said.

Diaz, who supervises a crew of workers with disabilities, was the first to find the injured man. He checked the man’s vital signs and determined he wasn’t breathing, then performed CPR for two to three minutes until the man began breathing on his own.

“Thanks to Jose’s quick action, his co-worker’s life was saved that day,” the state department said.

As a supervisor, Diaz was required to become first aid certified, Gausman said.

“Especially in regards to Jose’s actions, we were very proud of him for what he was able to do under a lot of pressure,” he said. “It was pretty amazing, actually, that he was able to think clearly and put some of that training to use.”

Gausman said the injured employee has since made a full recovery and has been on light duty at the orchard.

The Lifesaving Award winners were acknowledged Wednesday at the 62nd Governor’s Industrial Safety and Health Conference in Tacoma.

Diaz did not attend, Labor and Industries spokeswoman Elaine Fisher said.

Diaz could not be reached for comment before press time.

A committee comprised of business and labor representatives selected this year’s award recipients. Other winners included employees who used their CPR/AED training to help others in life-threatening situations. Forty people were honored with awards this year.

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