The lifesaving power of our potash emergency response teams

Published: Jun 16, 2023


When the unforeseen strikes, the value of a well-prepared and reactive emergency response team cannot be overstated. No one expects to come to work and face a life-threatening event, but knowing that they have a reliable, trained team to be there for them and their coworkers when the unexpected happens goes beyond words.

Nutrien’s potash business unit emergency response teams (ERTs) have shown unwavering dedication and lifesaving skills over the past year, and have saved not one, not two, but five individuals’ lives. In the face of sudden workplace and community emergencies, Nutrien’s ERTs have risen to the challenge, embodying a culture of compassion, and have played a crucial role in creating a safe work environment to ensure people get home safely every day.

“Safety is one of our core values and our emergency response teams serve as a shining example of the organization's commitment to the well-being of its employees,” says Leon Boehm, General Manager, Cory. “Their ability to recognize and identify distress, coupled with their well-honed skills, ensure that they can respond quickly and effectively, saving lives and upholding the well-being of our employees and even those in the community.”

Recently, an incident unfolded at Nutrien’s Cory potash mine that demonstrates the exceptional capabilities of its ERT. A warehouse delivery person was operating a forklift in the underground warehouse when he experienced a life-threatening cardiac event. This individual’s colleagues noticed that the audible reverse beeper was sounding longer than usual. Their training and sharp observation skills prompted them to investigate further, leading them to discover their distressed co-worker slumped over in the forklift seat.

Quickly, they removed the individual from the seat, ensuring his safety, and immediately called for additional assistance. The team swiftly assembled, including Pat Roy a mine rescue member, who began administering CPR while requesting an automated external defibrillator (AED). This cohesive team dynamic ensures seamless collaboration during emergencies, allowing for quick decision-making and effective execution of response plans. The collaborative effort extended to bystanders and helpers who lent their support during this critical moment and within moments the AED delivered a shock that restored this individual’s heart rhythm. The individual was transported to the hospital by ambulance and is now making steps towards their recovery. 

These extraordinary responses over the last year were only possible due to the extensive training and preparedness of Nutrien’s ERT members. With a focus on continuous training and preparedness, Nutrien’s ERT members are equipped with the necessary skills to handle a wide range of emergency situations. Regular training sessions, covering topics such as first aid, firefighting techniques, confined space rescue and more, ensure that the team is equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to handle emergency situations with confidence.


“The diverse training keeps you fresh for any real-life scenario that can be thrown at you at work or at home, just like this incident in the warehouse,” says Pat Roy, Underground Electrician, Cory. “It helps you prepare for the unexpected and provides you with the skills of being able to act when you identify an individual in distress.”

While the ERTs primary focus is on responding to emergencies, Nutrien recognizes the potential psychological impact such incidents can have on its team members. Our commitment to our Culture of Care extends beyond the immediate response. Post-incident debriefings, access to mental health professionals and specialized training on coping with traumatic events are just a few of the measures in place to support the emotional resilience of the emergency response team and bystanders that may have witnessed one of these events.

“We remain dedicated to ongoing training, post-incident support and the continuous improvement of our emergency response capabilities,” says Trevor Hallborg, Safety Supervisor, Cory. “Our emergency response teams stand as a pillar of our safety commitment and it’s our responsibility to ensure that their psychological safety and well-being are also taken care of.”