Saving Lives at the World Trade Center

Quick thinking on the part of his OSHA colleagues saved Frank Ufert's life on September 11. Wheelchair-bound after a recent stroke, OSHA staffer Ufert was in the Manhattan Area Office on the 8th floor of World Trade Center Building 6 when the first tower was attacked. Debris began raining past windows and falling on the roof of the building. Knowing they'd never be able to carry Ufert down eight flights of stairs in time to escape the threat, OSHA staffers Mike Mabee and Victor Courvertier, along with retiree Lou Willard, hustled Ufert to the freight elevator and headed for the basement at the ground level. Pushing Ufert's wheelchair, the three friends raced through the parking garage and then eventually north toward safety. Their concern for Ufert and speedy response to the tragedy ensured that all OSHA staffers made it out of the building safely.

On October 8, timely intervention by a safety monitoring team prevented yet another tragedy at the World Trade Center disaster site. The safety team asked firefighters working under a steel beam being lifted off the rubble pile to move out of harm's way. Shortly after they came out from under the load, the beam failed and sheared off, narrowly missing the last firefighter to step out of reach.

Being 1,800 miles from New York City didn't stop OSHA staffers Van Howell (Boise, Idaho) and Dave Mahlum (Seattle, Washington) from responding to the Trade Center tragedy on September 11. In Denver for training, the two men organized a blood drive among the students and faculty at the OPM Training Center-including bus transportation to the donation center. As a result, 60 pints of blood were on their way to the East Coast.