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Working Safer with JHA’s (Job Hazard Analyses)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

By Roco Chief Instructor Pat Furr

A Job Hazard Analyses (JHA) is a very effective tool that most every employer should consider incorporating into their safety management program. This tool, otherwise known as a Job Safety Analyses (JSA) or Risk Assessment (RA) is a process that identifies workplace hazards, and then spells out means to eliminate, control, or provide protection to employees from the identified hazards. Once completed, the JHA can then be used as both a training tool and a pre-task safety checklist. There are a variety of formats that can be used to create an effective and logical JHA.

However, the JHA should become a living document that may require frequent updating as the work process, tools, work environment, safety legislation, and the workforce changes. Even if these factors do not change, the JHA should be reviewed periodically to ensure that it’s still current and still applicable to the job or task.


“The goal of the JHA is to identify workplace hazards and take corrective action BEFORE an incident occurs.”

The preparation of a JHA should be a collaborative effort between safety personnel and front line workers. It’s often the front-line worker who can provide valuable insight into the specific tasks involved as well as provide solutions to the most common hazards. Of course, it’s always vitally important to have a safety professional intimately involved with the process to ensure that input provided works hand-in-hand with established company policy and any legislated safety requirements. By involving front line workers, they will feel like they had valuable input to the process, which is very true by the way.

Whatever format that you choose, it’s important to develop your JHA in a logical, easy-to-use manner. Here are some guidelines:
1. Identify the hazards.

  • This may be obvious based on any history of accidents or near misses.
  • Interview front line workers to hear their concerns.
  • Evaluate the workplace to ensure it is in compliance with legislated and consensus safety standards.
  • Brainstorm with workers to dig deeper into the subtle or overlooked hazards. Break the work process down into individual steps or tasks to help uncover any obscure hazards.
2. Determine the consequences of exposure to the hazard and any contributing factors or triggers. It may be helpful to develop a ranking system based on a variety of factors.

  • Describe the likely outcome of exposure to the hazard.
  • Does the hazard have the potential to harm multiple employees?
  • How likely is the hazard to cause harm?
  • How quickly will exposure to the hazard cause harm?
  • Rank the hazards in terms of the most severe in order to determine which hazards must be given priority attention!
3. What protective measures are available to prevent the hazard from causing harm?

  • Can the hazard be eliminated?
  • Example: Eliminate fall hazards by bringing the work to the ground.
  • Can the hazard be controlled? Example: Install machine guards on rotating parts
  • Finally, if the hazard cannot be eliminated or controlled, what personal protective equipment (PPE) is required to protect the worker?
JHA’s can be very simple or very complex. The goal, however, is to find a balance between overburdening the worker with exhaustive paperwork and a document that is so lacking in detail that it is essentially useless. My experience is that the JHA should be just detailed enough to provide a succinct means to identify the hazards of the task, or the various steps of the task, predict the consequences of exposure to the hazard, and to provide a hierarchical means to protect the worker from the hazard. I like to keep the JHA simple and concise as it tends to encourage the worker to think into the situation and make – for lack of a better term- a “real time evaluation of the hazard.”

Remember, the JHA (JSA, RA) should be considered a living document that is updated to reflect any changes. It should also be an easy-to-use tool that workers and management can employ to identify hazards, rank the hazards in terms of their potential consequences, and provide an escalating hierarchy to abate the identified hazards. These documents should also be retained for a period of time because they may be useful in investigating any accidents after the fact.

Workers are injured every day on the job. JHA’s can be very useful for discovering, preventing or even eliminating some hazards from your workplace. At minimum, the process is likely to result in fewer injuries, more effective work methods, and increased worker productivity. What’s more, a simple, step-by-step JHA can be a valuable tool in training new workers to do their jobs more safely and effectively.
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New Items for Your Rescue Toolbox: SKED® Cobra Buckle Update

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Reviewed by Pat Furr, Roco Chief Instructor/Technical Consultant

Cobra™ quick connect buckles are offered as a special order on new Sked® and as a retrofit kit for Sked® you already have. For users of the SKEDCO flexible litter, there is good news.  The SKED® Litter can now be ordered with Cobra™ quick connect buckles. Or you can order a Cobra™ Buckle Retrofit Kit for your original SKED®.

The uses of the new quick connect buckle system cuts the victim packaging time in about half.  The buckles are each rated at 3,000 pounds and require a dual action to release which provides a high level safety.

The price of the SKED® is a bit higher with the Cobra™ buckles; however, you do get everything you pay for with these buckles. They dramatically speed up the patient packaging because of the ease of using them. And, as rescuers, we're always looking for ways to evacuate our patients in a quicker and more efficient way.
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New Items for Your Rescue Toolbox: Petzl ID

Thursday, July 19, 2012

By Pat Furr, Roco Chief Instructor/Technical Consultant

OK, who has not had the opportunity to use the Petzl ID? The ID is one of the most versatile bits of rescue hardware that I have in my kit. It comes in both NFPA G and L(*) rated versions and provides the closest thing to a “Jack of all Trades” capability that I can think of.

It was originally designed as an evolutionary improvement to the Petzl Stop and Gri Gri and as its name suggests, it was intended to be an “Industrial Descender” thus ID.

In very short order it became apparent that this device could do so much more than provide an auto stop capability during rappels.

The "auto stop" feature also acts as an instant progress capture, or ratchet while pulling rope through the device in the direction opposite that it was designed to control friction. This feature provides the option of using the ID as the first change of direction and ratchet in mechanical advantage systems. Granted, the bobbin of the ID is not nearly as efficient as a true pulley, but the efficiency gained by having virtually every fraction of an inch of progress captured and the ease of changing over from a haul to a lower far outweighs any efficiency loss at the bobbin.

My go-to system for situations where I need to change over from lowers to hauls, or from hauls to lowers, is the ID with the addition of a cam, a biner, and a pulley (Omni-Block), which gives me an easily assembled 3:1 Z-Rig. If I need more MA ratio, I just use a double sheave pulley at the load end and an additional single sheave pulley at the anchor end -- now I've got a 5:1 MA.

In addition to the use of the ID as the foundation of MA systems, it can also be used for short ascents, and the manufacturer is now allowing it to be used as a belay device. The ID-L still retains the quick load side plate that allows it to remain anchored while loading or unloading the rope from the device.

If you have an extra 5 minutes, watch this video where Roco Director of Training, Dennis O'Connell shares some tips about using the Petzl ID as a part of your confined space rope rescue equipment kit.

(*) Note: The 2012 edition of NFPA 1983 has changed its Light Use (L) designation to Technical Use (T).

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New Items for Your Rescue Toolbox: SureClip™ Rescue Pole System

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

By Pat Furr, Roco Chief Instructor/Technical Consultant

When doing our "risk vs. benefit" analysis, we always want to limit the exposure of our rescuers to the lowest level of risk practical. The SureClip™ telescopic rescue pole is one tool that can do just that. This system provides a means to make a remote attachment to a suspended or otherwise isolated victim (such as confined spaces) while minimizing risk to the rescuer.

This system is especially effective in attaching rescue systems to fallen workers that are suspended from their personal fall arrest systems. By eliminating the need to put a rescuer “on line” to make contact with the victim, this system reduces the risk to the rescue team members. The SureClip™ universal head is designed to hold a variety of auto locking carabiners in the open position and mount on a standard telescopic pole that provides from 8 to 25 feet of reach depending on the model.

For more information on this handy device, contact Roco at 800-647-7626. Or, for technical assistance, ask for Pat Furr or one of our other knowledgeable instructors.
      
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New Items for Your Rescue Toolkit

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

"If it's been a while since you've updated your rescue equipment kit or attended a rescue class, you may not be aware of some of the newer pieces of rescue gear that not only make your job safer, but make it easier and more efficient as well. The last decade has seen an explosion of emerging technologies that have allowed the design and manufacture of some really exciting and practical equipment. In the coming weeks, we will be reviewing some of the newer gear that you may not have had the opportunity to work with. Hopefully, this will provide the stimulus for you to get out there and find out what else you may be missing out on." Pat Furr, Roco Chief Instructor/Technical Consultant




The Omni Block Swiveling Pulley

This first item is one of my personal favorites. There is a story behind it, but I will have to save that for a time when we may meet out in the field. The Omni-Block Swiveling Pulley, designed by Rock Thompson of Rock Exotica, combines some unique features that save time and weight while increasing the efficiency of virtually every type of pulley system. CMC's version of this pulley -the CMC Prusik-Minding Swivel Pulley- meets NFPA G rating.

The feature of the Omni-Block that I think is as important as the built-in swivel is the "quick release side plate." This proprietary design allows the rope to be loaded andunloaded into the pulley without having to remove the pulley from the anchor. Depending on the application, this provides a new level of ease for systems incorporating temporary directional pulleys, and really reduces the chance that gear may be dropped. This is especially important for rescuers that are building systems while at height, such as with tower rescue operations.

The swivel feature has proven to be a huge improvement that eliminates the need for an additional separate swivel and additional carabiner, thus saving weight and expense. But the true benefit of the swivel, in addition to eliminating side-plate chaffing, is that any twists inadvertently built into an MA system practically spin out on their own once the system is loaded. For the rare occasions that twists do not spin out on their own, it's just a matter of quickly rotating the pulley manually to remove any twists.

Again, stay tuned, as we continue to review some of the newer pieces of rescue gear in the coming weeks.
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LAFD promotes Confined Space Awareness

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

“It is our experience that the victims, would-be rescuers, and co-workers either fail to adhere to their emergency plans or simply do not have a plan in place, with catastrophic results... In the last year alone, we have responded to three confined space rescues.”- Battalion Chief Jack Wise of the Los Angeles Fire Department

Joint Effort for Confined Space Awareness Education


The California Department of Industrial Relations' Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) joined forces March 28 with the Los Angeles Fire Department to urge employers and employees to prepare properly for working in confined spaces. Officials from both agencies participated in a news conference where LAFD personnel gave a confined space rescue demonstration and potential hazards were explained.

Cal/OSHA launched a statewide confined space education and awareness campaign in February after seven confined space deaths and numerous injuries in 2011. Illustrating the variety of industries where confined spaces are common, those deaths occurred at a Fortune 500 pharmaceutical facility, a winery, a paint manufacturing plant, and a recycling center.

“Today's event with the Los Angeles Fire Department helps raise awareness of the hazards associated with working in confined space environments and the need for employers to have an effective emergency response plan in place before a critical situation arises,” DIR Director Christine Baker said. “As a national leader in workplace safety, Cal/OSHA is working with labor, employers, and public safety officials to eliminate this type of preventable fatality in the workplace.”

Some of the 2011 fatalities involved potential rescuers attempting to aid someone who had collapsed in a confined space. “These confined space deaths and serious injuries were all preventable had safety practices been in place. It is even more tragic that, in many cases, workers attempting to rescue their co-workers also fall victim,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Ellen Widess. “Confined spaces can be deceptively dangerous. Employers need to assess if they have such a hazard, identify and mark those spaces, [and] provide employee and supervisor training and on-site rescue plans and equipment.”

Cal/OSHA has posted extensive information about confined space hazards on its website at http://ohsonline.com/articles/2012/03/30/la-fire-department-boosts-confined-space-awareness.aspx
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Roco CEO Honored at 2012 Influential Women in Business Banquet

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Roco Rescue's president and CEO, Kay Goodwyn was recognized at the 2012 Influential Women in Business Awards yesterday. The annual event, sponsored by the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report, recognizes female business leaders who demonstrate exemplary business accomplishments and a dedication to their work, their communities, and the world.

For the past 30 years, Roco Rescue has thrived under her leadership. Perhaps because Goodwyn truly lives the mission: providing the highest quality rescue training, equipment, and services –while treating customers with courtesy, honesty, and respect.

Goodwyn is dedicated to her staff, her associates, and the thousands of students that Roco Rescue has trained and equipped throughout her tenure.

The awards banquet was held at the Crown Plaza on June 5, 2012. In attendance were a core group of female friends and fans who consider Kay L. Goodwyn a mentor and friend. She was also featured in the Business Report's cover story, which can be read here.

From all of us who know and love her, a great big congratulations KG. It's about time the community took notice of your incredible strength, talent and heart. For all the lives that have been touched and SAVED because you are in the world, we thank you!
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SKED Procedural Change with Cobra Replacement Buckles

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Here at Roco, we have recently discovered a minor issue when the SKED stretcher is updated with Cobra buckles. The Cobra buckle replacement system is attached by girth-hitching the components into the grommets. The girth hitch takes up more room in the grommets than the sewn loop that was previously used. This makes it more difficult to pass the vertical bridle rope through the grommet holes that we’re accustomed to using.

Skedco was contacted and has approved the following alternative method (see photo). After tying a square knot at the bottom of the SKED, bring the tail ends of the rope back up and pass them through the bottom grommet hole of the handles before tying the second square knot. Note: “Handle” holes may be used with the old style buckle system.

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New Study: Relying on Municipal Rescuers for Confined Space Response

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A study on the “reliance of municipal fire departments for confined space response” has been funded by a legal settlement following the deaths of two workers in a confined space incident in California.Research by the University of California, Berkeley, indicates that employers may be relying too heavily on local fire departments for confined space rescue.

These findings indicate that local fire departments may not have the resources to provide the specialized training needed for confined space rescue, especially when "response and rescue" times are such critical factors.


Key Points from Study


•  Confined space incidents represent a small but continuing source of fatal occupational injuries;

•  A sizeable portion of employers may be relying on public fire departments for permit-required confined space response; and,

•  With life-threatening emergencies, fire departments usually are not able to effect a confined space rescue in a timely manner.


Municipal Response Statistics


The study includes some very interesting statistics about fire department response times, rescue times, and capabilities. It also shows that rescue times increase dramatically when hazardous materials are present. For example, according to the report, fire department confined space rescue time estimates ranged from 48 to 123 min and increased to 70 and 173 min when hazardous materials were present.

According to the report, “estimates made by fire officers show that a worker who experiences cardiac arrest, deprivation of cerebral oxygen, or some other highly time-critical, life-threatening emergency during a confined space entry will almost certainly die if the employer’s emergency response plan relies solely on the fire department for rescue services.”

Researchers proposed that a more appropriate role for fire departments would be to support a properly trained and equipped on-site rescue team and to provide life support following a rescue.

Information excerpted from, “Confined Space Emergency Response: Assessing Employer and Fire Department Practices,” by Michael P. Wilson, Heather N. Madison & Stephen B. Healy (2012). This study was published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (Feb 2012) and is available for purchase from Taylor & Francis Online.

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Mechanical Advantage Systems: How Strong?

Friday, May 11, 2012

In this and upcoming articles, we want to give you an idea of the actual forces that are put on M/A systems versus theoretical forces that you may read about. What’s the difference?

With theoretical, we’re referring to the amount of force that is “supposed” to be produced, while the actual is just that…the actual amount of force that is produced when the system is built and operated.

For example, calculating the force if you built  a 3:1 mechanical advantage “on paper” (theoretically) versus physically building the system. With the actual system, you would have to consider the friction loss created by the system components, so the “actual M/A” may be 2.5:1 with the same 3:1 system.

We decided to do some informal testing out at the Roco Training Center with the assistance of some of our students. The systems were tested as they are generally used in the field. The numbers shown are an average of the tests we conducted. The average is from a random sample of 10 to 20 tests using the same equipment and set up. We used a Dillon 25,000 lbf dynamometer with an error factor of +/-20 lbf. Note: These test numbers are designed as a reference only and should not be used as exact force data.

Test #1: Straight-line Pull

Student Set-up: Students were asked to pull on the line in a horizontal plane and exhibit as much force as they could without tugging/jerking the line. They were then asked to maintain that tension and tug/jerk the line.

Equipment Set-up: 12-ft of 1⁄2” PMI rope tied with a Figure 8 knot and attached to the dynamometer by two 2-ft pieces of 1” basket-looped webbing and two auto-locking steel carabiners to a rigid anchor with another basket-looped webbing loop.

What the Numbers Mean

First of all, they will serve as a baseline for future informal tests when comparing different types of M/A systems. We will evaluate the efficiency of the different systems as well as the possible forces that are put on the components of the system when using typical rescue haul teams.

Grasping at Ropes

One interesting fact that we can take away from these numbers is that even though the vast majority of the persons involved in the testing (random rescue students) weighedin excess of 160 lbs, they were only able to generate a maximum of 160 pounds of force on the 1⁄2-inch rope. This is largely due to the student’s ability to grasp and hold onto the 1⁄2” line before it pulled through their hands.

Similar tests using 9mm rope had an average force of 120 lbf for a single-person pull. There was only a slight difference of about 2 lbf between the 1⁄2-inch rope and the 9mm rope. We had anticipated a greater disparity as the rope diameter decreased and the ability to grasp the smaller line was lessened. However, we did observe that with the smaller diameter rope, haulers had a tendency to twist their hands making a 90-degree turn in the rope. This added additional friction making it possible to put more force on the line before it slipped.

Stay tuned as we continue this informal, real-world testing in future blog posts. It should be interesting to see how the forces translate from 1,2,3, and 4-person Haul Teams when using these various Mechanical Advantage systems.
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