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Roco Chief Speaks at VPPPA IV Conference

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Roco Chief Instructor Pat Furr is conducting two workshops at the VPPPA IV Conference in Myrtle Beach this week. The first workshop, Elements of a Comprehensive Managed Fall Protection Program, clarifies OSHA and ANSI guidelines regarding the employer's responsibility to develop a comprehensive managed fall protection program.

The topic of the second workshop is Confined Space Rescue and will provide guidance that employers may use to identify, select, and evaluate a confined space rescue service as required by OSHA 1910.146.

Chief Furr is available for consulting your organization on either of these topics.

In this video, he discusses Safe Entry Into Permit Required Confined Spaces.

 

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Q&A: Tech Panel Answers

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

QUESTION FROM OUR READER:
In the new Stokes lashing video the instructor tied 2 butterfly knots into the webbing. Can this also be done with 2 figure eight knots in the webbing? Also I was looking for the information on Sked lashing, with by-passing the top 2 grommets and starting with the first 2 on the sides.

ANSWER:

The answer to your question about substituting figure-8 knots for butterfly knots in the webbing for the stokes lashing is Yes you can. You could also use two separate pieces of webbing to accomplish the same goal. If you go to quick search and type in "skedco lashing" it will bring you to a downloadable document.

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Get In and Get Out: Confined Space Rescue Teams

Monday, May 06, 2013

Is your confined space rescue team prepared for the worst?

Roco Chief Pat Furr is published in the APRIL 2013 issue of ISHN. Here's the article.
If you are tasked with administering the “permit required confined space” (PRCS) program at your workplace, you know that it can be a daunting job. There are several considerations regarding safe confined space entry operations. Paramount amongst all these considerations is preparation prior to ever entering the space.


Preparations for entering these spaces come in many forms. First is properly preparing your confined space entry team (Authorized Entrants, Attendants, and Entry Supervisors) by providing proper training and equipping them with appropriate PPE, communications and management’s support. Another is preparing the permit space for safe entry by eliminating or controlling known or potential hazards. These preparations are all logical and well comprehended by most PRCS program administrators.

The preparation often misunderstood (or inadequately addressed) is PRCS rescue. One reason is that most confined space program administrators don’t have a background in confined space rescue procedures, especially if there is a need for “entry rescue” if non-entry rescue is infeasible. The need for sometimes complex rescue techniques and the use of specialized equipment required for safe entry rescue is indeed difficult to evaluate unless the evaluator has a strong background in the field.

How skilled is the team?


I have witnessed first-hand rescue teams performing very well in rehearsed and scripted demonstrations. However, some of these are more of a “dog and pony show” than a true demonstration of the team’s capabilities. I’ve also seen rescue teams tasked with performing very complex confined space rescues during actual emergencies or during a “no-notice” evaluation with outstanding results. The level of a rescue team’s capabilities in terms of training, teamwork, equipment, performance under pressure, and all factors that would provide the best outcome is critical during actual confined space emergencies. I have seen it run the spectrum — from top notch as good as it gets, to the team is not only a hazard to the victim(s) but a hazard to themselves as well.
Therefore, one of the most important preparations for a complete PRCS entry program is a thorough evaluation of prospective and selected rescue teams to ensure an appropriate level of capability for the worst-case situation. In fact, OSHA not only requires the rescue team practice for the worst-case event based on the representative types of spaces, but also for all confined space types to which they may be summoned. This includes rescue from an elevated structure if necessary.

Resources for evaluating rescue teams


A great starting point for “evaluating” a prospective confined space rescue team can be found in OSHA 1910.146-Appendix F. However, unless the confined space administrator knows the right questions to ask of the team or knows a great deal about proper rescue procedures, the evaluation may not reveal a true picture of the team’s capabilities. The performance demonstration must confirm that the team is indeed capable of providing safe and effective rescue for the site’s worst-case confined space rescue scenario.

Another helpful tool is a “Confined Space Types Chart” that can be used in identifying potential worst-case situations for a responding rescue team. Click to download your copy here.

Taking advantage of OSHA’s 1910.146 Appendix F guidance and the “Confined Space Types Chart” will arm the confined space program administrator with tools to adequately vet a prospective or selected rescue team. These same tools can be used to determine appropriate “training levels” for the confined space rescue team as well.

For example, with “Confined Space Types 1-6,” you’ll notice that for each pairing of numbers, CS Types 1 & 2 are “side entry” portals; Types 3 & 4 are “top entry” portals; and Types 5 & 6 are “bottom entry” portals. Then, for portal dimensions, the odd numbers (Types 1, 3 and 5) are more restricted portals that are less than 24-inches in diameter. The even numbers (Types 2, 4 and 6) are portals greater than 24 inches.

Why is it important to consider these confined space types and portal sizes when evaluating the rescue team? Well, it has to do with the rescue team’s ability to get in and out of the portal with any required PPE — most likely affecting the need for airline respirators versus backpack SCBAs — and also the need to get a packaged victim out of the space. Generally, a rigid Stokes type litter will not fit through a portal that is 24 inches or less, especially once the victim is loaded into the litter.

The internal configuration of the space also has to be evaluated to determine if any obstacles would impede rescue or limit the types of patient packaging that may be required. Does the internal configuration require the need for rigging directional pulleys inside the space? Are there any other training or equipment shortfalls? There are many other internal physical configuration considerations such as sharp edges, sensitive equipment, exposed leading edges, hot surfaces, limited patient packaging and more.

Then, elevated locations must be considered. Is the portal elevated above grade by four feet or more? It’s one thing to provide rescue from the confined space only to find out that the rescue team is ill-equipped or does not possess the skills required to safely move the victim to ground level. This often requires specialized training and techniques in order to maneuver a packaged victim over handrails, or to statically load the lowering system without causing a shock load to the rope system or to the victim, or in providing an attendant or tag lines to guide the rescue package through or around any obstacles.
Effective evaluation is essential

Whether it’s an in-house rescue team, a team of municipal emergency responders, or a third-party contracted rescue team, simply hearing the rescue team “talk the talk” is only the beginning of the evaluation process. It is essential to confirm that they can also “walk the walk.” That’s why it is so important for the evaluator to have a solid technical rescue background or be qualified to effectively use the tools described in this article. These tools will help provide the right questions for a program administrator to ask.

About the Author:
Pat Furr is a chief instructor and technical consultant for Roco Rescue, Inc. As a chief instructor, Pat teaches a wide variety of technical rescue classes including Confined Space Rescue, Rope Access, Tower Work/Rescue, Fall Protection, and Suspended Worker Rescue. In his role as technical consultant, he is involved in research and development, writing articles, and presenting at national conferences. He is also a new member of the NFPA 1006 Technical Rescuer Professional Qualifications Standard. Prior to joining Roco in 2000, Pat served 20 years in the US Air Force as a Pararescueman (PJ)
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Suspension Trauma Explained: Safety Poster from Roco

Monday, April 22, 2013

What exactly is suspension trauma? How does it occur? And what can be done to prevent it?

Suspension Trauma - otherwise known as harness pathology, distributive shock, or orthostatic intolerance - has recently been identified by OSHA as a workplace hazard particular to Authorized Workers using personal fall arrest systems (PFAS). More and more employers are becoming aware of this workplace hazard and are taking appropriate steps to protect their employees. The range of understanding on the cause of the hazard, as well as how to protect against it, is pretty vast.

Our new Suspension Trauma Safety Poster is a tool to raise awareness of this hazard. It illustrates the pathological path that a fallen suspended worker may experience. Please share with colleagues, fellow safety professionals and especially workers that use PFAS. It could save a life.

Just click to download a printable pdf.

The rate at which suspension trauma develops varies from individual to individual and is not reliably predictable. However, there are factors that influence the potential for suspension trauma as well as the speed of onset. Here are a few examples:
  • • Underlying physical condition of worker including any pre-existing respiratory or cardiac conditions;
  • • Worker’s ability to handle stress and anxiety;
  • • Harness selection, fit, and adjustment;
  • • Traumatic injuries that may have occurred during or before the fall; and,
  • • Knowledge and the use of equipment or techniques to delay the onset of suspension trauma such as temporary leg stirrups or simply “bicycling the legs.”

Roco also offers a course called Suspended Worker Rescue to educate rescuers who respond to suspended workers.  

Pathological Effects of a Fallen Worker in Danger of Suspension Trauma


For those of you who prefer a more detailed explanation, here's the narrative from Roco Chief Pat Furr. 

1. Leg Circulation: A fall arrest harness does a great job of dissipating the energies generated during a fall arrest through the long axis of the human body. After all motion has stopped, that same harness – particularly the dorsal attachment configuration – will most likely impose pressure to the femoral vein that is the primary blood vessel that returns blood from the legs towards the heart. In fact, in order to pass certification testing, these harnesses must not allow the test mannequin to assume greater than a 30 degree forward lean upon suspension. Any degree of forward lean will exert leg strap pressure on the femoral vein which impedes blood return. To compound this, the human body relies on what is known as the muscle/venous pump to assist the blood return from the legs to the heart. In suspension, the worker often forgets to bicycle their legs to create this muscle/venous pump. The trapped blood in the legs creates what is known as distributive shock as more and more blood is trapped in the legs; there is less to circulate for the rest of the body (brain, heart, lungs, and kidneys). Additionally this blood becomes highly acidic and toxic with metabolic wastes.

2. Heart Circulation: As the body goes into distributive shock, the heart must increase the rate and strength of its contractions to compensate. To compound this, the suspended worker may be experiencing a high degree of fear and anxiety, which releases adrenalin into the blood stream which also causes the heart to work harder and faster. This places increased demands on the heart, which is receiving less blood flow and thus less oxygen. The heart becomes irritable and is prone to localized tissue damage, dysrhythmias or both. This is especially a concern once the worker is rescued and the toxic blood is allowed to surge from the legs to the irritable heart. This is known as reflow syndrome and has caused several victims to go into sudden cardiac arrest upon rescue.

3. Brain Circulation: As the victim goes into distributive shock, or worst case, suffers cardiac arrest, the brain is deprived of adequate blood supply and this can lead to unconsciousness. If the victim faints the airway can be blocked by the head position or even by a poorly adjusted harness that allows the chest strap to block the airway. That is a difficult statement to write into a fatality report “Cause of Death: Strangulation by Victim’s Own PPE.”  If the victim’s heart stops, we can expect permanent brain damage or death in as little as four minutes.

So it should be obvious that a prompt rescue capability must be ensured by any employer that has Authorized Persons using PFAS. This can be accomplished in many ways. Roco has a variety of training courses that are specifically designed to provide that prompt rescue capability for fallen/suspended workers.

For more information please contact Roco Rescue at 800-647-7626 or submit a question to our Tech Panel.
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Roco Rescue Accepts Distinguished OSHA VPP Star Award

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Roco Rescue was officially awarded the OSHA VPP Star at a ceremony on April 15th, making them the first rescue training, equipment and safety services company in the United States to receive the award.

OSHA recognized Roco for their excellent safety history, practices and programs, which makes them a part of a distinguished community of approximately 2,400 other elite organizations in the nation who have met the rigorous guidelines for achieving VPP Star recognition.

Supporters gathered at the Roco Training Center in Baton Rouge to celebrate the rare designation. Senior VP/COO John Voinché introduced special guests and thanked them for their long-time support of Roco Rescue. An official OSHA plaque of honor was presented to Kay Goodwyn, President/CEO, before a VPP Star Worksite flag was raised at RTC by Chief Carroll Campbell and Denver Payne.


The Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) is based on a cooperative relationship between management, labor and government. VPP promotes worker protection, which requires active employee involvement and management commitment, while emphasizing the continual identification and elimination of hazards beyond OSHA standards.

 

“It's a commitment our people make at every level. Being in the business of safety and rescue services, it is essential that every Roco team member engage in the utmost safety at all times,”  Kay Goodwyn said.

“It takes a conscious effort on everyone’s part, and we are extremely honored to be a part of this elite group.”

 

Above: The VPP Star Worksite flag is raised for the first time.

Right: Goodwyn accepts OSHA plaque from Roderic Chube, VPP Coordinator of the Baton Rouge Area OSHA Office.  

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