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NOTICE: Statement on special use of the Petzl Shunt

Friday, January 20, 2012

Petzl has published a statement addressing special use of the Petzl Shunt as a back-up device for industrial rope access.  For any users of the Petzl Shunt as a self-belay device such as tower rescuers, the same information applies.

For Roco Tower Work and Rescue students who were taught the use of the Shunt as a self-belay device and have not attended Roco’s Tower Work and Rescue refresher training in the past two years, please read this information.  For recent initial and refresher students of Roco’s Tower Work and Rescue class, students were taught to use the Petzl ASAP as their self-belay device.  Roco still encourages all prior Roco Tower students to review the Petzl statement to become familiar with their concerns regarding the use of the Shunt as a back-up device.

To request a NEW Roco Training & Equipment Catalog or our 2012 Course Schedule, call us at 800.647.7626.
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INVISIBLE HAZARD KILLS AGAIN

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Roco Director of Training/Chief Instructor, Dennis O’Connell reviews the importance of following OSHA safety standards for confined space entry, no matter how many times workers have entered the space. The take away? With confined spaces…It’s NEVER old hat! The importance of preplanning confined space entries and identifying “potential hazards ”should be old hat by now. Yet every year we are still killing entrants and rescuers in confined spaces.

In the story below, we have one very lucky rescuer, but this very easily could have been a multi-fatality event.

Atmospheric Hazards Continue to Claim Lives in Confined Space Entry Scenarios

The importance of preplanning confined space entries and identifying “potential hazards” should be old hat by now. Yet every year we are still killing entrants and rescuers inconfined spaces.  In the story below, we have one very lucky rescuer, but this very easily could have been a multi-fatality event.

It’s always important to remember that each entry stands alone. Each and every time a space is entered, we need to:

(a) identify potential hazards;

(b) eliminate or control them, when possible;

(c) use proper PPE; and,

(d) have an EFFECTIVE Rescue Plan.

Otherwise, as in this story, we will lose or injure workers as well as those attempting the rescue.

Start from scratch and treat each entry like it’s the first time you’re entering the space – it could save your life.

Keep in mind, the history of a space really has nothing to do with the current entry. We’ve all heard people say, “We do this all the time, and we’ve never had a problem!” Or, “We’ve entered this space a thousand times and the air is always good!” Remember this… IT DOES NOT MATTER!! This entry has nothing to do with the last.

As you read of yet another unfortunate incident, let it be a reminder to those of us who make entries or do rescues from confined spaces – do not let your guard down, do not get complacent…it could be deadly. Atmospheric hazards are still one of the leading ways that people are dying in confined spaces. Because humans are visually oriented by nature, if we can see a hazard, we’ll protect ourselves from it. However, if we can’t see it, we tend to assume it’s safe. OSHA’s 1910.146 PRCS standard and others were developed for a reason… people were making tragic mistakes and dying in confined spaces. These standards and guidelines are written so we don’t make the same mistakes.

OSHA FINES UTILITY FIRM $118,580 FOLLOWING WORKER’S DEATH

OSHA has cited a contracting and utilities company for two willful and two serious safety and health violations following the death of a worker at the company’s Texas facility. Proposed penalties total $118,580. An inspection was initiated by OSHA on June 28 in response to a report that employees working on a new sewer line were exposed to inhalation of a hazardous chemical. One employee who entered a manhole to remove a plug in order to flush out accumulated debris became overwhelmed by toxic fumes and died. Another employee was hospitalized after attempting to rescue his co-worker.

The willful violations are for failing to test for atmospheric conditions and provide adequate ventilation and emergency retrieval equipment prior to entry into a manhole.

The serious violations are failing to provide or require the use of respirators as well as conduct an assessment to determine the potential for a hazardous atmosphere where oxygen deficiency, methane, and/or hydrogen sulfide were present or likely to be present.

“The company failed to ensure that proper confined space entry procedures were followed,” said Jack Rector, OSHA’s area director in Fort Worth. “If it had followed OSHA’s safety standards, it is possible that this tragic incident could have been prevented.”
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OSHA Violation Penalties on the Rise

Friday, January 13, 2012

According to statistics recently reported by OSHA, the number of workplace inspections conducted by federal OSHA in Fiscal Year 2011 fell to a total of 40,215, down 778 from 2010.  The agency attributes this slight decline in the number of inspections to the fact that many inspections, particularly those focused on health hazards and record keeping compliance, require more time per inspection.

Double the Penalties from OSHA Last Year

“Every day in America, 12 people go to work and never come home. Every year in America, 3.3 million people suffer a workplace injury from which they may never recover. These are preventable tragedies that disable our workers, devastate our families, and damage our economy.”
– Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis


According to statistics recently reported by OSHA, the number of workplace inspections conducted by federal OSHA in Fiscal Year 2011 fell to a total of 40,215, down 778 from 2010.  The agency attributes this slight decline in the number of inspections to the fact that many inspections, particularly those focused on health hazards and record keeping compliance, require more time per inspection.

OSHA Doubles Violation Penalties in 2011

Despite the fewer number of inspections, the size of enforcement actions (penalties) is increasing.  The average OSHA penalty per Serious violation in 2011 increased to $2,132, more than doubling from 2010’s average of $1,053.  In the last year of the Bush administration, 2008, that average was $998.

OSHA’s increase in the size of penalties and the number of Significant Cases can be traced back to key changes that OSHA made to its Field Operations Manual in October 2010.  For instance, OSHA doubled the minimum penalty for Serious violations, limited the Area Offices’ freedom to reduce penalties during settlement conferences, and reduced allowable penalty reductions for clean OSHA history (and required more years without past violations to be eligible for a clean history penalty reduction).

Roco Rescue Preplans can help detect confined space safety violations before OSHA visits your site. Find out more by calling 800-647-7626.
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On-Duty Firefighter Fatalities Down from 2010: USFA

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The United States Fire Administration (USFA) recently announced there were 81 on-duty firefighter fatalities in the United States as a result of incidents that occurred in 2011. This represents an almost seven percent decrease from the 87 fatalities reported for 2010. The 81 fatalities occurred in 33 states, one U.S. territory, and one overseas U.S.military facility. Texas experienced the highest number of fatalities (seven).

North Carolina experienced six firefighter deaths and was the only other state with five or more firefighter fatalities.Heart attacks were responsible for the deaths of 48 firefighters (59 percent) in 2011, nearly the same proportion of firefighter deaths from heart attack or stroke (60 percent) in 2010.

The United States Fire Administration (USFA) recently announced there were 81 on-duty firefighter fatalities in the United States as a result of incidents that occurred in 2011. This represents an almost seven percent decrease from the 87 fatalities reported for 2010. The 81 fatalities occurred in 33 states, one U.S. territory, and one overseas U.S. military facility. Texas experienced the highest number of fatalities (seven). North Carolina experienced six firefighter deaths and was the only other state with five or more firefighter fatalities.

“In 2004 at the initial Life Safety Summit, a number of fire service leaders did not believe we would complete a calendar year with less than 100 firefighter on-duty deaths,” U.S. Fire Administrator Ernest Mitchell said. “We broke through that perceived barrier in 2009, 2010, and now in 2011. We salute and congratulate our fire service family and pledge to continue working closely with the entire fire service community and its partners to maintain and even accelerate this downward trend in on-duty firefighter deaths.”

Heart attacks were responsible for the deaths of 48 firefighters (59 percent) in 2011, nearly the same proportion of firefighter deaths from heart attack or stroke (60 percent) in 2010. Ten on-duty firefighters died in association with wildland fires, the lowest number of annual firefighter deaths associated with wildland fires since 1996. Fifty-four percent of all firefighter fatalities occurred while performing emergency duties. Three firefighters were killed in vehicle collisions.
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Rescue Tech II Class: December 2011

Friday, January 06, 2012

We finished out the year with some great students in the Rescue Tech II course on December 12th-16th. In fact, three of the students came all the way from South Korea! Others were from Canada, Mississippi, South Carolina, Missouri and a couple of locals. To all our students, thank you for joining us in 2011 – we look forward to seeing you again soon!

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