Roco Rescue

RescueTalk

WE DO RESCUE

Update: Question to OSHA on Individual Retrieval Lines

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Report submitted by John Voinche', Sr. Vice President/COO, Roco Rescue

In July, a group of Roco instructors conducted a Confined Space Rope Rescue demonstration for OSHA representatives from Washington, DC. These agency officials represented both General Industry and Construction. This demo was used to clarify our concerns about a pending Letter of Interpretation (LOI) concerning Individual Retrieval Lines in confined spaces that was brought to our attention last year. Here is a little background…

Last July (2011), we brought you a story entitled, “What’s the talk about individual retrieval lines?”  At the heart of the issue was a pending LOI from OSHA regarding how retrieval lines are used inside confined spaces. [Note: This LOI is pending and has not been published in the Federal Register.]

Here’s the question to OSHA from a gentleman in Maryland which initiated the LOI…

“Does OSHA 1910-146 (k)(3) require that each individual entrant, including workers and/or rescuers, entering into a confined space be provided with an independent retrieval line or can more than one entrant be connected to a single retrieval line?”

The proposed answer from OSHA stated that each entrant should have an “individual” retrieval line, despite the fact that the word “individual” is not included in this section of the standard [1910.146 (k)(3)(i)].
 
Roco then wrote a letter to OSHA requesting clarification about the forthcoming LOI. A portion of our letter stated that, “This pending interpretation is different from our understanding of what’s required by the regulation. While this particular technique is one option of providing external retrieval, there are other alternatives currently being used by rescuers.”

One of the techniques being used is a “single retrieval line” for multiple entrant rescuers. The first rescuer to enter the space is attached to the retrieval line via an end-of-line Figure 8 on a Bight. Any subsequent rescuers enter the space attached to the same retrieval line using mid-line Butterfly knots. In our opinion, this satisfies the intent of the regulation in that each entrant is attached to a retrieval line.

However, in the case of multiple entrants, requiring “individual” lines as mentioned in the proposed LOI may represent an entanglement hazard. This, in effect, may cause entrants to opt out of using retrieval lines due to potential entanglement hazards (which is allowed by the standard if entanglement hazards are a concern). So, in our opinion, this effort to bring more clarity to the issue may further complicate the matter.
 
Again, we believe the single retrieval line method described above is one way to rescue entrants while satisfying the intent of the standard at the same time. More background is available by reading our original story.

Fast-forward back to July 2012… the demonstration lasted about four hours. During this time, Roco demonstrated numerous retrieval line techniques as well as the “pros and cons” for each system. There was a great deal of discussion back and forth on how this pending letter of interpretation could affect rescuers and entrants – and their ability to perform their jobs safely and efficiently.
 
We would like to thank OSHA for allowing us to offer our feedback concerning this topic. We also want to say a special thanks to the Baltimore Fire Department for allowing us to use their training facilities. We don’t know when a final LOI will be issued, but we will keep you posted!
read more 

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
read more 

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.

read more 

Multiple Confined Space Entries

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

QUESTION: What is required for making multiple confined space entries, and can an Attendant/Hole Watch monitor more than one entry at a time?

ANSWER: Good question! And, the answer is YES according to OSHA 1910.146. However, each space must be evaluated on its own merits with all regulations and requirements applying to each individual entry. Here we will provide some tips when considering one Attendant for multiple entries. This is also where preparing comprehensive rescue preplans becomes essential, and we'll start there.

Suggestions for Writing Rescue Preplans

1.  One of the first things is to identify and categorize the space as “permit-required” or “non-permit required.” You’ll need to carefully consider the possible hazards based on the information gathered.

2.  Once you’ve identified the hazards, you’ll want to consider what actions might be taken to eliminate or control the hazard to allow for a safe entry. OSHA 1910.146 defines "acceptable entry conditions" as the conditions that must exist in a permit space to allow entry and to ensure that employees involved with a permit-required confined space entry can safely enter into and work within the space.

3.  Next, you would need to consider the type of work that is going to take place inside the space. A very important question to ask... could the work create its own hazard? (An example would include hot work being performed inside the space.) Then, what about rescue capabilities and requirements? Next, you’ll need to determine whether the entry should be considered “Rescue Available” or “Rescue Stand-by?”

Roco uses the terms “Rescue Available” or “Rescue Stand-by” to better prepare for safe entry operations and in determining more specific rescue needs for that particular entry. Here’s the way we use these distinctions...Rescue Available would be your normal entry that is NOT considered an IDLH (Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health)entry. In this case, a 10-15 minute response time for a rescue team would generally be sufficient to satisfy OSHA regulations and is typical during turnarounds where multiple entries are taking place.

On the other hand, we use Rescue Stand-by when a more immediate need is anticipated, such as with a hazardous atmosphere or potentially hazardous atmosphere. For example, with an IDLH entry, it may require the team to be standing by just outside the space in order to reach the patient in a timely manner (i.e., how long can you live without air...3 to 4 minutes?)  Or, how quickly can the entrant be engulfed where there is a potential engulfment hazard?  OSHA 1910.134 requires a standby person or persons capable of immediate action with IDLH atmospheres. (See reference below.)

OSHA Reference Note to Paragraph (k)(1)(i): What will be considered timely will vary according to the specific hazards involved in each entry. For example, §1910.134, Respiratory Protection, requires that employers provide a standby person or persons capable of immediate action to rescue employee(s) wearing respiratory protection while in work areas defined as IDLH atmospheres.

Regarding multiple entries, this Rescue Stand-by status could certainly limit the number of entries that could take place due to the availability of qualified responders and equipment. You must also consider that if you’re doing an entry that requires Rescue Stand-by and are called to respond to a rescue from a Rescue Available space, the entrants at the Rescue Stand-by entry must be evacuated before the team can respond. And, if there is only one rescue team, all other entries must stop during a rescue, as the team is no longer available.
Can an Attendant cover more than one confined space entry at the same time?

According to OSHA (see below), attendants can cover multiple spaces as long as they meet the responsibilities and duties at each entry site. If the spaces are “Rescue Available” and are in close proximity, this may be possible. However, without seeing the spaces and if they are on different levels as you mentioned, it could be very difficult for an Attendant to meet all of the requirements OSHA defines for Attendants.

OSHA Notes regarding Attendants and Multiple Entries...
NOTE to 1910.146(d)(6): Attendants may be assigned to monitor more than one permit space provided the duties described in paragraph (i) of this section can be effectively performed for each permit space that is monitored. Likewise, attendants may be stationed at any location outside the permit space to be monitored as long as the duties described in paragraph (i) of this section can be effectively performed for each permit space that is monitored.

1910.146(d)(7) If multiple spaces are to be monitored by a single attendant, include in the permit program the means and procedures to enable the attendant to respond to an emergency affecting one or more of the permit spaces being monitored without distraction from the attendant's responsibilities under paragraph (i) of this section;

Once all these critical factors have been reviewed, you will need to consider the following when writing a rescue plan for an identical space:

    Internal configuration
    Elevation
    Portal Size

For hazards and LOTO procedures, you may be able to use the same rescue plan to cover those spaces. An example would be in doing ten (10) ground-level entries into 6-ft deep manholes, each with a 24” round, horizontal portal with a valve at the bottom. The rescue plan may be identical for all of these entries with the same description and hazards. However, on the rescue plan, you would need to allow for any unexpected hazards such as a possible change in atmosphere. This would be needed to be detected and properly handled by the responders at the time of the incident.

So, these are some of the basics you need to consider when writing a rescue preplan for confined spaces and for determining if (and when) an Attendant can effectively monitor multiple spaces.

If you have questions concerning these topics, please feel free to contact Roco at 800-647-7626.
read more 

Can your Rescue Team “Walk-the-Walk?” The Value of Performance Evaluations

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

As an employer with permit-required confined spaces, you’ll need to determine if your rescue team or selected rescue service can truly “walk-the-walk” when it comes to confined space rescue. OSHA’s Permit Required Confined Space Standard (1910.146) is “performance-based” – meaning it’s all about capabilities when the stakes are high.Conducting a performance evaluation of your rescue service is a vital component in determining their true capabilities as well as fully meeting the performance requirements of 1910.146.

The Dilemma

Determining the adequacy of the team’s rescue capability can present a dilemma for many employers. That is, does the employer have the depth of understanding in technical rescue required to administer an accurate, meaningful performance evaluation? Do they know what to look for in terms of proper equipment use, efficiency, compliance with industry standards, and required safety systems – just to name a few. If not, is it then possible that the team may not be able to affect rescue when the need arises?

As we know, it’s quite easy to demonstrate a rescue capability for a very “straight forward” situation. This is what we call a “Dog and Pony Show.” They tend to be very controlled and scripted to ensure that everything goes smoothly. Unfortunately, when there’s an actual emergency, it seems the victims never get a copy of the script. Unless the rescue team or service is prepared for the “other than straight forward” rescue, the operation has little chance of going smoothly. There are still way too many incidents involving injury or death to would-be rescuers that can be directly attributed to lack of proficiency in the type of rescue being attempted.

The Guidance

Fortunately, Appendix F (Non-Mandatory) of 1910.146 provides guidance for employers in choosing an appropriate rescue service. It contains criteria that may be used to evaluate the capabilities both of prospective and current rescue teams. For all rescue teams or services, the evaluation should consist of two components:

An initial evaluation, in which employers decide whether a potential rescue service or team is adequately trained and equipped to perform permit space rescues of the kind needed at the facility and whether such rescuers can respond in a timely manner.

A performance evaluation, in which employers measure the performance of the team or service during an actual or practice rescue.

Another way to break down these two evaluation components is something like this… 
(1) The initial evaluation is to determine if the rescue service can “talk-the-talk”; and, (2) the performance evaluation is to determine if the rescue service can “walk-the-walk.”

During the initial evaluation the employer should interview the prospective rescue service or team to determine response times, availability, a means to summons in the event of an emergency, reciprocal communications should the service/team become unavailable, whether they meet the requirements 1910.146 paragraph (k)(2), and whether they are willing to perform rescue at the employer’s workplace.

Additionally during the initial evaluation the employer should determine if the rescue service/team has the necessary equipment to perform rescues. This includes both technical rescue equipment and if a space may pose a significant atmospheric hazard which requires entry rescue, does the team/service have adequate supplies of SCBA [or SAR].

ROCO NOTE:  Another aspect often overlooked is HazMat capabilities… does the team have the proper training and PPE to protect themselves from the particular hazards they may face? Can they deal with de-con issues that may result from exposure? Or, as the employer, will you provide the appropriate PPE and decon?

Finally, the employer should evaluate if the rescue team/service has the technical knowledge for vertical rescues in excess of five feet, the knowledge of rope work or elevated rescue, if needed, and the necessary skills for medical evaluation and patient packaging. Other than the visual and/or physical review of the rescue equipment; and, if necessary, emergency breathing air, the initial evaluation of the team/service is primarily completed through interviews and a review of training documents. In other words, can the team or service “talk-the-talk”?

Therefore, it is simply not enough for an employer to rely on the initial evaluation. While it’s a good start in narrowing the field of prospective rescue team/services, it is incumbent on the employer to determine if the rescue service can indeed walk-the-walk.  And the only way to ensure that is to complete a performance evaluation during an actual or practice rescue from the actual or representative types of spaces that they may be summoned to.

The Third Party Advantage

Performance evaluations can be administered to a prospective rescue service, or as a periodic evaluation of current rescue services. As an option, an employer may choose to use a third party that has extensive experience in this type of rescue.

This is especially beneficial when employers may not have the in-house expertise necessary to administer an accurate evaluation, or for employers who are more comfortable with having a third party evaluation as a documented, independent, and unbiased record of the rescue service/team’s capabilities.

As an independent evaluator, Roco has conducted these team (TPE) and individual (IPE) performance evaluations for many years using specific grading criteria. It is a valuable tool for the employer to ensure and document that the selected rescue team/service (whether an outside service or in-plant team) has the required proficiencies for rescue at their facility. These TPE/IPEs also provide a degree of refresher training that will help bring the team/individual up to the level they need to be.

In rare instances, our recommendation may be that the team requires more than spot training in order to meet an acceptable level of proficiency. Another benefit of third party TPE/IPEs is that it may be an opportunity for the evaluator to recommend minor changes in equipment or techniques that would enhance the capability of the team. In fact, Section B of Appendix F states,

“As part of each practice session, the service should perform a critique of the practice rescue, or have another qualified party perform the critique, so that deficiencies in procedures, equipment, training, or number of personnel can be identified and corrected.”

Another area where third party evaluations are beneficial is when contractors will be providing their own rescue capability. Some host employers mistakenly believe that theyare relieved of all responsibility when the contractor’s employees are performing the entries. But 1910.146(c)(8) and (9) place reciprocal responsibilities on both employers to each other. This includes the host employer informing the contractor that permit space entry is allowed only through compliance with a permit space program meeting the requirements of 1910.146, and the contractor informing the host employer of the permit program it will be following.

Although this paragraph of the standard lacks specific direction, it certainly contemplates that the host employer cannot turn a “blind-eye” to deficiencies in the program presented by the contractor – including insufficient rescue capabilities. A team performance evaluation would be helpful in determining the contractor’s ability to provide rescue services for their employees. While some host employers may be qualified to evaluate contractor’s technical rescue capabilities, that is usually not the case.

Keeping Skills Fresh

Employers must also realize that technical rescue skills are very perishable. While a team or individual can successfully complete rescue training and attain a high degree of proficiency, regular practice is crucial to maintaining these skills. Unfortunately, all too often, the time and resources required to maintain this level of proficiency are not provided. How quickly these skills erode will vary. However, even with the most experienced rescuers, they will eventually lose their edge if practice time is not provided. For newer rescuers that complete their training but don’t the chance to practice fairly soon, their skills can erode at an incredibly fast rate.

The degree of difficulty for the anticipated rescues must also be considered. When more complex rescues are involved, teams may require even more training and practicetime to maintain their level of expertise. And, while a training certificate is good to have, the only way an employer can truly know if the rescue team/service meets the OSHA performance requirement for confined space rescue is by completing a properly administered performance evaluation.

For all those employers who have workers entering confined spaces to work, we hope that you will carefully consider this rescue evaluation process – it could save a life or even prevent multiple fatalities. For you rescuers out there, we hope that you will do everything you can to maintain and increase your proficiencies – so when the time comes, you can walk-the-walk with pride in a job well done.

If you would like additional information on a documented Team Performance Evaluation for your rescue service, please contact Roco at 800-647-7626.
read more 

Previous Next
.. 8 9 10 11 12 .. 17

RescueTalk (RocoRescue.com) has been created as a free resource for sharing insightful information, news, views and commentary for our students and others who are interested in technical rope rescue. Therefore, we make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, or suitability of any information and are not liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. Users and readers are 100% responsible for their own actions in every situation. Information presented on this website in no way replaces proper training!