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New Hierarchy of Fall Protection Safety Poster from Roco

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Roco’s new Hierarchy of Fall Protection Safety Poster provides guidance on how to protect your workers from fall hazards by illustrating a series of steps in making safer choices as job duties are approached. It clearly explains the need for employers to make every attempt to abate fall hazards at their work sites by starting with the most protective level of fall protection. OSHA and ANSI references are used to emphasize the need for proper training and “fallen or isolated worker-at-height” rescue pre-plans when appropriate.

This safety poster will provide a quick reminder that oftentimes working at height is more hazardous simply because more “protective steps” in the hierarchy were never considered.

By displaying this poster in strategic areas, we hope it will encourage all workers to take every opportunity to make work-at-height even safer. After all, for those of you who know Roco…there’s a safe way, and a SAFER way!



Click the picture to download the PDF version of the NEW Hierarchy of Fall Protection Safety Poster.

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Hierarchy of Fall Protection

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Roco Rescue Releases Two New Fall Protection Programs for OSHA Compliant Workplaces
Are you concerned about the potential for falls from height at your workplace?

Do you feel that your workers are not adequately trained in recognizing fall hazards, or do not have the proper training in the inspection and use of their fall protection equipment?

Does your fall protection program consider all the angles regarding work at height and fall protection?


Click on the graphic to the left to download our free Roco safety poster on the Hierarchy of Fall Protection.

 

New Roco Fall Pro Course: Competent Person for Fall Protection

Roco Rescue is proud to announce the addition of a comprehensive Competent Person for Fall Protection course as an addition to our already extensive catalog of Technical Rescue, Compliance, and Safety courses.

The two day (16 hour) Competent Person course focuses on OSHA and ANSI requirements and guidance to provide the Competent Person the knowledge and skills that will enable them to provide their employer a solid foundation for establishing or improving their comprehensive fall protection program

This course emphasizes legislated as well as consensus standard fall protection requirements and guidance for various industries as well as exposing the attendees to a variety of modern fall protection equipment solutions and techniques. The hierarchy of fall protection is used as the building block for the most protective approach for abating fall hazards in the workplace. The attendee will have a solid understanding of how to evaluate fall hazards in the workplace by completing a field exercise using a “Fall Hazard Survey Report Template” that identifies fall hazards and uses the hierarchy of fall protection to provide the most protective and feasible solution to address the identified hazards.

Exposure to modern fall protection equipment and emerging technologies -especially the availability of pre-engineered fall protection solutions- arms the student with an extensive toolkit for addressing existing fall hazards in their workplace. Equipment and equipment systems such as body support, connectors, modern lanyards, self-retracting lanyards, horizontal and vertical lifelines, anchor connectors, as well as other specialty equipment will be covered and examples will be available to employ during the class.

The often overlooked need to understand and provide a rescue capability for fallen/suspended workers and workers isolated at height will be covered. The use of the “Roco Suspended Worker Rescue Pre-plan” will be covered in a live field exercise. Included will be a demonstration and practice rescues utilizing a pre-engineered rescue system that may provide the “prompt rescue capability” of fallen workers for most situations as required by both OSHA and ANSI.

New Roco Fall Pro Course: Competent Person - Train the Trainer:

Upon completion of Roco’s Competent Person for Fall Protection Course we offer the option to stay on for our Competent Person Trainer course. This course includes an additional two days (16 hours) that prepares the Competent Person to train their own employees to the level of Authorized and Competent Persons. The course opens with a thorough lecture/discussion on the adult learner.

Tried and proven steps that are invaluable in providing a systematic workforce education program specific to Competent and Authorized Persons for fall protection are covered. Areas such as gap analysis, instructional triads, three part learning objectives, measurements, dealing with the adult learner and their varied backgrounds are just some of the preparatory lessons. This is followed by a thorough section on preparing and utilizing lesson plans which are then put into practice as the attendees prepare for and deliver actual lessons to their fellow students on the various teaching modules.

The Competent Person for Fall Protection and the Competent Person Trainer Courses are available as private training at Roco Training Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana or Roco can deliver the course at your facility as a private class. Please call (800) 647-7626 for more details or to schedule.

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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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Lanyard Safety

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Here's a question from one of our readers: How can you test a lanyard to determine if it is safe to use? Is there a standard checklist or procedure?

Answer from the Roco Tech Panel: As with all safety and rescue gear, we recommend that you inspect, use and care for it in strict accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Of course, all equipment should be carefully inspected before and after each use. And, as we always say, “If there’s any doubt, throw it out!” Sometimes it’s less expensive to simply replace the gear versus going through any elaborate testing process. We did find the following information regarding lanyard inspections in an “OSHA Quick Takes” document. Thank you for your question!

Lanyard Inspection

To maintain their service life and high performance, all belts and harnesses should be inspected frequently. Visual inspection before each use should become routine, and also a routine inspection by a competent person. If any of the conditions listed below are found, the equipment should be replaced before being used.

When inspecting lanyards, begin at one end and work to the opposite end. Slowly rotate the lanyard so that the entire circumference is checked. Spliced ends require particular attention. Hardware should be examined under procedures detailed below.

HARDWARE
Snaps: Inspect closely for hook and eye distortion, cracks, corrosion, or pitted surfaces. The keeper or latch should seat into the nose without binding and should not be distorted or obstructed. The keeper spring should exert sufficient force to firmly close the keeper. Keeper rocks must provide the keeper from opening when the keeper closes.

Thimbles: The thimble (protective plastic sleeve) must be firmly seated in the eye of the splice, and the splice should have no loose or cut strands. The edges of the thimble should be free of sharp edges, distortion, or cracks.

LANYARDS
Steel Lanyard:
While rotating a steel lanyard, watch for cuts, frayed areas, or unusual wear patterns on the wire. The use of steel lanyards for fall protection without a shock-absorbing device is not recommended.

Web Lanyard: While bending webbing over a piece of pipe, observe each side of the webbed lanyard. This will reveal any cuts or breaks. Due to the limited elasticity of the web lanyard, fall protection without the use of a shock absorber is not recommended.

Rope Lanyard: Rotation of the rope lanyard while inspecting from end to end will bring to light any fuzzy, worn, broken or cut fibers. Weakened areas from extreme loads will appear as a noticeable change in original diameter. The rope diameter should be uniform throughout, following a short break-in period. When a rope lanyard is used for fall protection, a shock-absorbing system should be included.

Shock-Absorbing Packs
The outer portion of the shock-absorbing pack should be examined for burn holes and tears. Stitching on areas where the pack is sewn to the D-ring, belt or lanyard should be examined for loose strands, rips and deterioration.

VISUAL INDICATIONS OF DAMAGE

Heat
In excessive heat, nylon becomes brittle and has a shriveled brownish appearance. Fibers will break when flexed and should not be used above 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

Chemical
Change in color usually appears as a brownish smear or smudge. Transverse cracks appear when belt is bent over tight. This causes a loss of elasticity in the belt.

Ultraviolet Rays
Do not store webbing and rope lanyards in direct sunlight, because ultraviolet rays can reduce the strength of some material.

Molten Metal or Flame
Webbing and rope strands may be fused together by molten metal or flame. Watch for hard, shiny spots or a hard and brittle feel. Webbing will not support combustion, nylon will.

Paint and Solvents
Paint will penetrate and dry, restricting movements of fibers. Drying agents and solvents in some paints will appear as chemical damage.

CLEANING FOR SAFETY AND FUNCTION

Basic care for fall protection safety equipment will prolong and endure the life of the equipment and contribute toward the performance of its vital safety function. Proper storage and maintenance after use is as important as cleaning the equipment of dirt, corrosives or contaminants. The storage area should be clean, dry and free of exposure to fumes or corrosive elements.

Nylon and Polyester
Wipe off all surface dirt with a sponge dampened in plain water. Squeeze the sponge dry. Dip the sponge in a mild solution of water and commercial soap or detergent. Work up a thick lather with a vigorous back and forth motion. Then wipe the belt dry with a clean cloth. Hang freely to dry but away from excessive heat.

Drying
Harness, belts and other equipment should be dried thoroughly without exposure to heat, steam or long periods of sunlight.

For the complete OSHA Quick Takes document, click here.

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Fall Protection Essentials: Follow-up from Roco

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Pat Furr reviews the importance of following OSHA safety standards for fall protection, and the steps an employer can take to ensure a safe work environment by providing high quality training. In the recent article by Mark Stromme, published in ISHN and on this blog, he addresses several myths regarding compliance with OSHA Fall Protection in the construction industry. Fact is, this wisdom applies to industry across the board.

OSHA Fall Protection Standards for Industry

It does not take long for an employer to realize that understanding the OSHA 29 CFR 1926 Subpart M standard is no quick and easy task. Fully adhering to this standard requires employers to complete a number of assessments, including the following:

    •    Evaluating areas that workers are exposed to fall hazards
    •    Developing work practices that eliminate or reduce the exposure to those fall hazards
    •    Selecting and installing suitable fall protection equipment
    •    Training employees on proper use of the equipment
    •    Inspecting and maintaining the equipment
    •    Developing rescue plans
    •    Re-evaluating the entire program on a regular basis

There’s no doubt, this can be a very daunting task – especially with all the other safety responsibilities we must deal with on a daily basis. But, I wanted to demonstrate that there is much more to providing a safe work environment for employees than handing them a harness and an energy absorbing lanyard.

Fall Protection Competent Person Essentials

One of the most important steps an employer can take towards developing an effective comprehensive fall protection program is to provide top quality training to their selected fall protection competent persons. By selecting the right person(s) for this position, the employer is assigning a degree of authority and expectations that the competent person will be very well versed in all there is to know about fall protection.

A common question we get from our former Competent Person students has to do with proper use of fall protection equipment. This is a critical function of the Competent Person, to provide the authorized persons training on the proper use of the selected fall protection equipment. As good as the equipment has become with modern materials, increased strength requirements, and functionality, we still are seeing equipment failures when subjected to forces they were not designed to see. If the authorized user is using the equipment outside the manufacturers’ instructions for use, that means the training has fallen short. No pun intended.

Roco's Fall Protection protocol challenges employers and current competent persons to ratchet up their diligence in providing high quality training to the folks that are counting on them. Employers must seek out truly effective Competent Person training programs and avoid programs that are more interested in selling product than delivering the instruction that the students need. Once the employer is satisfied that the competent person has the appropriate level of knowledge and experience, they complete written documentation attesting to such as described in the following article.

Now the ball is in the Competent Person’s court. With support from the employer, it is of paramount importance that the competent person continues educating themselves on everything “Fall Protection.”  Divide time between the OSHA and ANSI standards, new product information, fall protection “Walkabouts” at your facility, to include rescue provisions, and continuous monitoring of the work practices of the authorized persons.

There is always the need for continued fall protection training at every level. Make sure your team is properly trained and equipped to avoid injuries, fatalities, penalties or both. Check out Roco courses for Fall Protection/Competent Person by clicking here.

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