Roco Rescue

RescueTalk

WE DO RESCUE

Roco Rescue Training in North Dakota

Monday, January 23, 2017

Roco is excited to be conducting several Rescue & Fall Protection Workshops at the 44th Annual Safety Conference next month in Bismarck, ND. This will kick off our working relationship with the ND Safety Council to provide safe, effective confined space rescue training for their membership. 

What's more, the North Dakota Safety Council (NDSC) is currently constructing a new safety campus in Bismarck that will house a 5,000 square foot hands-on training lab. Roco, as a training partner, will provide high-level technical rescue courses at this new facility on a year-round basis.

For the conference on February 20-23, we will be conducting a number of hands-on rescue workshops and presentations to be presented by Roco Lead Instructors Dennis O’Connell, Pat Furr, Brad Warr, Eddie Chapa and Josh Hill. Sessions include:

  • Intro to Competent Person Requirements for Fall Protection
    2/20 9am-6pm (classroom w/demo)
  • Confined Space Entrant, Attendant, and Supervisor Requirements
    2/20 9am-6pm (classroom w/demos) 
  • Tripod Operations
    2/21 11am-5pm (hands-on training) 
  • So You’ve Fallen, Now What?
    2/22 10am-11:30am (classroom)
  • Dial 911 for Confined Space Rescue
    2/22 1:30pm-2:30pm (classroom w/demos)
  • Confined Space and Rope Rescue...
    2/22 1:30pm-5pm (hands-on training) 
  • Trench Collapse Rescue Considerations
    2/22 2:45pm-3:45pm (classroom) 
  • Fallen/Suspended Worker Rescue
    2/23 8am-11:15am (classroom w/demos) 
  • We look forward to meeting you at Roco booths (#202 & #203) or in these training sessions. For more info, click to NDSC’s 44th Annual Safety & Health Conference. Don't forget to register online at www.ndsc.org for these training sessions.
read more 

Trench Collapse Fatalities Double in 2016

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Twenty-three workers were killed and 12 others injured in trench collapses in 2016 – an alarming increase from the previous year. "There is no excuse,” said Dr. David Michaels, OSHA assistant secretary.

"These fatalities are completely preventable by complying with OSHA standards that every construction contractor should know."

Among the victims was a 33-year-old employee, crushed to death this summer as he dug a 12-foot trench for a plumbing company out of Ohio. An OSHA investigation found that they failed to protect its workers from the dangers of trench collapses. The company was issued two willful and two serious violations, with proposed penalties of $274,359.

OSHA's trenching standards require protective systems on trenches deeper than 5 feet, with soil and other materials kept at least two feet from the edge of trench.

OSHA has a national emphasis program on trenching and excavations with the goal of increasing hazard awareness and employer compliance with safety standards. For more information, read the news release.
Source: OSHA QuickTakes December 1, 2016, Volume 15, Issue 26

Comments from Dennis O'Connell, Roco Director of Training & Chief Instructor

In the above OSHA Newsletter, they highlight this growing problem. Besides the loss of human life, the “SERIOUS” and “WILLFUL” violations paragraph should get you asking, “Are we doing what we should be for trenching in our facility?” 

The new OSHA statistics show in 2016, we have two people a month dying in trenches, which is double the amounts for 2014 & 2015. Why, is the soil getting more dangerous? I can only speak to what I have seen in trends in industry that may be contributing to this rise. In previous articles, I have discussed the subject of trench and trench rescue and some of the following concerns:

• We are relying heavily on subcontractors to do trench work in our facilities.

• Entry Supervisors are not properly trained as Trench Competent Persons and are assuming the contractor is taking all necessary precautions.

• Our Confined Space Entry Supervisors are signing off on trenches as Confined Spaces and not as trenches.

• Rescue - most locations have not trained or equipped their rescue team to handle a possible trench rescue situation even though trench work is a common daily occurrence in most refineries and large municipalities.

• Trench rescue entities are far and few between. Most municipalities are ill equipped to handle trench collapse rescue.

 

Give us a call for a private Roco Trench Rescue training course at your facility or at the Roco Training Center. Or, register for Roco's open enrollment Trench Rescue course online.

 

 

read more 

Silent, Invisible, Insidious & Deadly...

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

By Pat Furr, Safety Officer & VPP Coordinator for Roco Rescue, Inc.

Oxygen-Depleted Atmospheric Hazards in Confined Spaces

It will take your breath away! This is a phrase often used to describe tremendous beauty, or exhilaration. However, in an oxygen-depleted environment, this phrase has a much more ominous meaning. The emotion it elicits is hardly pleasant and joyful. Confusion, panic, impending doom, and okay... maybe even euphoria, which has been reported in near drowning cases, but the euphoria is a late onset emotion once the brain is deprived of oxygen. Suffice to say, having your breath taken away in an oxygen-depleted environment is never a good thing!

In my prior career with USAF Pararescue, I underwent regularly scheduled physiological training in an altitude chamber; otherwise, known as a hypobaric chamber. This was used to train me to recognize the onset of hypoxia (low physiologic oxygen content) and the symptoms that are particular to me. The symptoms of hypoxia differ from person to person and mine were pretty subtle. A loss of peripheral vision and color acuity, a slight warming of the sides of my neck and face, but other than those symptoms, I didn’t have any dramatic, obvious clues that I was in trouble. On at least two occasions, I had to be told by the chamber operator to don my oxygen mask. Once I did, the return to normalcy was profound! I was then able to jot down my symptoms as I remembered them. As I was undergoing my slide into hypoxia, I was given basic written tests to perform such as simple addition problems, connecting the dots, finishing incomplete squares and circles. In every case, I thought that I was doing really well on my assignment; that is until my oxygen mask was returned and I reviewed my work. FAIL!!! This exercise was intended to demonstrate to me the insidious nature of hypoxia and the unrecognized affects it has on coordination and judgment.

My experiences in the altitude chamber were educational and potentially lifesaving if I were ever exposed to a low oxygen environment. By having experienced my subtle symptoms multiple times, perhaps I would recognize them in a lower than normal oxygen environment and be able to take action to rescue myself. However, the environment that I was exposed to was probably in the range of 12% oxygen by volume give or take. In lower concentrations, say below 10%, the onset of impaired judgment would be so rapid that I would have little chance to recognize and react on my own behalf. In extremely low concentrations of 0-8%, there is little chance for anyone to take self-rescue actions. More than likely, the individual will pass out after only one or two gasping breaths. And, most importantly, my experiences were in a controlled environment with highly trained observers and emergency personnel standing by. This is not always the case during confined space entry operations.

How do we end up with depleted oxygen concentrations in confined spaces? 

There are several ways, but I am going to address two broad categories of occurrence: (a) planned, and (b) unplanned. Planned low oxygen concentrations may be unavoidable when doing entries that require an inert gas environment, such as certain types of welding or when doing work in a flammable or explosive atmosphere. By removing the oxygen, one of the three elements of flame is eliminated. There will remain fuel and possibly a source of ignition, but by removing the oxygen, there is no potential for fire in nearly every instance. Even during planned oxygen depleted operations, things have a potential to go wrong. Equipment failure is one possible cause. Faulty supplied air breathing systems can be the culprit. It may be as simple as a failed “O” ring, a faulty diverter valve, a lost connection on an airline respirator system, and many other links of equipment. Or, it could be human error – such as not tending airlines and causing the mask to be dislodged or pulled completely off; failure to change out bottles on the SAR cart; exceeding the safe time and egress requirements if using backpack SCBA; or again, any number of human failures. So you can see that even during planned low O2 entries, the potential for an incident is quite high. That is why OSHA 1910.134 has such stringent requirements for entry into an atmospheric IDLH environment.

It is the unplanned depleted oxygen environments that seem to cause the most incidents, however. Within unplanned low O2 entries, I would like to further categorize them into two separate areas.

  1. Unplanned...in that the atmospheric hazard was thought to be controlled, but the potential for the hazard to appear was realized, and indeed created the low oxygen hazard. This could be due to improper isolation techniques or equipment failure.
  2. Unplanned and unanticipated...this is the one that really seems to be causing problems. It may happen in permit-required confined spaces and also in non-permit required confined spaces. Upon evaluation, the entry team may have identified the space as non-permit required and assumed there was no need to perform pre-entry atmospheric monitoring. In several incidents, unbeknownst to the entry team, a prior entry team introduced an inert gas into the space for their particular work activities and failed in two ways. The team did not ventilate the space to remove the inert gas and test it afterwards; and, more importantly, the prior entry team failed to communicate the presence of the inert gas to any potential follow-on entrants. Or it may be that the information regarding the inert gas was communicated, but that information was lost in the shuffle. It may have never made it to the follow-on entry team – or that team may have failed to properly process the information. As you can imagine, this type situation has not only led to the demise of the unaware follow-on entrant, but also to several would-be rescuers that attempted rescue without any clue that the oxygen concentration was at a lethal level.

So what is the solution? 

Although this simple step will not “guarantee” a safe entry operation, I know for a fact that by simply employing an atmospheric monitor to test for oxygen will save many lives. And, don’t limit the use of atmospheric monitors for entries into known or potentially low O2 atmospheres! That is an OSHA minimum, so why not exceed that minimum requirement and get into the habit of testing the oxygen concentration for ALL entries? And, not just for permit-required spaces, include non-permit spaces as well. You just never know. Also when monitoring, don’t forget to test the various levels of the space and all breathing zones. Various gases tend to stratify, some being heavier than air, and some lighter, while others are nearly equal and will diffuse universally. Maintain your monitors, calibrate them and bump test them as required by the manufacturer and use them regularly. They are easy to use and relatively inexpensive. They have saved many lives and will continue to do so, if used properly.

Be safe out there and monitor, monitor, monitor!

Although this article has focused on low oxygen atmospheres, we do not mean to minimize the potential for other hazardous atmospheres, such as toxic or flammable. It is just our experience that of all the hazardous atmospheres, it seems that low oxygen is the one that crops up more often and continues to claim a disproportionate number of entrants AND would-be rescuers.

read more 

Medical Training Programs from Roco

Monday, August 29, 2016

medical training program from RocoFrom the basics of First Aid/CPR to Basic Life Support for Prehospital Providers, Roco now offers medical training from our professional instructors and experienced emergency responders. This training is designed to provide hands-on instruction for those requiring these lifesaving skills as part of their job – particularly those who work in industrial environments. Students will be taught the critical skills necessary to provide basic first aid for medical, environmental and traumatic injuries.

• Take your emergency response team to the next level in patient care.
• Let us add this training to your next rescue or refresher class.
• Train at your location or ours…the Roco Training Center.

Our instructors will provide insight to medical considerations through experience gained working as nationally registered paramedics and critical care flight paramedics. These new courses can be scheduled separately or incorporated into your next Roco training.

• Basic Life Support for Prehospital Providers (8-hrs)
• First Aid/CPR/AED Training (5 to 7-hrs)
• Bloodborne Pathogens (1-hr)

For complete course descriptions click here. To discuss program options, call 800-647-7626 to speak with one of our instructors.

read more 

Beware the Grim Reaper of Complacency

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Special thanks to The Leader/VPPPA magazine for publishing this article in the Spring 2016 issue. Article was written by Pat Furr, VPP Coordinator, for Roco Rescue.

When I heard mention of “The Grim Reaper of Complacency",* it struck a chord in me especially considering my line of work as a safety officer and rescue instructor. In working at height, complacency is something we warn students about continually. However, when it comes to our personal safety, it can happen to all of us. No one is immune to complacency, and its effects can be devastating depending on the nature of the work being performed.


It is also not my intention to get up on a high horse and preach to you about your individual faults or shortcomings in your work or safety practices. As I said, we are ALL guilty of becoming complacent to some degree, and my hope is to remind you of that very fact so that you can find some tools that work for you to help you stay out of that grim reaper’s grip.  

There are so many factors that can lead us to become complacent. Routine work tasks and outcomes, assuming that we are doing things as safely as possible, self and team satisfaction, overconfidence, the attitude that it “won’t happen to me,” contentment, unrealistic deadlines, multi-tasking, high stress, low morale, and fatigue are just some of the primary and cumulative factors that may lead to complacency. In addition to these influences, the complacent behavior of others can be infectious and possibly cause you to think – if it’s ok for them to take shortcuts, it’s ok for me to do the same.   

Without quoting statistics, I can say with confidence that the overwhelming majority of workplace accidents are not caused by unsafe equipment or processes, but are indeed caused by unsafe worker behavior. And complacency, in its many forms, is at the root of that behavior.

Probably the most important thing that I would like for you to gain from reading this is to recognize those moments when complacency is creeping in and stop it in its tracks! Complacency places us in an emotional state where we become oblivious to danger, and therein lays its insidious nature. I will not pretend to give you all the tools you may need to beat complacency, as different tools are required for different folks for different situations. Again, the most important piece of the solution is to recognize complacency’s onset, and the second most important is to understand the potential outcome if you were to succumb to it.   

Here’s one early sign that complacency is creeping in – you find yourself distracted while performing your job. This applies not only to individual workers, but in a more global sense can happen within the company culture. When worries start to crop up, be it individual workers, or within management, the focus may center on issues other than the task at hand. When you feel this happening, stop and evaluate whether you are paying the required attention to the task at hand; and if you are not, what could the possible consequences be? Think worst case, because that is quite likely the end result!

Look for instances where you catch a misstep in your performance that you normally would not have made. For example, in my line of work as a rescuer, I’ve always used a systematic safety check of a rescue system before life loading. Once in a while I might find an unlocked carabiner, that’s one thing, but if I find that unlocked carabiner at the conclusion of the rescue scenario, that, my friend, is a red flag! My tried-and-true system failed me for one reason and one reason only…I became complacent.

Talk about the perfectly designed distraction – cell phones – you can’t live with them, and you can’t live without them. I like to call my TV set a “one-eyed-brain sucker,” and fondly refer to my cell phone as a “hand-held brain sucker.” There is a time and a place for it – and, yes they are very valuable, but if you find it has any chance of distracting you from your work and can be the cause of an unsafe condition, tighten up, don’t be complacent! Put that cell phone away until you can use it safely.

Here’s another example – observing your co-workers complacency and not addressing it. That’s being just as complacent. And worse, if an accident were to happen and your co-worker’s complacency caused them harm or harmed others, you will have to live with that missed chance to have stopped it. Fight the good fight. No one can fault you for that, and if they do, they are flat wrong.   

“The Devil’s Circle” is a term I learned from a group of Austrian mountaineers many years ago. It goes something like this. During a climbing expedition, you evaluated a slope for avalanche and determined there is a high potential for a slide. But the weather is closing in and you would have a more dangerous situation if you were to retreat the way you came versus crossing the avalanche slope to the safety of a protected camp site. You made it across the slope without triggering an avalanche. 

The very next season, you were confronted with a nearly identical situation, but with the added factor that you forgot your avalanche shovels. Based on the safe outcome of the previous year, however, you went ahead and crossed the slope. Again, without incident. And the circle begins. As the years go by and you encounter the same situations and have the same results without incidence even in the presence of adding more and more unsafe conditions, the Devil’s Circle is lulling you into a false sense of security.

The circle turns every year without an accident and you push the envelope of safety further for every lap of the circle you make – until your complacent behavior ultimately catches up to you and the avalanche occurs. You have no shovels to dig your climbing partners out, you have no avalanche beacons to locate them, you have no means to radio for help and you haven’t told anyone of your planned route. The many laps you have made along the circle with many unsafe mistakes while thinking you got away with them in the past so you’ll get away with them in the future – all of this has led to an unrecoverable disaster.   

Avoiding complacency is not automatic. We need to understand that it is always lurking, waiting to walk through that door you left open and to exert its sometimes very dire effects. And it isn’t like in the movies where it warns you of impending disaster by changing the music to the “Jaws” theme of dun tunt, Dun Tunt, DUN TUNT!, DUN TUNT!!! We need to remain alert for the signs of complacency, recognize when it is setting in and do whatever we must do to stop it. And it’s not only a personal challenge to stop it within ourselves, but to recognize and stop it within our co-workers. 

Here are just a few ideas that you may want to use to avoid complacency.


  • 1. Perform a Job Safety Analysis (JSA) before starting a task. And don’t limit this to new tasks only. You might surprise yourself by taking the time to re-accomplish a JSA on a task that you routinely perform. By breaking a task down into individual steps and isolating the hazards that are associated with each step as well as how to mitigate them, you will oftentimes realize that there is a safer way that you have been missing. Performing the JSA will also refocus you and your crew on the fact that there are hazards present and that you must be diligent in protecting yourselves from them.
  • 2. Take a minute to refocus on the hazards of the task at hand before starting. That brief pause goes a very long way in reminding you that what you are about to take on requires a level of focus that will ultimately prevent you from making a mistake.
  • 3. Report all near misses. This is the often forgotten final opportunity to share information that reminds us that many of us at times can have dangerous jobs. “Scared Straight!!”
  • 4. Challenge yourself and your co-workers to stay in the moment. Everyone wants to shine and no one wants to let the team down, so just remind each other occasionally.
  • 5. Develop new habits. Think about any and all the near misses you may have had or some you may have heard from your co-workers. Is there something that could have been done to have averted that close call? If so, share that information and practice the step(s) you would employ to avoid it going beyond a near miss.
  • 6. Actively decide to act. Hopefully deciding to do the task in a safe manner, but the point is, don’t act on auto-pilot. Instead, stop, evaluate the course you are about to take, and then “DECIDE” to proceed or not.
  • 7. If you say to yourself, “I need to remember to do this,” and it’s a critical step in ensuring safety, is it enough to rely on your memory or should you create some type of reminder? This may be your last chance, so take action to make sure you do include that critical step.

Finally, in order to avoid complacent behavior that may lead to an accident, we must first accept that we are all prone to complacency – it’s human nature. The next step is to recognize when you are on a path to complacency.

To help put the consequences into perspective, stop and ask yourself, “What is the worst case outcome of my complacency while performing this task?”

And yes, this exercise is to help you realize that many of us are in a very serious business and people can get seriously hurt or worse. Then, find out if any of the tools I have listed above may work for you in the setting you are engaged in. There are many more tools, so find the ones that work and practice them. It’s a great habit to get into – and when that habit feels too routine, avoid complacency once again by finding yet another tool. Keep it new, keep it top-of-mind and keep it safe!

Pat Furr is a chief instructor, technical consultant, VPP Coordinator and Corporate Safety Officer for Roco Rescue, Inc. As a chief instructor, he 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, he served 20 years in the US Air Force as a Pararescueman (PJ).

* Reference: Warning: The Killer to Your Success (“Success” Magazine)
Link is http://darrenhardy.success.com/2015/12/killer-to-your-success/

read more 

Previous Next
1 2 3 4 5 .. 16

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!