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OSHA Steps Up Enforcement

Monday, May 10, 2010

To address urgent safety and health problems facing Americans in the workplace, OSHA is implementing a new Severe Violator Enforcement Program and increasing civil penalty amounts. Announced in an April 22 news release, the SVEP, which will go into effect by the beginning of June, is intended to focus OSHA enforcement resources on employers who endanger workers by repeatedly demonstrating indifference to their responsibilities under the law.

This supplemental enforcement tool includes increased OSHA inspections in these worksites, mandatory OSHA follow-up inspections, and inspections of other worksites of the same employer where similar hazards and deficiencies may be present.

For more information, see the SVEP Directive. Several administrative changes to the penalty calculation system in OSHA’s Field Operations Manual will also become effective in the next several months. The penalty changes will increase the overall dollar amount of all penalties while maintaining OSHA’s policy of reducing penalties for small employers and those acting in good faith.
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Study Proves Four-person Fire Crews Faster

Monday, May 10, 2010

The first study to quantify the effects of crew sizes and arrival times on lifesaving and firefighting operations…

The International Association of Fire Chiefs and the International Association of Fire Fighters hailed a major study released April 28 that showed four-person firefighting crews completed 22 key tasks at a single-family residential fire 30 percent faster than two-person crews and 25 percent faster than three-person crews.

The study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a Commerce Department agency, indicated four-person crews put water on the fire faster, completed laddering and ventilation faster, and finished a primary search and rescue of a non-ambulatory person from an upstairs bedroom faster. “The results from this rigorous scientific study on the most common and deadly fires in the country –- those in single-family residences -– provide quantitative data to fire chiefs and public officials responsible for determining safe staffing levels, station locations, and appropriate funding for community and fire fighter safety,” Harold A. Schaitberger, IAFF’s general president, wrote on the union’s Frontline blog. “This study comes at a crucial time for the fire service. Public officials considering resource cuts cannot ignore the results of this unbiased study,” he added.

“Fire risks grow exponentially. Each minute of delay is critical to the safety of the occupants and firefighters and is directly related to property damage,” said Jason Averill, a principal investigator on the study who leads NIST’s Engineered Fire Safety Group within its Building and Fire Research Laboratory.

Reprinted from: Occupational Health & Safety
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What’s New with NFPA 1006?

Monday, May 03, 2010

Some subtle and not so subtle changes to NFPA 1006 are included in the most current edition. The 2008 edition is now titled “Standard for Technical Rescuer Professional Qualifications”. Today we’ll address some of the changes that have been made to Chapter 4 and Chapter 5 “Job Performance Requirements” which some folks call “core” requirements. We will also cover some of the changes to the Rope Rescue and Confined Space Rescue specialty areas.

Chapter 4, Technical Rescuer

As in the past, a technical rescuer must perform all of the job performance requirements of chapter 5, and at least one of the technician levels of at least one specialty area. This is analogous to the core plus one concept of previous additions. The change has to do with the new technician levels. For each specialty area there are two levels of qualification.

Level I:  An individual who can identify hazards, use equipment, and can apply limited techniques as identified in this standard.

Level II:   An individual who can identify hazards, use equipment, and can apply advanced techniques as identified in this standard.

As an example, an individual could be a level II technician for Confined Space Rescue and a Level I technician for Cave Rescue.

Chapter 5, Job Performance Requirements

A recurring theme first shows up in chapter 5, and it has to do with including specific criteria in terms of distance traveled or minimum height of certain operations.  For example, paragraph 5.5.5 and 5.5.6 have to do with directing a mechanical advantage team in the movement of a load.  The minimum distance of load travel is 3 meters, or 10 feet for those of us who struggle with metric conversion.  In addition, it is required to perform this in both a low angle (5.5.5) and high angle (5.5.6) environment.

Paragraph 5.5.7 now requires the performance as a litter tender in a low angle environment for a load haul or lower distance of 6.1 meters (20 feet).

It is now required to direct a lower in both a low angle environment (5.5.9) and a high angle environment (5.5.10), with a minimum load travel distance of 3 meters.

Paragraphs 5.5.12 requires the operation of a belay during a haul or lower of 10 feet in a high angle environment and 5.5.13 requires the belay of a falling load in a high angle environment.

Chapter 6, Rope Rescue Specialty Area

The Specialty areas include knowledge and performance criteria for Level I Technicians, and additional criteria for Level II Technicians.

Here are some of the changes and additions for level I Technicians

Paragraph 6.1.4 now specifies the compound mechanical advantage operation must be directed in a high angle environment with a load haul distance of at least 6.1 meters or 20 feet.

This next one may be the most significant for some of us.  Paragraph 6.1.5 now requires a minimum rope ascent distance of 20 feet in a high angle environment.

The descent of a fixed rope now specifies that it is to be performed in a high angle environment with a travel distance of at least 6.1 meters.

Level II Rope Rescue Technicians must perform all the Level I requirements and the following additional requirements.

Paragraph 6.2.1 requires the completion of an assignment while suspended from a rope rescue system in a high angle environment at a height of at least 20 feet.

6.2.2 requires the movement of a victim in a high angle environment at least 6.1 meters.

A couple of significant additions include the requirements to perform as a litter tender during a haul or lower in a high angle environment over a minimum 20 foot distance which is outlined in 6.2.3.   And to direct a team in the removal of a victim suspended from rope or webbing in a high angle environment (6.2.4).

Directing a team in the construction and operation of a highline system requires a minimum span of 20 feet.

Chapter 7, Confined Space Rescue Specialty Area

There are only a couple minor changes to this chapter.  First off it is now Chapter 7.  The only other significant changes are the pre-plan and assessment of a confined space incident and the control of hazards is a Level II requirement only.

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