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Quick-Connect Harness Buckle Safety

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Recently, we noticed a story in a leading safety and health magazine that questions the “two-piece, pass-through buckle” that is commonly used on many harnesses. The author, in fact, referred to it as a design flaw. However, we consider it more a matter of improper use than a design flaw. While he does identify some potential user failures, we feel his terming is not quite accurate. Here’s why...

As with any life support equipment, it is imperative to use the equipment in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions for use and receive the appropriate training as required. The author cites instances where he has observed the mating plate of the two-piece, pass-through buckle being improperly oriented which can lead to the buckle loosening and potentially disconnecting. He also suggests that the pass-through plate have some type of “visual indicator” to warn the user when the buckle is improperly connected. Of course, we’re always in favor of additional safety features!

While this may be viewed as a matter of semantics, consider the following analogy… almost every outboard motorboat has one or sometimes multiple drain plugs in the transom well to provide drainage once the boat is pulled out of the water. If the skipper forgets to re-install the drain plugs the next time the boat is launched, the transom well will fill with water, which could lead to swamping. So, is this a design flaw, or improper use? From an equipment designer/manufacturer’s point of view, the use of this terminology could be very significant.

With the many advances in life safety equipment, we have seen harnesses and other rescue/safety equipment become more convenient, lighter, multifunctional, and overall safer than earlier generations. As with many product advances and improvements, there may be compromise in one area but advances in many others. In this case, the speed and ease of donning and doffing a Class III rescue or fall protection harness by using some type of quick-connect buckle. Of course, the user must ensure that the buckle is used correctly.

The pass-through buckle has been around a very long time. In fact, a Croll sport climbing sit harness that I bought in 1981 had this type buckle. These buckles were also used in the past on the leg loops on Roco harnesses. There are minor variations on the design of the buckle with some having slots to ease the pass-through of the top plate, while others do not have this slot.

There are important requirements for the safe use of these buckles, which include:

1.  Make sure the buckle is adjusted tightly enough to ensure constant tension is applied to the top plate against the fixed plate.

2.  Be sure that the top plate is not inverted.

3.  Double check that the tail end of the webbing does not pass through the “fixed plate” but instead lays parallel with the anchored section of the webbing.

These three user points of performance are easily completed. Our extensive experience with this type of buckle tells us that it’s a convenient and safe buckle when used as it was designed. As always, carefully check and re-check your gear before life-loading!

Information from article by Robert Peterson published by OH&S Online - www.ohsonline.com.


 

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New “No-Step” Work-Rescue Harness from Roco & CMC


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Imagine donning a Class III harness in as little as 8 seconds!
That’s just one of the many features of the new CMC/Roco Work-Rescue Harness.


Because of its innovative “no-step” donning, comfort fit and lightweight design, this new harness will appeal to rescuers, rope access technicians, tower climbers, and other professionals working in the vertical environment.

Our design team (aka Roco instructors) joined up with CMC’s engineering and fabrication team to create this new Class III harness with a “no-step-through” design. The harness literally wraps around your body as you don it. After the initial webbing adjustment, it is then fitted to the user with no need to re-adjust the various straps when you re-don the harness. This unique feature allows a user to don the harness and be ready to go in as little as 8 seconds. Compare this to donning a standard Class III where the user has to step through the waist and leg loops, then tighten the buckles and stow the straps. Not to mention when a “dreaded half twist” is discovered in one of the straps requiring the wearer to start all over again.

The CMC/Roco Work-Rescue Harness features comfortable wear especially while suspended. The lightweight proprietary CMC alloy D-Rings reduce the overall weight of the harness, while the addition of a rated attachment point at the back of the waist belt allows for a convenient connection to a fall restraint lanyard.

The harness has many advantages for work-at-height professionals. For rope access technicians, the top of the A-Frame lift is designed to accept a variety of connectors for anchoring chest ascenders. It also includes a closed loop on the chest H-Frame to mount a chest ascender adjustable tow strap.

Tower climbers will benefit from the vertical orientation of the sternal D-Ring, which eliminates binding of ladder safety system cable grabs during down climbs. The sternal D-Ring has a quick release stowage strap that keeps the ring tucked neatly against the chest when not in use.

The harness features ergonomic curves and pre-formed moldings for user comfort and durability while maintaining a modern look. It also incorporates breathable padding on the interior surfaces to reduce heat retention. The dorsal and shoulder pads are a one-piece design created by a vacuum molding process, making it comfortable without sacrificing form for ease of donning.

The Fall Arrest Indicator is another great safety feature available on this harness. The visual on the tag alerts the user if the harness has had a previous fall. 






"Creating a harness that is easier and quicker to don provides a great advantage for rope professionals. The new CMC/Roco Work-Rescue Harness literally wraps around the user's body…once donned and adjusted, it’s then ‘custom fit’ to your body,” according to Chief Instructor Pat Furr, who led Roco’s design team. 

For more information on the CMC/Roco Work-Rescue Harness, or to place your order now, click here.

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Q&A: Sked Stretcher - Is a Backboard Required?

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

READER QUESTION:
Can a patient be lowered in a vertical or horizontal Sked without being lashed to a backboard or without a backboard at all?

ROCO TECH PANEL RESPONSE:

The answer is YES! This is one of the advantages of choosing the Sked stretcher.


It can be used with most (if not all) backboards, with a short spine immobilizer, or with nothing at all.

There are two general considerations in deciding what device to use with the Sked or other flexible litters:

(1) Patient Condition - If spinal injuries or other injuries need the splinting effects or the protection of a backboard, then the victim should be lashed to a backboard. When a backboard is not in place, the Sked will help keep the body in line when tightened; however, the spine can continue to be manipulated up and down as patient is moved over objects or edges which can compromise the spine.

If you are just using the backboard to keep the Sked rigid or protect the patient while placing them over edges, then technically you would not need to lash them to the backboard.

When a confined space is too tight to use a backboard and possible spinal injuries are suspected, or additional protection for placing a patient over an edge is wanted, then a short spinal immobilizer such as the OSS can be used. If a spinal injury is not suspected, then no additional equipment needs to be used with the Sked. It is always good to keep in mind, however, that the thin plastic make-up of the Sked will allow the patient to feel every edge or bump you place or drag them over.


(2) Location
- What size portal do you need to get the patient and packaging through in order to perform the rescue? Many times in portals less than 18-inches, the individual pieces of equipment will fit into the space, but once put together they will not fit back out of the space. The Sked was designed for this specific circumstance. The thin plastic construction allows it to fit in places many other litters will not.

The Sked can also be used vertically with the bottom not curled and secured in cases where a hare-traction splint or other injury doesn’t allow securement at the bottom.

The Sked is a very user-friendly device that can be used in a multitude of configurations and for various applications. This is one of the reasons why it is such a popular rescue tool, especially for confined space rescue! Stay safe!


NOTICE: The information provided on our website and by our Tech Panel is a complimentary service for our readers. Responses are based on our understanding of the reader’s inquiry, the equipment and/or the technique in question. All rescue systems should be evaluated by a competent person before use in the support of any human loads. Proper training is required prior to use of rescue techniques or systems discussed. Because standards and regulations are typically performance based and often dependent on specific circumstances, it is important to review all regulations in their entirety and to follow the proper protocols for your company or organization.

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Potential Safety Issues Regarding Petzl CROLL

Friday, March 21, 2014

6-10-14 Update on Petzl CROLL Potential Safety Issues

After Petzl met with their distributors regarding the Petzl CROLL (B16 & B16AAA) issue, they have provided us with the following statements:

 • Estimated devices that would potentially be exposed to this event is less than 1 in 100,000 devices produced.

• The exposure was only documented in three known devices which were all the old style CROLL (Petzl has redesigned the CROLL and no longer produces the previous generation).

• Petzl has determined that the specific deficiency in devices could only come from either corrosion due to exposure to grain silo work, or from over use of the device (in the primary case it was determined that the device should have been retired at least a year prior to incident).

• After months of testing in various conditions and states of use, Petzl has not been able to replicate the condition documented with these devices in question.

Petzl has redesigned the CROLL to have a stainless steel cam as well as stainless steel reinforcement in the rope channel which attaches to the riveted portion of the device to ensure that there will be no replication of the events that occurred to the three older generation devices. Petzl also has no warranted reason to issue a recall of this device at present or in the near future.

Previous Post:

Roco Rescue has recently learned there are potential safety issues regarding the Petzl Croll (B16 & B16AAA). According to Petzl, two different customers have informed them of the failure of the rivet head on two Petzl Croll rope clamps. Although neither of these failures have led to an accident, the Petzl technical team is urgently reviewing this issue with in-depth investigations to understand what exactly caused these failures.

Petzl wants to remind consumers that "when connected to a rope device, the user must have a back-up device or a connection to a second rope clamp as a secondary means of support." They also encourage that users thoroughly inspect their CROLL B16 & B16AAA to ensure that the rivet head is not missing. The results of this investigation will be released no later than April 18th.

 NOTE: This notice does not affect similar products such as the CROLL B16BAA, ASCENSION or PANTIN. With the facts known today it currently only affects the old CROLL B16 and B16AAA that were produced in 2012.

Stay connected to Roco Rescue for your latest news on this issue.

http://www.petzl.com/us/pro/safety-information-croll-B16AAA-us  

 

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Tribute to Steve Hudson, President of PMI Rope, Inc.

Friday, December 20, 2013

It is with great sadness that we report the death of PMI President Steve Hudson. As a founding member of PMI, Steve was well known throughout the rescue industry for his vast contributions to the advancement of rope and rescue-related products. Truly a pioneer in the rescue field, Steve dedicated his life to creating better and safer products for rescuers. He also worked tirelessly to develop national standards to maintain this quality and excellence. His company and his family can be very proud. A special thanks to Steve and his co-founders at PMI Rope for giving Roco Rescue the opportunity to represent his innovative and lifesaving products for more than 30 years. For this and his many other contributions, we are grateful.

 

 

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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!