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Roco QUICK DRILL #2 - SCBA/SAR Proficiency

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Proficiency in the use of PPE is critical to the safety of rescuers. If you can’t protect yourself, you can’t save others!

1. Disassemble the major system components of SCBA and/or SAR system and place in a room in an unorganized pile.

2. Take groups or individual team members into the room and turn out the lights.

3. Instruct them to put the systems together and don the units before exiting the room.


This forces personnel to rely on their other senses to identify the components and put the systems together. The more an individual’s senses are involved in training, the greater the retention of key elements. It is also a good emergency drill for situations that may require a better understanding of PPE at a time when vision may be restricted.

We want you to make the most of every rescue practice session, so our Roco instructors have created "Quick Drills" that can be used any time you have a few minutes to practice with your team. In order to have a well-rounded rescue team, it is so important to maximize your training time and rotate the skills practiced to keep everyone interested and involved. Make sure you cover the basics as well as any techniques or special needs that may be unique to your response area. As always, practice, practice, practice! And, make sure you have the proper training and equipment to safely and effectively do your job.

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Hazcom 2012 & GHS: What Rescuers Need to Know

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

As an emergency responder, it is important to have a good understanding of the dangers and precautions regarding hazardous chemicals. Whether you’re a member of an in-plant industrial team or a municipal fire department, chemical hazards are always a critical factor in emergency incidents. That’s why it’s imperative to identify any particularly hazardous chemicals in your response area. Learn as much as you can, before the emergency happens.

The Time is Now
The first requirement went into effect in December 2013, which means that workers who use hazardous chemicals must be trained to understand the new Safety Data Sheets (SDS), formerly known as Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). While employees must already have fluency, manufacturers of these products have until December 1, 2015, to switch over to the new format.


OSHA’s HazCom 2012 standard (29 CFR 1910.1200) was revised to align with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). The changes make the information easy to understand across industries, countries and education levels. By adopting and enforcing one standard for labels and safety data sheets that accompany chemicals, employers, workers, health professionals and emergency responders will be better able to address the risks associated with these substances.

As in the past, the HazCom standard imposes certain requirements on manufacturers and importers of chemicals - as well as on employers whose employees can be exposed to chemical hazards in the workplace. The standard “applies to any chemical which is known to be present in the workplace in such a manner that employees may be exposed under normal conditions of use or in a foreseeable emergency.”

Note: This article addresses rescue teams that are subject to Federal OSHA requirements or State Plans operated in lieu of Federal requirements. In states that are not OSHA State Plan states, rescuers employed by a state or political subdivision of the state may not be subject to these requirements.

Q&A for Rescue Teams

Is my rescue team required to meet the HazCom standard?
For rescue services or in-house rescue teams in certain types of industrial facilities, the answer is normally yes. HazCom requirements would apply because team members are working inside the facility and can obviously be exposed to chemical hazards under normal working conditions or in a foreseeable emergency. For others, however, what appears to be a simple answer may not be that simple.

Is compliance required if we don’t work around hazardous chemicals?
The simple answer would seemingly be no, but that answer can be, and likely is, incorrect. In fact, the rescue team often needs to look no farther than its own cache of equipment to find the “hazardous chemical.” The reason the applicability of HazCom to rescue teams is often overlooked is because of assumptions that we make - in this case, rescuers often assume that the term “chemicals” means what we commonly think it means. But, as is often the case with regulations and statutes, words may be specifically defined to include or exclude certain things that common usage does not.

For example, under the HazCom standard, “chemical” means “any substance, or mixture of substances.”  “Hazardous chemical” means “any chemical which is classified as a physical hazard or a health hazard, a simple asphyxiant, combustible dust, pyrophoric gas, or hazard not otherwise classified.” 

As explained by OSHA in its Guidance for Hazard Determination:

The definition of a chemical in the HCS [Hazard Communication Standard] is much broader than that which is commonly used. The HCS definition of chemical is "any element, chemical compound, or mixture of elements and/or compounds."

According to this definition, virtually any product is a "chemical." By this definition, it would mean that “air” is considered a “chemical” under the standard, and OSHA includes “gas under pressure” in its definition of “physical hazards.” Consequently, as one example, the rescue team needs to look no further than its SCBA bottles or its air source for supplied air respirators and charged airlines to find a “hazardous chemical” for purposes of the HazCom standard. Even facilities with comprehensive HazCom programs sometimes overlook their rescue team’s air sources in their programs.

As a rescuer, it's important to get familiar with the new formatting of Safety Data Sheets (SDS) and the GHS symbols now. Make sure to review these standards in their entirety as well as your organization’s HazCom policies and procedures. You and your team will be more prepared as these changes are put into place.

Here's a quick guide to the new GHS symbols from OSHA, which will be required by June 1, 2015.

Note: These new OSHA pictograms do not replace the diamond-shaped DOT labels required for the transport of chemicals.

 

Resources:

National Safety Council’s newsletter, “Safer Workplaces”

OSHA Fact Sheet – Hazard Communication Standard Final Rule

OSHA Quick Card – Hazard Communication Safety Data Sheets


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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.

We also worked with CMC to design a new harness to protect suspended workers from suspension trauma.

For more information please contact Roco Rescue at 800-647-7626 or submit a question to our Tech Panel.
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