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Rescue Challenge 2018

Friday, November 02, 2018

Seven challenging rescue scenarios awaited participating teams at Roco Rescue Challenge 2018 recently held in Baton Rouge. Multiple training props at and near the Roco Training Center (RTC) were used to create the realistic problem-solving scenarios, which included both props at the RTC as well as the training tower and the “industrial prop” at the Baton Rouge Fire Department. These facilities provided a wide variety of rescue scenarios and rigging environments for the teams during the two-day event.

Challenge teams were required to successfully complete scenarios in all six (6) Confined Space Types based on OSHA-defined criteria in addition to Rescue from Fall Protection and Extrication. The scenarios were designed to meet OSHA1 and NFPA2 requirements for annual practice and evaluation of team capabilities as well as the individual rescuers. Participating teams received third party testing of the scenarios and individual rescuer skills along with documentation to back up the testing. Following Rescue Challenge, each team receives a complete report of the scenarios along with their scores, strengths and weaknesses as well as debriefing notes from the instructor evaluators.

Speaking of evaluators, this year featured some of Roco’s top instructors who hailed from Idaho to New York. These individuals are passionate about teaching rescue and improving the performance of their students. No doubt they’re a big part of why the event is so successful and so effective in honing the teams’ skills. In fact, this year’s event was dedicated to the memory of one of our long-time instructors and original Roco Rangers, Mr. Doug Norwood.

All Challenge scenarios are designed to have teaching goals that require different rescue and rigging skills. They included simulated IDLH rescue entries with the use of SAR and SCBA equipment. Also included were single-person and multi-casualty scenarios with a mix of manikins and live victims/evaluators as patients.

Challenge consisted of three different testing criteria to include:
1. Seven rescue scenarios;
2. Individual Performance Evaluations (IPE); and,
3. A Team Performance Evaluation (TPE).

Here is a quick break down of the two-day event:

DAY ONE
Station#1 – CS Types #3, #4 & #6
A worker fell approximately 8 ft. while working on a motor in a fan plenum on a cooling tower. The worker fell through the fan to the cooling pipes below and suffered from heat exhaustion and a possible broken/dislocated hip. Access and egress to the patient and ground was through a series of ladder cages at approximately the 50 ft. level.

Station #2 – Rescue from Fall Protection
A worker who was painting on top of a 50 ft. dome column tower fell onto his fall protection system. Access by the technical rescue team was over the top of the dome to the far side of the tower where rescuers needed to transfer the patient from his system to the rescuer’s system before descending to safety.

Station #3 – CS Types #3 & #2
Three workers were trapped in a “Stack” elevator that jumped off its track. The scenario simulated rescue from a height of 300 ft. requiring knot-passing techniques.

Station #4 – CS Type #4
A reenactment of an OSHA confined space incident where two entrants were injured in a flash fire in a confined space, which required on-air entry using SCBA.

Station #5 – CS Type #4
The rescue of an unconscious worker from a column vessel with multiple internal trays, requiring that the patient be lowered approximately 40 ft. to the ground.

DAY TWO
Station #6 – CS Type #5
A worker was trapped under a piece of machinery (2000lbs+) in a containment vault. Teams used rescue airbags and cribbing to raise and extricate the individual from under the object before completing a low-point confined space rescue from a vertical-entry confined space.

Station #7 – CS Types #1 & #3
Report of a worker down in a low O2 atmosphere in a boiler expansion tank. Teams were forced to ascend a vertical temporary ladder approximately 10 ft. inside a 24-in. tube to access the individual while wearing SAR due to low levels of oxygen.

Station #8 – Individual Performance Evaluation (IPE) 
Individual team members were evaluated on their ability to perform patient packaging, knots, rigging, and mechanical advantage.

Station #9 – Team Performance Evaluation (TPE) 
Teams moved a patient along a multi-stage track referred to as the “Yellow Brick Road.TM” This scenario requires the teams to perform different packaging, raising and lowering techniques in order to move successfully to the next problem-solving station.

Scoring was very tight this year with all teams scoring between 85% to 90% overall. Roco scoring is based on the following: 90% and above “superior rescue team;” 80%-89% “excellent rescue team;” and 70%-79% “capable rescue team.” Scores below 70% require the teams to redo the scenario once it is critiqued and any safety concerns are addressed.

We also had numerous observers at this year’s Challenge both from the municipal and industrial sectors. They reported that they were able to see “first hand” the benefits of Rescue Challenge, and that they are planning on sending teams for next year’s event.
  
One observer commented that the format and location allowed teams to get out of their comfort zones and have a good look at how they would respond to an actual incident at their facility.
Some of the exceptional performances this year included:
Shell-Convent, LA: Overall highest average of 90% for all scenarios.
Valero-Wilmington, CA: 1st place IPE station.
CF Industries-Donaldsonville, LA: 1st place TPE station.
Two Louisiana teams (International Paper-Bogalusa and Shell-Norco) tied for “Top Score” on a single scenario scoring 490 out of 500 possible points.

If you missed this year’s Rescue Challenge, join us next year on October 23-24, 2019, in Baton Rouge. Every year our instructors devise new surprise obstacles to challenge teams with hurdles they’ve never tackled before.
Is your team “Rescue Challenge ready?”

1OSHA 1910.146 Permit-Required Confined Spaces
1910.146(k)(2)(iv) Ensure that affected employees practice making permit space rescues at least once every 12 months, by means of simulated rescue operations in which they remove dummies, manikins, or actual persons from the actual permit spaces or from representative permit spaces. Representative permit spaces shall, with respect to opening size, configuration, and accessibility, simulate the types of permit spaces from which rescue is to be performed.

2NFPA 1006 Technical Rescue Personnel Professional Qualifications
1.2.6* Technical rescue personnel shall remain current with the general knowledge, skills, and JPRs addressed for each level or position of qualification. Technical rescue personnel shall remain current with technical rescue practices and applicable standards and shall demonstrate competency on an annual basis.


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Safe Confined Space Entry - A Team Approach

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Having been involved in training for 30 years, I have had the opportunity to observe how various organizations in many different fields approach confined space entry and rescue. And, when it comes to training for Entrants, Attendants and Entry Supervisors, the amount of time and content varies greatly.

Roco Rescue CS EntryMost often, training programs treat the three functions as separate, independent roles locked into a hierarchy based on the amount of information to be provided. However, it’s critical to note, if any one of these individuals fails to perform his or her function safely or appropriately, the entire system can fail – resulting in property damage, serious injury or even death in a confined space emergency.

Before I go any further, I have also seen tremendous programs that foster cooperation between the three functions and use more of a confined space “entry team” approach. This helps to ensure that the entry is performed safely and efficiently.

It also allows all parties to see the overall big picture of a safe entry operation.
In this model, all personnel are trained to the same level with each position understanding the other roles as well. This approach serves as “checks and balances” for confirming that:

• The permit program works and is properly followed;
• The permit is accurate for the entry being performed;
• All parties are familiar with the various actions that need to occur; and,
• The team knows what is expected of each other to ensure a SAFE ENTRY!

However, I am often surprised to find that Entrant and Attendant personnel have little information about the entry and the precautions that have been taken. They are relying solely on the Entry Supervisor (or their foreman) to ensure that all safety procedures are in place. If you have a well-tuned permit system and a knowledgeable Entry Supervisor, this may be acceptable, but is it wise? As the quality of the permit program decreases, or the knowledge and experience of the Entry Supervisor is diminished, so is the level of safety.


Roco CS Entry Supervisor & AttendantIn my opinion, depending exclusively on the Entry Supervisor is faulty on a couple of levels. First of all, the amount of blind trust that is required of that one person. From the viewpoint of an Entrant, do they really have your best interest in mind? And, we all know what happens when we “ass-u-me” anything! Plus, it puts the Entry Supervisor out there on their own with no feedback or support for ensuring that all the bases are covered correctly. There are no checks and balances, and no team approach to ensuring safety.

Looking at how 1910.146 describes the duties of Entrant, Attendant and Entry Supervisor tends to indicate that each role requires a diminishing amount of information. However, we believe these roles are interrelated, and that a team approach is far safer and more effective. To illustrate this, we often pose various questions to Entrants and Attendants out in the field. Here is a sample of some of the feedback we get.

We may ask Entrants…Who is going to rescue you if something goes wrong? Has the LOTO been properly checked? At what point do you make an emergency exit from the space? What are the acceptable entry conditions, and have these conditions been met? How often should the space be monitored? Typically, the answer is, “I guess when the alarm goes off, or when somebody tells me to get out!”

When we talk to Attendants about their duties, we often find they only know to “blow a horn” or “call the supervisor” if something happens, or if the alarm on the air monitor goes off. We also ask…What about when the Attendant has an air monitor with a 30 ft. hose, and there is no pump? Or, if you have three workers in a vertical space and the entire rescue plan consists of one Attendant, a tripod and a winch, plus no one in the space is attached to the cable – what happens then?
  
These are very real scenarios. Scary, but true. It often shows a lack of knowledge and cooperation between the three functions involved in an entry. And, that’s not even considering compliance!
We ask, would it not be better to train your confined space entry team to the Entry Supervisor level? Wouldn’t you, as an Entrant, want to know the appropriate testing, procedures and equipment required for the entry and specified on the permit? Would it not make sense to walk down LOTO with the Attendant and Entrant? This would better train these individuals to understand non-atmospheric hazards and controls; potential changes in atmosphere; or, how to employ better air monitoring techniques. All crucial information.

More in-depth training allows the entry team to take personal responsibility for their individual safety as well as that of their fellow team members. It also provides multiple views of the hazards and controls including how it will affect each team member’s role. Having an extra set of eyes is always a good thing – especially when dealing with the hazards of permit spaces. Let’s face it, we’re human and can miss something. Having a better-trained workforce, who is acting as a team, greatly reduces this possibility.

Roco Rescue Remote MonitoringMany times, we find that the role of Attendant is looked upon as simply a mandated position with few responsibilities. They normally receive the least amount of training and information about the entry. However, the Attendant often serves as the “safety eyes and ears” for the Entry Supervisor, who may have multiple entries occurring at the same time. In reality, the Attendant becomes the “safety monitor” once the Entry Supervisor okays the entry and leaves for other duties. So, there’s no doubt, the better the Attendant understands the hazards, controls, testing and rescue procedures – the safer that entry is going to be!

As previously mentioned, training requirements for Entrant, Attendant and Supervisor are all over the board with little guidance as to how much training or how in-depth that training should be. Common sense tells us that it makes better sense to train entry personnel for their jobs while raising expectations of their knowledge base.

OSHA begins to address some base qualifications in the new Confined Spaces in Construction standard (1926 Subpart AA) by requiring that all confined spaces be identified and evaluated by a “competent person.” It also requires the Entry Supervisor to be a “qualified person.” Does the regulation go far enough? We don’t think so, nor do some of the facilities who require formal, in-depth training courses for their Entrant, Attendant and Entry Supervisor personnel.

OSHA 1926.32 DEFINITIONS:
• Competent person: “One who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has the authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them.” 
• Qualified person: “One who, by possession of a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing, or who by extensive knowledge, training, and experience, has successfully demonstrated his ability to solve or resolve problems relating to the subject matter, the work, or the project.” 

So, do yourself a favor…go out and interview your Entrants and Attendants on a job.
Find out how much they do (or don’t) understand about the entry and its safety requirements. Do not reprimand them for not knowing, as it may not be their fault. It may be a systemic deficiency and the training mentality of distributing a hierarchy of knowledge based on job assignment.

Simply put, we believe that arming the entry team with additional information results in safer, more effective confined space operations. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? GO TEAM!

Additional Resources:
• Download our Confined Space Entry Quick Reference Checklist. This checklist reiterates the value of approaching permit-required confined space entries as a team. In addition to OSHA-required duties and responsibilities for the three primary roles, we have included our recommendations as well. These are duties that we feel are important for the individual(s) fulfilling that role to be knowledgeable and prepared to perform if need be.

Safe Entry Workshop: Entrant, Attendant & Entry Supervisor is now available. See the full course description for details.

Roco Rescue - Dennis O'Connell

Author's Bio: Dennis O'Connell has been a technical rescue consultant and professional instructor for Roco Rescue since 1989. He joined the company full-time in 2002 and is now the Director of Training and a Chief Instructor. He currently is responsible for Roco's training curriculum to include Confined Space & High Angle, Trench Rescue, Structural Collapse and Instructor Development. Dennis has played a key role in the development of Roco's Rescue Technician certification programs to NFPA 1006. Prior to joining Roco, he served on the NYPD Emergency Services Unit (ESU) for 17 years. He was a member of NY's Task Force 1 and has responded to numerous national disasters such as the World Trade Center and the Oklahoma City bombing.

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