Welcome to the Safety Training Services Blog!

Alex Zielinski

Recent Posts

Where are you? A Question About Workplace Safety...

Posted by Alex Zielinski on Fri, Apr 27, 2018 @ 12:16 PM

This may seem like an odd question, where are you right now? If you had to explain it to someone who had never been there before, how would you tell them to find you? You might say you’re at work, or you’re in the living room. Statements like this paint a clear picture to those who know you. However, “at work” or “at home” or “around the corner” aren’t enough for safety in the workplace.

008Recently an STS employee, working in their full-time position as a firefighter, was dispatched to a critical medical emergency. The caller was stated that the patient was at a major intersection. Crews arrived and could not locate the patient or the caller. A fire engine, and ambulance, and a battalion chief were all eventually involved in locating the patient. Several minutes passed while crews searched the area and dispatch attempted to contact the caller. 15 minutes later the patient was located inside a construction site about half a mile away from the intersection. After the patient had been transported to the hospital it was determined that the contractors at the site were not aware of the building’s address nor the names of the streets at the much nearer intersection.

It is important to have an Emergency Action Plan, it is important to drill and ensure each component operates smoothly in a workplace emergency. It cannot be stressed enough to all workers – you must know the address of your work location if you may ever have to call for outside help in an emergency. Additionally, emergency crews need the same information that you would provide to employees such as site hazards and required PPE. In the above situation an ambulance was driven into an active and fenced construction site and then driven inside an unfinished concrete building.

The goal was to reach the patient and provide emergency care, but the patient could have been reached sooner had the employees known the location of the work site and had a plan for directing emergency crews into the facility. In many cases a few minutes allows a fire to double and triple in size, and 15 minutes or less can have serious implications for medical patients. Know your work site, know the emergency response plan. Ask questions before you ever have a legitimate need to call 911 and know your roles before the emergency.

At the start of your next shift ask yourself how an emergency crew would find you. Do you know the address? Have the police or fire departments been to your facility recently to familiarize themselves with the layout and hazards? How will you communicate these things in an emergency?

Find out what kind of workplace  safety training services we offer...  CLICK HERE!

Tags: workplace safety, emergency response plan

Using OSHA and NFPA to Choose a Confined Space Rescue Team

Posted by Alex Zielinski on Thu, Dec 07, 2017 @ 08:59 AM

Confined Space Rescue Operations Training.jpg
"The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement."

In many parts of the United States there are as many standby high angle or confined space rescue teams as there are confined spaces. How do you choose the right team for your rescue plan? Does each team provide the same quality, competency, and proficiency? No matter if you have worked with the same rescue plan for the last ten years, or you are planning for rescue from your first confined space, here are three things you need to know about choosing a rescue team:


1. NFPA 350 states how quickly your team should be able to rescue

Depending on the hazards and design of the confined space, NFPA 350 Guide for Safe Confined Space Entry and Work specifies how quickly your designated rescue team should be able to react and respond to an emergency within your confined space. NFPA 350 categorizes spaces based on potential or actual hazards

  • Tier I – No recognized hazard but could require technical rescue should a worker become incapacitated
    • Rescue is available to respond within five minutes to the site and is capable of setup and rescue entry within 15 minutes
  • Tier II – Non-life-threatening hazards requiring rapid intervention
    • Rescue is on site, equipped for safe entry and rescue. Capable of setup and rescue entry within 12 to 15 minutes of incident
  • Tier III – Life-threatening hazards requiring immediate intervention. Actual or potential IDLH condition
    • Rescue is fully setup and capable of rescue entry within two minutes of incident. Rescue team should be dedicated to this singular entry with no other responsibilities

2. NFPA 350 states how many people should be on the rescue team

In the industrial setting we often see is a cookie cutter response to confined space rescue needs – always sending the same number of people to the standby site, no matter the hazards of the space and the duties of the rescuers at the scene. NFPA 350 once again shows us what we need:

  • If the confined space has no obstructions OR entanglement hazards AND entrant is properly attached to a retrieval system THEN one rescuer is needed to perform a non-entry rescue.  

  • If the confined space has no obstructions or entanglement hazards, the entrant is not attached to a retrieval system, no potential atmospheric hazards exist, and vertical extraction is not required THEN three rescuers are needed to perform an emergency entry to effect rescue: 1 Rescue Attendant, 2 Rescue Entrants

  • If the confined space has obstructions or entanglement hazards, the entrant is not attached to a retrieval system, there is no potential for atmosphere hazards, and vertical extraction is required THEN five rescuers are needed to perform an emergency entry to effect rescue: 1 Rescue Attendant, 2 Rescue System Operations (with assistance from plant personnel), and 2 Rescue Entrants

  • If the confined space has obstructions or entanglement hazards, the entrant is not attached to a retrieval system, the potential for atmosphere hazards exist, supplied air respirator cannot be used (requiring SCBA, and vertical extraction is not required THEN five rescuers are needed to perform an emergency entry to effect rescue: 1 Rescue Attendant, 2 Person entry team, 2 Rescue Entrants

 

3. Relying on 911 is not good enough

The OSHA Permit-Required Confined Space standards provides criteria for rescue teams in Non-Mandatory Appendix F – Rescue Team or Rescue Service Evaluation Criteria. From Appendix F:

“The employer should meet with the prospective rescue service to facilitate the evaluations…At a minimum, if an off-site rescue service is being considered, the employer must contact the service to plan and coordinate the evaluations required by the standard. Merely posting the service's number or planning to rely on the 911 emergency phone number to obtain these services at the time of a permit space emergency would not comply with paragraph (k)(1) of the standard.”

It is not the intention to state that a fire department is incapable or will refuse to respond because you did not meet with them prior to your confined space work. As of December 2017 there were over 27,000 fire departments in the United States. (source) and each one of those departments can have vastly different capabilities when compared to the next.


“Only 34% of U.S. fire departments in the United States provide Technical/Specialized Rescue services.”
–U.S. Fire Administration (source)

You may have a full-time, on-call, or volunteer department. Each one will have different response times and each one will have different levels of rescue service – some having no confined space ability, and will rely on a neighboring department or county rescue team. When called, the fire department will always respond, but without a conversation, you may be expecting a service that is unavailable. Remember that the fire service in your community is on a first-come first-serve basis, the first person to have an emergency in your community will receive service. The second person or place to have an emergency will receive service but it may be coming from the other side of the city or from the next closest city if your department is called elsewhere. 

For additional resources visit OSHA RESCUE SERVICE REQUIREMENTS where you can view the OSHA and NFPA standards, and download the Rescue Team Evaluation Tool.

Interested in an   STS Rescue Team? Click here to learn more!

Tags: confined space rescue, confined space rescue training, rescue team

Exceptional Rescuers Are Exceptional Entrants

Posted by Alex Zielinski on Tue, Sep 26, 2017 @ 11:52 AM
If you're quick and efficient treating and stabilizing patients, building mechanical advantage systems, and evacuating patients, don’t forget: you’re still entering a confined space. Each space will have its own hazards and unique controls in place such as ventilation, PPE, and lockout tagout. Follow these work practices for safe entry and a rescue may never be necessary. Follow these practices in an emergency and you begin to ensure a stable environment for the rescuer.

What does a permit-required confined space need?

JPK_1174_868.jpg
  1. A written permit, completed and posted at the space
  2. Assessment, control, and monitoring of hazards and/or hazardous conditions
  3. A confined space attendant
  4. A plan for rescue
  5. Communicating the hazards and control methods to workers
  6. Appropriate training and PPE
  7. Review of the plan
  8. Appropriate signage and barriers to prevent unauthorized access

No matter if you are a firefighter, technical rescuer, or industrial emergency responder, the OSHA standard for Permit-Required Confined Spaces states that rescuers must be:

“Trained to perform assigned rescue duties. The employer must ensure that such employees successfully complete the training required to establish proficiency as an authorized entrant…”

The presence of an emergency doesn’t allow us to ignore safety – prior to entering or supervising a confined space all entrants, attendants, supervisors, and rescuers must be trained in the duties they’re expected to perform. No matter their role they must know the space hazards, including the route, symptoms, and consequences of exposure to the hazards in the space.

Get training to build on your team’s role as rescuers, make them competent entrants with a hands-on, interactive confined space entrant program.

Interested in an   STS Rescue Team? Click here to learn more!

Tags: confined space attendant, confined space rescue, rescue team

Is there more than one way to tie a knot?

Posted by Alex Zielinski on Tue, Jul 18, 2017 @ 02:29 PM

In high angle rescue or confined space rescue the crux of our rescue systems are our knots. It is important as a rescuer that you understand the strengths, limitations, and appropriate applications of the knots your team uses, but is there more than one way to tie each knot?

Is there more than one way to tie a knot? YES!

As an instructor and a rescuer it is important to know multiple ways to reach the same destination. What I mean by this is that you knowing multiple paths or techniques to reach your end result of a successful rescue is paramount since most teams operate in anything but routine environments.

As a rescuer you may be in a situation that is not routine, that doesn't lend itself to the one method you learned in that one class, that method to rig a system or tie a knot may not be practical because you are now inverted in a confined space with multiple patients below you.

As an instructor you may have students who have been tying knots since birth and others who have never held a piece of rope in their life. You cannot take the approach that the student just isn't getting it, perhaps you're just not teaching it the way that works for them. Knowing multiple methods may help you find the way that works for a particular individual - guide them, show them the other methods.

As long as any given method brings us to the same end result, without any extra twists or strain to the rope, and Rope rescue & butterfly knotwithout using an extraordinary amount of time, it is an acceptable method. The goal here is to be proficient in whatever you do and be capable of doing it and 3 A.M. when called to a rescue.

As an example, I am aware of three ways to tie an Alpine Butterfly or Lineman's Knot: the twist method and two variations on the hand-wrap method. Any of these three methods creates the chosen knot and any argument made for one method over the other is typically only a matter of preference since you are creating the same knot each time.  

Don't let yourself become the victim of routine or complacency. Because you ALWAYS work standby rescue for only two types of confined spaces, or you ONLY pick-off workers from a fall into their harness doesn't justify knowing ONLY that single method that you work with each time. At some point your routine will be broken, equipment will be missing or fail, or you'll have multiple patients outside of your routine situation. Get out of your comfort zone and never stop preparing. There are multiple ways to tie knots. Learn a new one today!

Find out what kind of workplace  safety training services we offer...  CLICK HERE!

Tags: confined space rescue, confined space rescue training, butterfly knot, ways to tie a knot

Indiana Rope Rescue Technician: Do I Need Annual Training?

Posted by Alex Zielinski on Thu, Jul 06, 2017 @ 09:29 AM

After passing the state’s written test and practical skills you may feel like a certified rope technician who can take on the world. Depending on your level of training and experience you might be capable of rigging the world, maybe not. More importantly, do you know what's required to maintain your certification?

In the state of Indiana your Operations or Technician level certification never expires. Currently, from the state, there is no refresher or continuing education requirement. You could train eight hours per week or never touch a carabiner after your class and, in both cases, you remain certified.

Rescue Team 01Is the Indiana Department of Homeland Security the only governing body for you as a rope rescue technician? NO!

What standards apply to you as a rescuer in Indiana? MANY!

NFPA 1670 specifies requirements for your organization or authority having jurisdiction. NFPA 1006 specifies technical job performance requirements in which you should be competent. A requirement for your initial training was to meet NFPA 1006 requirements in addition to the CMC Rope Rescue Manual 4th edition. NFPA 1983, though often cited as a use standard, specifies testing and certification requirements for software and hardware used for rescue.

None of these standards states specifically that a certain amount of training is required to maintain certification or proficiency, only that you need to be competent in specific skills, though it doesn't specify how often it should be assessed or demonstrated. From NFPA 1006 we can infer that as long as you are a practicing rope rescue technician you need to be able to perform those skills.

No matter what NFPA says, it is arguable that NFPA standards are not enforceable by law. Unless adopted by Indiana codeRope Rescue 01 they are not criminally punishable. The counter to this argument is that if your rescue team was negligent and did not adhere to a standard and caused an injury or death, your team may be held liable for not following an industry consensus standard.

Standards developed by NFPA and similar standards development organizations (SDOs) are "voluntary consensus standards," created through procedures accredited for their consensus decision-making, openness, balance of interests represented, and fairness by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

Can we be more specific? YES!

OSHA may be misunderstood by some in the fire or rescue service. In a great deal of firefighter or rescue training there is not a lot conveyed about OSHA and its applicability to firefighters in the state of Indiana. OSHA states more clearly an annual training requirement for confined space rescue teams though it is not considered a very robust or demanding standard.

Relevant sections of 29 CFR 1910.146:

CFR 1910.146(k)(1)(iii)
Select a rescue team or service from those evaluated that:

1910.146(k)(1)(iii)(A)
Has the capability to reach the victim(s) within a time frame that is appropriate for the permit space hazard(s) identified;

1910.146(k)(1)(iii)(B)
Is equipped for and proficient in performing the needed rescue services;

 

Again, we see here general provisions that a rescuer must be capable and proficient.

The 1910.146 gets more specific:

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.

 

So, once every 12 months a rescue must be simulated. Also in this standard is the statement that if you had to perform a live rescue in a true emergency you may count that actual emergency as your annual rescue training.

Now, before this article gets too far in too many directions let me summarize:

· The Indiana Rope Rescue program requires no recertification or continuing education to remain certified.

· Every standard (NFPA 350, 1006, 1670 and OSHA 1910.146) applicable to rope rescue states that a rescuer must be proficient and/or competent.

Only OSHA's confined space standard states that a rescue be performed annually. You need to perform and document hours of training to meet standards but also perform highly technical skills under extremely stressful conditions.

Rope Rescue 02If your company or your department provides rescue services your employees must be prepared. One training drill annually does not create proficient rescuers. From the classes I have taught it is easy to distinguish the students who train monthly or weekly from the students who only train annually. Lacking proficiency in basic knots is a clear indication that you are not prepared for a rescue today.

In conclusion, the National Fire Academy, in its studies and training on initial and established rapid intervention teams (firefighters who rescue trapped or lost firefighters from fires) acknowledges that this is a physically and mentally demanding task. They state that the minimum set forth by applicable standards (two firefighters performing no other task but standby to initiate rescue) is not enough to prepare the rescuer for the stressful conditions they will encounter and state that the standard for rescuing downed firefighters should be viewed as the minimum.

In this same way, standards applied to your rescue teams should be seen as the minimum. Always aim higher because your coworkers and your community demands it. Do you want you rescuing you?

Interested in an   STS Rescue Team? Click here to learn more!

Tags: rope rescue, rescue team

Confined Space Rescue Methods: Entry or Retrieval

Posted by Alex Zielinski on Mon, Jun 26, 2017 @ 08:57 AM

Confined space rescue trainingWhile there are countless rescue classes, instructors, books, and online resources to learn confined space rescue, there is no universal standard that dictates how a confined space or industrial rescue should be conducted. What should be universal is the careful assessment of the hazards within the space to create a safe environment for the confined space entrant. There are many common practices but what might be true and accepted in one part of the world may not be held in the same regard in another workplace. There are as many choices in rescue type as there are unique confined spaces in existence but generally there are two types – entry rescue and non-entry (or retrieval) rescue. No matter who might provide these services, fire departments, in-house rescue teams, or contract personnel on standby, it is important to understand the intended scope and limitations of each.

While our primary concern is the safety of the entrant, let’s consider for a moment the financial impact of non-entry and entry rescue. If the design and hazards of a given space allow for it, non-entry rescue requires far less investment by the employer and is a satisfactory rescue method. In its simplest form, non-entry rescue requires a tripod (or other anchor) and a winch rated for human beings (not tools and equipment). Any employee entering the space would require a harness in addition to the training required to perform entry, initiate a rescue, or operate as a confined space attendant. If there are no obstructions within the space, this can be daily routine for many in order to enter a space and it can be the rescue method – no additional personnel are required to enter the hazardous space in order to retrieve or rescue the entrant.

The leanest confined space rescue team, in terms of equipment, and streamlined and who is responsible confined space rescueto make entry in the event of an emergency will require countless hours of training to maintain proficiency in patient care, personal protective equipment, atmospheric monitoring, and rescue techniques. Additionally, there should be training which addresses the stressful nature of rescue when the rescuer personally knows the coworker needing rescue, as well as any additional hazards now present within the space. Confined spaces are hazardous at the start of a work day, if you have an emergency within the space it is multiplying the complexity of the incident. OSHA requires that entry rescue teams perform at least one rescue per year. The following statement may sound extreme – do you want a rescuer entering a confined space to rescue you if that rescuer has only performed one rescue? Your rescue team now has the need to perform under stressful conditions with a variety of equipment, within a variety of spaces, using one of hundreds of techniques to remove the entrant having an emergency.

What does this have to do with cost? You can maintain an OSHA compliant rescue team with team members performing one rescue per year, but they may be ineffective. As a confined space rescue instructor, I have encountered teams who train weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually. Those who only train annually may eventually rescue or recover the entrant. Those who train annually, when compared to rescuers who train monthly or more, typically lack the confidence and quick decision-making skill to accurately and expediently size-up the emergency, make entry, and retrieve the entrant.

With these considerations, your choice of entry or non-entry rescue may be quite clear in terms of your budget. However, if your confined spaces do not allow an unconscious person to be successfully retrieved from around, under, or over obstructions in your confined spaces you must have a safe and proficient entry rescue team.

 

“But, we call the fire department if we have a confined space emergency!”

 

Do you know the average response time of your local fire department? Depending on your location it could be less than five minutes, maybe ten minutes, possibly fifteen minutes, or even greater. Once you’ve assessed your fire department and their response time, add at least ten minutes. Why are we counting minutes? Let’s assume the team is available, their response time to your facility is only 6 minutes. Once they have arrived they will assess the situation, form a plan, gather equipment, and assemble at the space to begin rescue. If you are currently entertaining the idea of the fire department as your rescue team you must ask yourself, in the absolute worst atmosphere that your employees may encounter will they be able to hold their breath for 5-25 minutes? Eliminate any emergencies related to the space itself, consider only medical emergencies such as low blood sugar, cardiac arrest, or traumatic injuries from a fall from scaffolding inside the space. With a window of 5-25 minutes your employee may have gone from a very survivable situation to one that may not be reversible.

 

“What does this have to do with my non-entry rescue team?”

 

This has everything to do with your non-entry team because the next step in a failed non-entry rescue is entry rescue. Every non-entry rescue can quickly become an entry rescue because:

  • A collapsed entrant’s body position does not allow the use of a winch without further injury
  • An injured entrant may be positioned behind a wall, pumps, or other equipment in the space
  • The sludge pit, metering pit, or other space does not allow for use of an industrial tripod and that’s the only equipment your non-entry team has
  • Your non-entry rescue equipment, such as tripod and winch, have had a mechanical failure
  • The non-entry rescue personnel have not been adequately trained in the use of the tripod and winch

You may rely on non-entry rescue but someone but either your team or your fire department will be the next step if the chain of events are anything but routine.

The decision of rescue method comes down to the nature of the space and the proficiency of your team. Do your spaces have obstructions or a narrow opening that would make it difficult to remove an unconscious patient? If yes, you need to a plan for entry rescue. Do your spaces lack internal configurations and obstructions? Does the opening to the space make it possible to remove an unconscious person? If yes, you could initiate a non-entry rescue. No matter your choice, your method, or your hazards, no one wants a rescuer who has limited training, “just enough” training, or the “minimum requirement.” Create an environment for your rescuers and the expectations you have for them where you are building confidence, critical thinking ability, and they are demonstrating competency.

Interested in Confined  Space Training? Click here to learn more!Interested in an   STS Rescue Team? Click here to learn more!

Tags: confined space, confined space rescue, confined space rescue training

Who Can Teach HAZWOPER Refresher Classes?

Posted by Alex Zielinski on Mon, Apr 03, 2017 @ 02:27 PM
In many of our 40-hour HAZWOPER or HAZMAT classes the question is asked, “Who can teach my 8-hour refresher class?” One case a student asked this question because nearly the entire workforce of the company was in the training class EXCEPT for anyone from the safety department who would later be responsible for teaching the refresher material. So, what is this refresher? In OSHA’s Hazardous Materials standard (1910.120) it specifies that if you are an employee that is required to receive HAZWOPER training you are also required to have eight hours of refresher training annually. OSHA, however, does not certify instructors. The helpful (or tricky) language in the standard states:

1910.120(e)(6) Qualifications for trainers. Trainers shall be qualified to instruct employees about the subject matter that is being presented in training. Such trainers shall have satisfactorily completed a training program for teaching the subjects they are expected to teach, or they shall have the academic credentials and instructional experience necessary for teaching the subjects. Instructors shall demonstrate competent instructional skills and knowledge of the applicable subject matter.

So, this hopefully clears up the question, right? However, this statement doesn’t prevent a subject matter expert who may have not completed the 40-hour HAZWOPER class from teaching a portion of the class. To answer the question at the start of this post, the safety person who didn’t attend the course could certainly teach something within the realm of HAZWOPER if they completed a training program for the subjects, have academic credentials and instructional experience. They must be competent in what they are teaching the students.

Further in the standard it speaks specifically to refresher training 1910.120(e)(8) which, very basically, restates the requirements of the initial class and that they should be met in the refresher training. 1910.120(q)(8)(i) also states employees shall receive annual refresher training of sufficient content and duration to maintain their competencies, or shall demonstrate competency in those areas at least yearly.

Hazwoper Refresher TrainingAccording to 1910.120(e)(8) you should be covering the following:

  • Names of personnel and alternates responsible for site safety and health
  • Safety, health, and other hazards present on the site
  • Use of personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Work practices by which the employee can minimize risks from hazards
  • Safe use of engineering controls and equipment on the site
  • Medical surveillance requirements including recognition of symptoms and signs which might indicate over exposure to hazards
  • Site safety and health plan
  • Any critique of incidents that have occurred in the past year that can serve as training examples of related work, and other relevant topics

If your HAZWOPER refresher instructor is capable of providing this instruction and meets the other requirements for a “qualified trainer,” they certainly can teach. What the concern might be is that someone who has no training in a fully encapsulating protective suit is now teaching a group of people who must be competently trained and refreshed annually to do so – following the standard this person would not be authorized to teach this section, though could be qualified in other areas.

Throughout the OSHA standard there are various exceptions and alternate conditions for training [1910.120(e)(9)], new employees [1910.120(p)(7)], and employees who have received HAZWOPER training previously but are new to the site [1910.120(e)(9)].

This may have helped you determine who can teach your training. Certainly, if you have any questions regarding any aspect of HAZWOPER training please reach out to us, we’d be happy to walk through our process or your process and needs with you.

Contact Safety Training Services Today!

Tags: hazwoper, hazwoper refresher, ppe

Confined Spaces: Why Do I Need A Permit Now?

Posted by Alex Zielinski on Thu, Feb 09, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

A great question came up in last week's 40 hour HAZWOPER class:

“We've been working in this same confined space for years. Originally it was a non-permit confined space, now safety tells us we need a confined space permit to enter and do the same work we've been doing. Why?”

First let’s examine the definitions of a confined space.

Permit Confined SpaceWhat is a confined space?

  • Large enough to enter and perform work
  • Restricted means for entry or exit
  • Is not designed for continuous occupancy

What has to be present for a confined space to require confined space permit?

  • Contains or has the potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere
  • Contains material that has the potential to engulf an entrant
  • Has walls that converge inward or floors that slope downward and taper into a smaller area which could trap or asphyxiate the entrant
  • Contains any other recognized safety or health hazard, such as unguarded machinery, exposed live wires, or an environment conducive to heat stress

After some conversation we eliminated the possibility that any changes had been made to the confined space. The nature of the work inside the space and the substance present within the space had not changed. What could have happened? Safety could have reassessed the space and erred on the side of safety, or if a proper hazard assessment had not taken place before, it's possible an assessment of the confined space took place. 

Depending on what truly occurred this may paint the safety department or culture in a negative light. This might not be the case, what should be emphasized is that an assessment has taken place, documented, and now the work site has another layer of protection because of the requirements of a confined space permit.

If there are any doubts about your confined spaces OSHA has an interactive assessment tool to aid your assessment process – OSHA Confined Spaces Advisor. Additionally, always ensure that your entrants and rescuers are properly trained as well as anyone else assessing the hazards or the nature of the work inside.

Interested in Confined  Space Training? Click here to learn more!

Tags: confined space, safety training, permit confined space

Rope Rescue Techniques: Ladder Hinge

Posted by Alex Zielinski on Fri, Jan 27, 2017 @ 09:56 AM

In the last few weeks there has been a particular video circulating through various online firefighter and rescue groups Rope Rescue Technique-Ladder Hinge.pngthat caught my attention. In the video firefighters are using a ladder, backboard, and rope to move a patient from a roof or second floor to the ground. Depending where you were watching this video there were some great comments about thinking outside the box and using alternative methods to raise and lower patients. There were a large number of comments that were a little deceiving; comments attributed this rescue technique -- a ladder hinge -- to the fire department in the video. It's great to see this technique being used, but by today's standards it may be considered an old school technique. The ladder hinge gets overlooked or forgotten about when so many people are arguing over which friction device is the best. Depending on your location in the country or the world this technique is still taught, relied upon, and used regularly. For another take on a ladder hinge rescue see video link below.

It is not my intention to thoroughly train you to use this rope rescue technique; only to provide a few things to consider in order to operate safely.

Patient Packaging

Before you tie any knot for rescue consider the patient packaging device -- not all spine boards, litters, and rescue baskets are created equal, nor can they be easily substituted on the fly without some loss of strength. Ensure you aren't exceeding the device's load rating. It may be rated for an 800-1,200 pound patient when carried or used to drag a patient horizontally, but that does not necessarily mean that can rig this patient basket for any type of rescue situation. Injuries or suspected injuries must be considered and protected and we can provide these things by lashing the patient to a long spine board and then lashing patient and board into the rescue rated basket.

Stability

If using a rescue basket (ensuring the patient is lashed appropriately), this basket needs to have three points of contact. If the basket has a single connection to the ladder and a single connection to the lowering rope the basket is less stable. One connection to the lowering rope and two connections to the ladder, webbing, or some other means to secure around each ladder rail, will prevent tipping or rotating the basket.

Control

With enough personnel to support the ladder on the ground, and rigged with guy lines, the rescuer with the lowering rope may feel that they can control the rate of patient raising or lowering by hand alone. A safety consideration is to secure your rope to the rescue basket and then find an appropriate anchor for a friction device such as an MPD, bar rack, or Rescue 8. Rigging your ladder hinge with one of these devices on the line prevents catastrophic failure of your load should something happen and the rescuer lose control of the line.

As a rope rescue technique, a ladder hinge is a great option available to the fire department or an industrial rescue team. When performed safely and practiced regularly this rescue method can quickly evacuate patients to the ground or to higher elevations. And always remember: before implementation of any new equipment or techniques always seek out training from a qualified instructor.

Contact Safety Training Services Today!

Tags: rope rescue, firefighter, ladder rescue, rescue team, safety training

Exception to the Rule: Confined Space Attendant

Posted by Alex Zielinski on Wed, Jan 18, 2017 @ 10:05 AM
If you have spent any length of time working in a trade, chemical facility, manufacturing plant, warehouse, or anything in between you have probably been through your fair share of safety briefings, orientations, and safety audits. While these are, hopefully, giving you site specific safety information let's focus on one often repeated misconception about confined spaces.

If you work on, in, around, or near confined spaces you're familiar with the roles involved - attendant, entrant, supervisor
Confined Space Attendant - and you know their functions and responsibilities. Generally speaking, in a permit-required confined space operation the supervisor supervises, the entrant makes entry, and the confined space attendant does nothing but attend, right?

What most programs will state is that the attendant is responsible for monitoring the safety of the workers working inside the confined space. The attendant is responsible for log-keeping, air monitoring, summoning help, and maybe even attempting non-entry rescue. Some of these subjects vary in their teachings and to what extent you're permitted or required to do them. One thing they always agree on, THE ATTENDANT NEVER ENTERS THE SPACE!

This information is true, to some degree. OSHA requires an attendant and the attendant is responsible for everyone inside, but, when you investigate the confined space standard an attendant is allowed to enter a space.

In the standard, 1910.146, it states:

"Attendant" means an individual stationed outside one or more permit spaces who monitors the authorized entrants and who performs all attendant's duties assigned in the employer's permit space program.

1910.146(i)(4) gives a seldom-mentioned exception to the rule of "an attendant never enters:"

NOTE: When the employer's permit entry program allows attendant entry for rescue, attendants may enter a permit space to attempt a rescue if they have been trained and equipped for rescue operations as required by paragraph (k)(1) of this section and if they have been relieved as required by paragraph (i)(4) of this section.

While this is not drastically different from what you may know, it is important to know that an attendant is, under specific conditions, permitted to make entry. I have yet to see this procedure as part of a confined space program in the real world but it doesn't mean it is impractical or without merit. If your attendant is trained and equipped for rescue, and they've been relieved by a competently trained attendant, they could enter to initiate patient treatment or extraction.

A problem in relying upon this method of rescue would be locating a second attendant. It is more expedient to have an attendant and rescuer(s) present at the confined space job site, but if this is your cost-effective consideration you may have shortened the length of time it takes to rescue the entrant. 


If you are looking for more information on confined spaces, confined space training, or if you are looking to hire a confined space attendant or a confined space rescue team, contact Safety Training Services today!

Contact Safety Training Services Today!

Tags: confined space attendant, confined space attendant training, confined space, confined space hazards, confined space training