What’s Your Fall or Confined Space Rescue Plan?

You have a fall protection program. You have a confined space procedure, That’s all great and good but even the best laid plans of mice and men, as they say… So what’s your rescue plan? What’s going to happen when, despite all the training and preparations, something goes wrong?

All too often, as we call on customers we hear them answer that question with “We’ll call 911!”

Maybe it’s time to reexamine that rescue plan for a number of reasons:

  1. Are 911 emergency personnel going to be able to able to make it there in time? In a great many cases, unless you’re right next door the fire department response times are going to be high; to high to save the life or lives.
  2. Are 911 personnel trained in the kind of rescue that is necessary? Confined Space rescue and rescues after a fall aren’t normally among the training that 911 emergency personnel get. They might not be able to do a proper rescue.
  3. Do emergency personnel have the right equipment? Rescues from falls and confined space require specialized equipment. Don’t assume that your fire department or 911 emergency response team has this gear, especially in smaller towns where there isn’t a lot of funds.

OSHA requires you to have an emergency rescue procedure and plan in place. If you haven’t checked with your local 911 team to see if they can meet the above criteria, you’ll be held responsible, not them.

Start with proper training like the training available through convergence training but don’t stop there. Run through the scenario and have emergency drills. Mainly, make sure that you are equipped and prepared because once you’re in the middle of an emergency it’s too late to find out that your local 911 response team can’t handle the job.

At What Point in a Rescue Operation Should You Call 911?

When do you call 911 in case of emergency? In most cases it’s pretty obvious but in other instances it isn’t as cut and dry.

A perfect example is the court ruling that recently cost Dukane Precast, Inc. a $70,000 fine (not to mention the cost of the medical bills for the employee in question). Here’s what happened…

William Ortiz was in a sand storage bin outside Chicago Illinois when the sand beneath him shifted and trapped him with just his head above the sand line. Other workers in the area were able to free his arms and torso but his waist and legs remained trapped. Someone went and got the supervisor after 10 minutes and the supervisor ordered other workers to help free Ortiz but the sand kept shifting and they were unable to get him free.

After 90 minutes of being trapped and of trying to extract Ortiz, the supervisor finally called 911. It took emergency workers almost 4 hours to get him out of the sand and he was then taken to the hospital. He suffered damage to his lower back as well as a torn meniscus due to the pressure of the sand on his legs and lower back.

At issue is whether the supervisor should have immediately called 911 or whether or not he was justified in waiting till they had tried their own rescue attempts.

OSHA requirements for confined space state that a company is required to “develop and implement procedures for summoning rescue and emergency services, for rescuing entrants from permit spaces, for providing necessary emergency services to rescued employees, and for preventing unauthorized personnel from attempting a rescue.

While the first phase of this rescue plan seems to indicate that calling 911 is important, it also seems that an alternative is given in cases where they believe that they can safely do the rescue themselves.

Do you believe that Dukane was negligent? Should they have called 911 before attempting to free Ortiz? What it “negligence”?

Let me know what you think!

www.smart911.com for faster response

Have you heard about www.smart911.com? You need to if you haven’t.


This from their website:

“Smart911 is a free service that allows citizens across the U.S. to create a Safety Profile for their household that includes any information they want 9-1-1 to have in the event of an emergency. Then, when anyone in that household dials 9-1-1 from a phone associated with their Safety Profile, their profile is immediately displayed to the 9-1-1 call taker providing additional information that can be used to facilitate the proper response to the proper location. At a time when seconds count, being able to provide 9-1-1 with all details that could impact response the second an emergency call is placed could be the difference between life and death.”

Sign up and list every phone associated with your household along with the medical conditions, physical disabilities, seniors and elderly, pets and service animals and anything else that emergency responders need to know in case of emergency. If anyone calls from one of the phone listed, the 911 operator has immediate access to that information and can communicate it to responders.

Because there are times when seconds makes a difference between life and death.

What happens after the fall?

You’ve got a bunch of workers in harnesses to protect them in the case of a fall because they are working from heights. That’s great! Got trained them on how to don the harness, where to tie off and all the other basics of your fall protection program. Awesome! You’re familiar with the ABCs of fall protection (Anchor, Body harness, Connector) and you’ve got a written fall protection program. All very good!

Stop a minute though and consider what happens when one of those workers does take a fall. The emergency isn’t over just because everything functioned as it should and the worker is alive and well and didn’t hit the ground. In fact, some would argue, the emergency has just begun.

Probably the single biggest flaw we consistently find in a companies’ fall protection program is the lack of an emergency rescue plan. When asked “What now?” about what will happen after the fall takes place, the most common answer we here is “We’ll call 911!”. Problem is that’s not an acceptable emergency rescue plan, firstly because OSHA mandates that you have more to it than that, and secondly because 911 personnel simply isn’t trained to do emergency fall protection rescue and finally, because every second after the fall counts.

If you don’t have an emergency rescue plan in place, here’s a great place to start:


This 41 minute video will walk you through every aspect of the emergency rescue plan that you need to have in place. (click on the image above or go to http://www.slideshare.net/kmesser/developing-and-maintaining-fall-protection-rescue-plans

A Tatoo that could save your childs’ life!

Stumbled across a website the other day that I just have to share with you, http://www.safetytat.com/

What is it? Simply put they are temporary tatoos (you know the kind the kids have put on at the fair or at a kids’ birthday party) that contain important information like your childs’ allergies and/or an emergency contact phone number.

They come in a couple of different formats.

1. The original safety tattoo that is applied with water and last anywhere from 1 to 5 days although they recommend reapplying a new one each day. Once the temporary tattoo is applied you simply use a permanent marker to write on the information needed.

2. Quick Stick Write-on! Child ID Tattoo that requires no water to apply. They are sweat-proof and water-proof and last up to two weeks.

There are several designs and styles in both formats so you’re sure to find one that your child will proudly sport till his or her friends get jealous enough to tell their parents about it as well.

SafetyTat1  safetytat3 Safetytat4 Safetytat5Safetytat2

Safety Tips for Crowded Venues

I don’t know a parent who hasn’t experienced it, that sinking feeling when you suddenly realize that you can’t see your child and don’t know where he or she has gotten to.

“He was here a second ago! How far could he have gotten?”

Fortunately, the child is usually found fairly rapidly but such isn’t always the case.

So how do we take our children out in public, especially in crowds, and still make sure that they are going to be safe?

We can’t guarantee that something won’t happen, but we can take some measures to keep them as safe as possible by following a few simple safety precautions.

1. Make sure that they are wearing easily identifiable clothing that is bright and easy to spot, even from a distance away. A bright yellow shirt is easier to spot in a crowd than a dull grey one. Add other identifiable accessories (brightly covered hair accessories, arm bands, reflective stripes, etc…) that’ll help you see them quickly when scanning a crowd for a child that was “there a second ago”!

2. Have identification on your child. List the child’s name, blood type, any emergency medical information as well as your contact information, a contact number for someone who is at another loacation (an aunt, grandparents, etc…) so that if they can get a hold of you they can still get a hold of someone who can help get your child home). https://ice4safety.com/purchase/ has a variety of products that are waterproof and can’t help you make sure that your child has, on him or her, all the information needed to help anyone who finds your child able to contact you.

3. If possible, get a cell phone for each child and teach them how to use it to call you if they get separated. Put your number in speed dial and show them how to dial it. Make sure they know how to answer the phone in case you are calling them. Make sure it’s in a zip up pocket or something similar where it won’t fall out.

4. Use the camera in the phone to take pictures. Take a picture of yourself for the phone that’s going to be in the child’s possession and take a photo of each of your children for yours. Take it right before you leave so that it shows the clothing they are wearing. This will make it a lot easier to the police to identify and spot your child if they need to search for him or her.

5. Make a plan ahead of time. Set up a rendez-vous point and make sure that your kids know where it is, where they will know to go if they get lost. Get down on their level to make sure they can see the landmark that you’ve designated. Make sure they understand how to get there and that they are supposed to wait there until you get there (Parents often tell kids to go to a meeting place without understanding that the child thinks the parent will be there when they get there and panic when the parent isn’t. Make sure they understand that they may get there before you do and that if that happens, they need to wait).

6. Make sure that your children know who is safe to approach for help when they are lost. Teach them what a police officer or a security guard looks like. Teach them to ask for help from someone behind a counter in a place of business if they can’t find a policeman. Make sure, however, that they understand to ask for help from a woman in this case, rather than a man (predators are typically men who are by themselves).

Make sure that you children understand to call first, to go to a meet-up spot second, etc… and they will hopefully not need to ask for help from a stranger. Teach them to look determined and walk with a purpose, not confused and lost which would draw the attention of a predator.

Kids are small. They can easily get separated in a sea of legs and follow the wrong pair of legs thinking they are still following their parent or guardian. Keep them close, especially when the crowd gets more dense. Hold their hand or carry them when possible. Failing that, however, having a backup plan to help you reconnect with your child as soon as possible if the unthinkable should happen is essential. A little foresight and preparation can turn a “uh oh!” moment from becoming a “Oh! NO!” one.