1. #1
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    Default Industrial -VS- Rescue Confined Space Operations

    I was conducting a Confined Space Rescue class the other day on the industry side of the coin and every time I do this I am presented with the same challenge, getting them to think like us. Most companies I've trained utilize cable winches to lower and raise their employees. My first mission for that program is to steer them away from that and teach them to use rope and rope hardware. Is this easy? Easier than you think. My favorite scenario to present to them is this.....
    You lower an employee down into a vessel and half way down (10') the winch jams and the employee is left stranded in mid air, possibly in an IDLH atmosphere. I then ask "Now What" I usually get a lot of blank stares. This is understandable though because they don't think like us and have limited rope training if any. I then explain to them that had they been using rope instead of a wire cable they or us could simply piggyback a MAS onto the employees belay or main line (most wont have a belay line on) and pull them out. A very simple and quick operation.Granted there are several ways to accomplish this rescue I only touch on one method due to the lack of rope rescue experience. I then explain that If we are faced with that situation and no rope was used a rescuer would need to be lowered down and connect a new main line to the employee. I briefly touch on compartment syndrome and how hanging in a harness (especially the fall harnesses they use) can cause serious medical conditions.
    Long story short....How do you handle the industrial side of things if you're an instructor...

    Mike Donahue
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    Mike, good topic of discussion.

    I have the basic technical rescue knowledge/certification and limited real world experience. Member of our department HazMat team as well as the state USAR team. I do some instructing with a private company on the side that mostly does HazMat classes for industry and departments around the area but will also provide training across the whole technical rescue spectrum (rope, confined space, trench.)

    That being said, I think the biggest hurdle to jump when dealing with private industry is that they always want to use what they have on site to use with their company's team, usually fire brigade ran around here. If they have a winch system, that is what they will want to use. Every now and then we come across companies where a change in leadership has occurred and the new leader is open to ideas. This is where the opportunity to show new (and often times better) ways of doing things comes up. Plenty of times we have left a training session with people wanting to upgrade their equipment because of what was shown in training.

    The other thing I see us run into sometimes is that industrial personnel often only train to deal with their target hazards where they will be responding. Obviously there is nothing wrong with this; we would hope they would want to be the most proficient in the skills they most likely may have to use. However, sometimes showing them how other things they don't normally train on can be added and applied to what they DO train and prepare for tends to open some eyes.

    Obviously, technical rescue from the emergency services stand point is different from the industrial stand point; we train for it all, they train for what they have. Bridging the gap is the fun part.
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    Not to hijack this thread, if a worker was stranded mid air for some reason on their tripod (winch jammed) how would we work around their tripod to rescue them?

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    I personally would train them with the equipment they have. They are most likely trained for external rescue primarily and the winch will work fine in most cases. They will be more familiar with the winch as well because most of them double as a yo-yo for fall protection which means they might actually use it. I haven't seen a winch fail, but I have sure seen some boogered up MA systems, particularly after they are re rigged or put away by the least trained guy.

    Regarding a stuck winch, If I had one I would consider rigging to another hole on the tripod and using a reach hook to hook a haul system up or piggy back a haul system onto their retrieval / safety line if they had one.

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    Every day thousands of confined space entry's are made with the CS winches. You are doing them a disservice by telling them that is wrong. You do know they make grabs for wire? Those devices are proven...way more then the haul safe, or pulley systems we use. The less rope knowledge a person has the more important it is they use a device like the cable winch. They provide automatic fall protection when climbing an access ladder and the entrant can be winched up for a self rescue. They generally don't jam, again they are more reliable then our stuff and take the human factor out of it.
    In the scenario of a jammed winch I would look at and evaluate the tripod and probably use it for our system. If any of you teach a class or do a presentation to industry know the OSHA reg inside and out, read the accompanying material and DON'T teach them what we do. They are not us and will never be us. Emphasize monitoring, ventilation, equipment maintenance and inspection and the regulations that will fine them.

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    Also one point that is very important is teaching them when to call 911 (early in the emergency)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Golzy12 View Post
    Not to hijack this thread, if a worker was stranded mid air for some reason on their tripod (winch jammed) how would we work around their tripod to rescue them?
    A quick solution although maybe not the best as far as an easy operation would be to set a tripod up over the existing one. You'll have to play with the ropes a bit during the hauling process but it will get the job done. If you're really fortunate you'll have an overhead anchor other than a tripod you can use.
    MIke Donahue
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halligan84 View Post
    I personally would train them with the equipment they have. They are most likely trained for external rescue primarily and the winch will work fine in most cases. They will be more familiar with the winch as well because most of them double as a yo-yo for fall protection which means they might actually use it. I haven't seen a winch fail, but I have sure seen some boogered up MA systems, particularly after they are re rigged or put away by the least trained guy.

    Regarding a stuck winch, If I had one I would consider rigging to another hole on the tripod and using a reach hook to hook a haul system up or piggy back a haul system onto their retrieval / safety line if they had one.

    I agree training them on heir equipment is a must thats a given but think how much both the workers and in turn us would benefit if they were using ropes instead of cables. We can't piggy back a rope system on to a cable so to safely get the victim out, at least in my opinion someone needs to be lowered down to attach a secure mainline allowing us to raise the victim to the egress point. Had the workers been using ropes we could have then simply piggy backed a system on to the victims line and hauled them to safety. Granted probably 95% of industry uses wire cable and a winch as their raise and lower equipment I guess you can call this my little crusade, my crusade to show them rope is better and safer for them...with a little bit of truing that is.
    Mike Donahue
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    I don't have much experience with cable grabs, but from what I can tell from a little google research, they are similar to a camming ascender (such as a Gibb's). Why can't we attach a cable grab as far as we can reach wither by hand or using an extension and use that to create our attachment to the retrieval device cable, attach our rope MA/mainline to the cam of the cable grab? I'd imagine that if we employed two cable grabs we'd create a PCD at the tripod and be able to continually reset the haul to complete the task. Some very good points brought up with regards to cable winches being pretty reliable. Also training on the equipment that they regularly use is a must. Knowing a little extra regarding ropes and rigging never hurts either. All in all I'd much rather use rope, I think it's much more versatile in any situation, not too mention not too far out of any rescuers comfort zone. I also have to agree that teaching when to call (early and often) is a must also. Much less of a chance of being behind the 8-ball if we can get this simple point across.
    John D. Calamia, BS, NREMTP, FP-C
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    I think another important point is how many confined space accidents occur when ANY equipment is in use. Groups that take the time to train and obtain any equipment are probably far less likely to even have an accident. It seems most confined space emergencies involve untrained entrants and would be rescuers, again with little or no training and equipment.

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    Interesting...I'm wanting our guys to think like them!!

    Of course, every location/company is different. You may have a company that allows their rescuers to regularly train with: ropes, knots, prussik, and haul systems. However, it is my experience, they typically do not. Therefore, as instructors, it's our instructors to train them on their existing equipment and/or recommend devices that make their jobs as easy as possible...or idiot-resistant.

    Mike, as to your question about the cable winch... First, the winch should be in good condition, prior to use. If it doesn't pass inspection, it needs to be removed. Secondly, that device cannot be the sole method of attachment. The entrant also needs a fall arrest device, typically a Self Retracting Lifeline with retrieval capability. In your scenario, the attendant would: summon the rest of the rescue team, engage retrieval unit, and rescue the entrant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mordecai145 View Post
    Interesting...I'm wanting our guys to think like them!!

    Of course, every location/company is different. You may have a company that allows their rescuers to regularly train with: ropes, knots, prussik, and haul systems. However, it is my experience, they typically do not. Therefore, as instructors, it's our instructors to train them on their existing equipment and/or recommend devices that make their jobs as easy as possible...or idiot-resistant.

    Mike, as to your question about the cable winch... First, the winch should be in good condition, prior to use. If it doesn't pass inspection, it needs to be removed. Secondly, that device cannot be the sole method of attachment. The entrant also needs a fall arrest device, typically a Self Retracting Lifeline with retrieval capability. In your scenario, the attendant would: summon the rest of the rescue team, engage retrieval unit, and rescue the entrant.
    Clearly all equipment should be in "good condition" and "inspected regularly" however in my experience this isn't always the reality. I've also seen several confined space operations where the lowering line was the employees only attachment. I chalk up the one connection point and lack of equipment maintenance on lack of training from the employer. I find that giving them a taste of how things are done on the rescue side opens their eyes a bit to what needs to be done on the industrial side of things, why it's done. and how they can make their operation as a whole a lot safer, effective, and efficient. I noticed you'r a new member to the forum, thanks for joining and posting. This is a great place to collaborate with a lot of great minds.
    Stay Safe,
    MIke Donahue

    Mike Donahue
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    Mike- I agree with you 100% that exposing them to some of our "tricks" can be a good thing. However, if they can't inspect and maintain a glorified boat winch...kernmantle rope doesn't stand a chance! Again, a SRL with retrieval needs to be a constant, with any vertical entry CS. The winch is just the tool to lower the entrant in/out of the space.

    Actually, I've been around here for a while...under the username FCDave24. I rarely post and couldn't get my password to work. So, I changed my username.

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