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    • Hal Lomax

      Toolbox Safety Meetings have been around now for about 30 years. Rather than being an out-dated concept, the Toolbox Safety Meeting is more relevant today than it ever was. But are we using them to their full potential?

      About thirty years ago, a revolutionary change was made in workplace safety; the Toolbox Safety Meeting was introduced. Also called a “Toolbox Talk”, “Tailgate Talk” and “Safety Minute”, these meetings had an almost immediate impact on each and every industry where they were introduced, in that there was a marked decrease in industrial accidents. The reason for this is that, when conducted properly, these Toolbox Safety Meetings encourage active participation by, and input from the front line workers.
      With the evolution of the Risk Assessment and Hazard Analysis process in the workplace, there was a further decrease noted in industrial accidents. The Toolbox Safety Meeting, rather than becoming redundant, has fit right into this process, becoming the part of the process where the people who actually perform the work get involved each day.
      The importance of the Toolbox Meeting cannot be over-stressed. A large percentage of workplace fatality investigations show one common and alarming trait: either the Toolbox Safety Meeting was not used, or the meetings were not taken seriously by management or employees and were often totally irrelevant to the tasks being performed. These meetings cause the workers to stop and think about their jobs, the tasks they perform, the hazards and they could face, and how to mitigate or eliminate the hazards. It has been demonstrated that daily meetings keep safety foremost in the minds of the employees so supervisors have a responsibility to ensure the meetings are held, the employees participate, and the topics are relevant.
      I was working as Diving Supervisor at one offshore installation when the Safety Officer insisted that the diving crew participate in the platform toolbox meeting and not hold a separate meeting. The topics he showed me included the following: working safely in the galley; housekeeping; working with paint and chemicals; keeping the platform stairwells safe; working at height; and fire prevention on the platform. Although these are all fine topics for platform personnel, they really are not relevant to the diving crew, and therefore I pulled rank and held a separate and dedicated daily toolbox for my diving crew. The Toolbox Meeting, particularly at the start of any given project, needs to address the hazards identified by the Job Hazard Analysis, but it needs to address those hazards that the diving crew will be exposed to. When the diving crew is working closely with other trades, such as during underwater lifting operations, the crane operator and the signalmen (banksmen) need to be included in the Toolbox Meeting along with the divers. If the divers will be working in a differential pressure area such as a hydro dam or a navigation lock, the operators of these facilities also need to be involved in the toolbox. It makes absolutely no sense at all to have a diving crew sitting through a Toolbox Meeting that is discussing how to prevent fires and food poisoning in a galley.
      The Diving Supervisor has a legal, moral, and ethical responsibility to do everything within his power to keep his diver and the diving crew safe from harm. It has been demonstrated that a properly conducted Toolbox Meeting will make a huge difference in how the crew performs their jobs, and will help prevent an industrial accident from occurring. So therefore, the Diving Supervisor has a legal and moral responsibility to hold a Toolbox Meeting, and to ensure the crew’s participation in it. If the meeting does not hold crew’s interest, it is a waste of time. The Toolbox Meeting needs to be seen for what it really is: an opportunity to teach the diving crew the safe way to perform tasks, and to refresh their memory. It is not a chance to talk about football scores, check text messages, or log into facebook.
      As stated earlier, the Job Hazard Analysis fits into, and goes along with the Toolbox Meeting. But what if you are on a long term project and nothing is changing day-to-day? What if you are on a pipelay barge doing the odd stinger check or you are just performing the exact same tasks every day? Anyone who works with divers will tell you the first thing you learn is they all suffer from ADD or ADHD. You have to work hard to keep their attention, and repetition of the same information every day is not going to do the trick. When I am on the job as Diving Superintendent, I always provide my Supervisors with a list of relevant toolbox topics that they can either follow or pick from. Yes, when the crew is changing to a new operation you definitely want to perform a Job Hazard Analysis and a related Toolbox. And periodically throughout each project this information needs to be reviewed. But constant repetition is just going to make the Toolbox Meeting into Diver’s Nap Time, and that will do nothing to keep the lads safe and avoid accidents. One way of keeping the attention of the crew is to avoid repetition of subject matter. The other way is to get them involved. You were not hired to be a preacher or a politician, so do not make speeches. Talk to the crew and get their input. It is a great way to find out what they know and what they don’t. In a toolbox talk I held offshore Louisianna, I discovered that half of my crew did not know how to check the polarity of cutting or welding gear. That gave me a chance to teach them how to check polarity, and teach them why it is important to have the correct polarity. And that brings us to another issue: the Diving Supervisor should make sure he is teaching his crew correctly when teaching them tasks. So the responsible Diving Supervisor will do a quick read-up on the topic he is using for the toolbox, and that reading up should not be Google or Wikipedia, but a proper diver training manual, the US Navy Diving Manual or a corporate diving manual based on the US Navy Manual.
      Deploying the standby diver – how to do it right
      Recognizing signs and symptoms of hypothermia
      Proper hydration for divers in warm weather
      Proper PPE for the job you are performing
      High pressure lines and whip checks
      Avoiding back injuries on the job and at home
      Umbilical management
      Safe handling of oxygen
      Loss of communications to the diver
      Lock-out Tag-out when working on vessels
      Good housekeeping around the diving spread
      PMS – why the Planned Maintenance System is important to divers
      Loss of air supply to the diver and how to deal with it
      Emergency drills – they can save your life
      Recognizing the signs and symptoms of Decompression Sickness
      Lifting underwater loads with a crane safely
      Safety tips for burning with Broco gear
      CONVENTID – the signs and symptoms of CNS Oxygen Toxicity
      Recovery of an injured diver – how we do it
      The Pre-Dive Checks on the diver --- take them seriously
      Proper Procedure for diving and deck operations at night
      Slips, Trips and Falls
      Working at height (and doing it right)
      CO Carbon Monoxide – the silent killer
      Life Jackets, Work Vests and Floatation Devices
      Prescription Drugs and Diving – what you need to know
      Differential Pressure and the diver
      Electrical Safety around the dive spread
      Personal Fitness for the diver
      Working over the side (greasing LARS, etc.)
      The importance of Chamber Maintenance
      Fire prevention in the Dive Control van
      The Job Hazard Analysis (JHA)
      Awareness of your surroundings can keep you alive
      The right tool for the job
      Stop and think BEFORE you act
      Safety when using air or hydraulic powered tools
      Stored energy – hidden danger awaits (rope, cable and chain under strain)
      Contingency Planning – it may save your life

    • John Roat

      18 years of effort and still no changes to US Coast Guard CFR's

      National Offshore Safety Advisory Committee
      Regulatory Reform Diving Subcommittee
      Teleconference Meeting #1 (NOSAC Meeting)
      1. Review task statement, purpose of subcommittee; establish subcommittee objectives
      2. Discuss how subcommittee will go about the task (spreadsheet, division of regulations, bi-weekly assignments, etc.)
      3. Go through regulations to be reviewed by next meeting
      4. Action Items for participants
      We will be having the first Teleconference Thursday, September 7tn I will keep you appraised of the situation
      You can find 18 years of wasted work and effort here. Commercial Diving Operations - Advanced Notice of Proposed
      You will find attached below the Official Task Statement
      For more information, please contact:
      Patrick W. Clark
      (202) 372-1358,
      Commandant (CG-OES-2), U.S. Coast Guard
      2703 Martine Luther King Jr Ave, SE, Stop 7509
      Washington, DC 20593-7509
      I am a member of the Subcommittee and will keep you posted as to our progress. If you have not signed my petition as of yet please do so here:
      Protect Divers Lives
      FACA RRTF Official Task Statement 17Jul2017_FINAL.pdf

    • John Roat


      In November 2005 I wrote an article for Offshore Diver called FEAST Time. There was more work than we could possibly do. We had had the Twin hurricanes, divers from all over the world were working in the GOM. There was more work than we had trained commercials divers for. A quote from that article to start this one: “To the loved ones and dive team members of the three young men we have lost recently there is little we can say that will help you. What we can do is make it a better business, which may help your soul a little and the rest of us a lot. The best safety out there is watching each other’s backs. The Coast Guard and OSHA show up after the fact, neither the ADC or IMCA have any enforcement mechanism and they damn well don't want one either.”

      Nothing I wrote in that article has changed, except, all the experienced dive personnel we have lost from this industry. (SEE That Article here) I believe we have reached the bottom of the worst Famine Time I have been through since coming into the Oil patch in 1969.
      My biggest fear is another major event such as our Twin Hurricanes anywhere in a major oil field on this earth. We do not have the experienced Dive personal, up to date DSV's or the tools ready to handle that. The history of these type events that we have been through many times is: Our customers just want their problem cured, whatever work rules they have, are out the window. So what do we do?
      It is on us, the Dive Supervisor, not the Designated person-in-charge (DPIC), the Project manager anyone else, not even the diver. Our number one job is to get them down and back safely out of the chamber. So whether anyone else on the job or in the office likes it we, the guys sitting in that chair, have to be willing to shut it down.
      You can almost hear the old movie theme from Jaws, playing in the back ground. I do hope this Famine doesn't end like so many in the past have, instant FEAST!
      PS: An important message to Management. You do not build an Effective, Safe, Team by surrounding yourself with people afraid to tell you the truth or are just plain liars, cover their own butts types!

    • John Roat
      What most of you and your customers do not know about Rod Selection

      Classes I teach!
      1) Safety in Oxy Arc Burning: Everyone involved in Oxy-Arc Burning 16 hours, with night study
      2) Safety in Oxy Arc Burning & Practical: Divers with three years experience. 40 Hours with night study.
      3) Customer Introduction to Safe Oxy-Arc Burning: When you should and when you SHOULD NOT use Oxy-Arc Burning. For customers of Burning services 4 hours their location. For this Class contact John Carl Roat vicepresident@jcroat.com

    • John Roat


      Prior to his death, our Board Member John Joly recognized that for working dive personnel the business was changing. With that in mind, he worked closely with Johnny Fisk & Wil Sig of Fisk Marine Insurance so dive personnel can get personal insurances independent of employers.

      "Fisk Marine & Colonial Life Underwriting Department has done what others will not do and that is to provide much needed individual coverages for commercial divers via the Divers Association". These benefits include short-term disability, on and off the job accident policy, life insurance, and a cancer program."
      I know we are not used to dealing with our own Insurance but our business, Commercial Diving as we have known it,  is changing. We need to change with it. I have known Wil Sigl for several years and he does know our business and how to help us through the morass of acquiring our own insurance.  Contact Wil Sigl wsigl@fiskusa.com
      Visit www.DisabilityCanHappen.org to learn more about the risk of disability and the benefits of having disability insurance.
      Visit www.disabilitycounter.org to view the number of working-age Americans who experienced a disabling injury or illness.
      Visit www.lifehappens.org to learn more about the benefits of having life insurance.
      Fisk Marine Int. is working with other providers to make this available outside North America stay tuned. https://fiskusa.com/blog/

    • John Roat

      Oxy-Arc Burning can be done safely!


      Almost every diving job in the field has Burning Gear standing-by to be used! Yet few are trained to use it properly!


      I will be receiving the Printed Copies for Review on the 17th or 18th this month. Most divers will never have the chance to be taught to burn properly, they will learn in the field as most of us have. Hopeful the way I've put this manual together, they can buy it and learn how not to kill themselves, even when surrounded by a team that knows less than they do.  The smart ones will note that my e-mail address is in this course, the smart ones will ask what they don't understand. The attached pictures are ones I created to help make the point about: Why the Drag method: IF YOU'RE IN FRONT OF THE CUT WHEN AN EXPLOSION HAPPENS; Oxy-Arc Burning can be done safely!

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  • Latest Incident Follow Up Posts

    • Looks like they are definitely still in business. I can't understand how a company like this can kill a diver and just shut their eyes and go on about business. They know that the only way to stop these stupid accidents from happening is to come forth with details, yet they circle the wagons and cover everything up. So the next time when the same thing happens, these people are equally at fault. Then I have to wonder - where is IMCA in this? Why did they not investigate and release findings to avoid a repeat of this?
    • This is their web page talking it say theyhave contracts https://www.mammoet.com/en/news/
    • I would push to have the Labour Board examine NS Power's role in the incident. You will note I did not call it an accident, because in my opinion it was not.