Situational Awareness and Risk Exposure Training and Certification

This one class can do more for performance and safety than just about any other thing.  Every moment of everyday things are changing around us.  Learning the skills to stay on top of these changes, and knowing how to respond or react to various situations can save lives, and at the least, prevent injuries and costly accidents.

I highly recommend having us come to your business and conduct this training.   Also, while we are there, we could do some other speciality training like, “Rope Rigging, knots, working at height, fall protection training, technical rope rescue, and others.

Special Effects and Stunt Work: A high angle engineering job and fall stunt.

We had to design a ladder walkway, install it on the side of the cliff, build platforms for the camera crew and a Swiss Jib, as well as an engineer a breakaway section of the walkway for the stunt a double fall. Check out (sorry it is kind-of rough)  the completed TV Commercial below, and a couple of others we were hired to do.  By the way, everyone is clipped into the safety lines and I am standing (clipped-in) on the corner of the platform, making sure no one gets too close to the edge.  We have two Professional Climbers and High Angle Stunt Professionals doing stand-in work on the walkway, for the actors. Once everything is ready we bring the actors in.

Hi, Douglas Hansen here,

Believe it or not, it has only been recently that we as a society, have started looking at safety in a more serious way.   This picture is less than 50 years ago.  Since then we have found that safety pays big dividends. 

I would like to arrange to meet with your team of professionals and share the things that I have learned of the past years.  I believe they can increase your profits, and keep your most valuable asset (your team) well and healthy. 

I spent my life in many high-risk situations and have come up with ways to prevent accidents, and unify a team to get the job done in a low-risk manner, and in a way they walk away knowing they have done a good job, one that the boss is happy, they are happy, and the customer is happy.  I am looking forward to working with you and your team.

The thing that strikes me, or makes me sit up and take notice is the idea there is no “rewind button” if we get injured.  It has been my experience that because I do not get hurt and injured on a regular basis, I tend to become complacent.  It makes me feel like it only happens to the other guy, the ones on the TV, or in the news.

I force myself to consciously stay alert, do the little things and make habits of them.  I can’t remember when I heard this, but it makes sense, “Take on a habit and we take on the end result of that habit.”   I think we all encounter minor bumps and scrapes, but it is a major life-altering thing, that we need to avoid.  The little things can prevent those “bad luck” situations.

Our situational awareness skills help us stay conscious of our surroundings and the little things we can do to prevent problems before they occur.  My father taught me a saying that fits here, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” 

I know I have experienced that first hand, like using a screwdriver to pry something apart, then thinking to myself, “If that slips, it may cut my hand, then disregarding it.”  Maybe you have too?  I have come up with ways to help ensure I don’t ignore those little thoughts.  Also, I have a presentation that points out many of these little warning points, and how to remember them in such a way that they pop up before the situation occurs

Nowadays the term “Situational Awareness.”  is big in the military.  It means to be alert to the always changing conditions and to anticipate and plan for possible events that may injure, maim, or kill us.  Just like learning to read, Situational Awareness is a taught skill, that can be learned, and implemented by just about anyone.

Working in these environments have taught us how safety works, and how to prevent “bad luck” situations.

It is a good investment tooIt is a pretty well-accepted fact, that there is an ROI of four dollars for every dollar invested in safety.  I have heard figures as high as thirty-nine dollars for every dollar.  For a small investment, I can come to your place of business and present this “Situational Awareness and Risk Exposure Training.  It can help get insurance premium reductions, fine reductions if UOSH or OSHA gets involved, and of course, it can help take care of your most important asset, your team.  That lead to better moral, and better productivity.

After completing the 90-minute training session, your staff will receive a wall mountable Certificates and laminated wallet cards; and for your records, you will receive a signed roster, with the names of those who completed the training.  Some employers photocopy of their certificates, and put them in their personal files).  We can talk about ways you can take advantage of these benefits when we meet in person, or at the training session.   In the meantime, here are some suggestions to you can use to reduce the possibility of having to deal with an unpleasant incident, with a number one killer, falls.

Fall Protection Safety Suggestions

(Falls still remain the number killer in construction and the number two killer in industry, it is a big one at home as well.)

A preplan goes a long ways toward minimizing the negative effects of an incident, and it can prevent many incidents altogether.

Identify potential fall hazards and flag them, as well as inform personnel about them, and inform them about your policy regarding them.  Often these are places people rarely, if ever, visit, consequently there are no guardrails or fall prevention/protection plans.

Untrained personnel using fall protection equipment can be worse than no equipment.

Depending on how you decide to handle these hazards, you may not need fall protection gear at all.  If you do plan to use fall protection equipment, be sure to inspect each time you use it.  Look for excessive wear and tear, chemical and solvent contamination, significant cuts, or abuse, and impact damage, usually due to catching a fall and not retiring the harness.  I’ve actually seen places where mice have eaten the nylon.  I am guessing they were after the salt from perspiration?

Remember, if you have belts, they are only for “fall restraint (preventing a fall), not for fall protection.

Full body harnesses are required for fall protection, in places where the equipment may end up catching a falling person.  Did you know that a 200 lbs person falling six feet can generate over 2,000 lbs of force?  Full body harnesses along with shock absorber, make those force manageable.

Preplan how you will fall, if a slip occurs.  I know that strategy has saved my neck.  Play the “What “if” game?  What if a fall occurs, and my lanyard slides along a metal flashing?  A rough, cement edge or corner, can seriously damage nylon while it is under tension.

Have a rescue plan ready, just in case someone does fall Even if you are not hurt in the fall, you find that “hang time” in a harness is very limited.   It can create a condition called, suspension trauma, which can set in in as little as 15-30 minutes and it can be fatal.  It is like orthostatic Intolerance.  You may have seen someone who has stood at attention for an extended amount of time, and the pass out and hit the floor.  Then after a few minutes, the wake-up and are fine.

What has occurred is the blood pooled in the lower torso, creating a condition similar to hypovolemic (low blood volume) shock.  There is nothing there for the heart to pump to the brain and other vital organs.  Unfortunately, when it occurs while hanging in a harness, the blood does not flow back to the heart.  If you use fall protection gear it is worth reading up on.

Fall Protection for Riggers and Safety in the top of the Vivint Arena (the Delta Center).   I designed the system and our team installed it.  The above video clip was put together a while back, but the principles still apply.  It talks about the fall arrest system we installed and the equipment that should be used.  For example, the above carabiner is unacceptable for fall protection.   

 ♦Fall Prevention should be the first step, if we fail there then we must do a fall recovery/rescue.   Fall recovery requires specialized equipment and training.   Specialized Training is essential.

Ladder Use Skills:

Placement Angle of the ladder, 1 foot out, for every 4 feet up or about 75°   To make that easy, I like to stand with my toes next to the base of the ladder, then extend my arms, hands, and fingers straight forward.  If the ladder touches your fingertips, the angle is pretty darn close to perfect.

Set the ladder legs on a firm stable baseRemember there is a resultant force on each leg base, due to the reduced cross-section of the legs, as compared to our feet; it can cause the legs to sink into the ground further.  Stand on the first rung, and slightly bounce right and left.  That can give a feeling of how stable your ladder really is.

The Three Rung Guideline  One of the most dangerous things to do when using a ladder is transitioning from the ladder to the top of the building.  If the ladder is extended three rungs above the edge of the rooftop, it gives us something to help stabilize our moment;  (not catch a fall or slip) and helps prevent a fall or slip.

General situational awareness stuff Inspect the ladder to make sure it is in good condition.  When using extension ladders make sure both section latches are engaged.  Lift it properly.  Watch out for electrical wires (they do not have insulation on them, like the ones in our homes).  Maintain a good CG (center of gravity) leaning left or right too far can create a fall.  Don’t climb the ladder with stuff in your hands, use a retrieval line, or small shoulder bag.  Maintain three points of contact (2 feet 1 hand, or 2 hands 1 foot).   Observe your foot placement on the rung, many accidents occur because people miss the rung with their foot. And . . .

I have a ladder certification course that requires 30-60 minutes.  The confidence gained adds up to increased productivity, may get you some insurance reductions, etc.  Plus your chances of having to deal with the consequences of a so-called, “bad luck” situation go down considerably.

For example, the training teaches much more than this, but this is part of it.  Say we set a ladder up to climb to get a ball out of the rain gutter.   The gutter is fifteen feet above the ground.  We set the ladder up as we mentioned above.  The risk potential or possibility of falling is maybe 3 on a scale of 0 to 10.  Otherwise, the chance of falling off the ladder is low.  We are about ten feet up, a pretty serious distance if we fall.  We have a Risk Factor of maybe 8   3 x 8 = 24  using the matrix above, it shows we are in a reasonable category.

There is more to it than that, so with training it can go a long ways towards preventing an unpleasant situation.  “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”


I hope these suggestion are useful to your and your team.


Take Care!


Please feel free to give me a call, or use this contact form.  Thanks

*When I teach a class I prefer to be called a facilitator.  We all bring knowledge to training sessions. “No one learns more than the instructor . . .”