General Safety Services Goes Back to School

September means the end of summer and it’s also back to school time! Kids aren’t the only ones who go back to school. Our employees also continue their education and training classes. Meet Danny Touchette, our Head Chair Supervisor, and find out about his experience at a recent 16-hour safety course.

Q: What course did you attend?
A: It was called Self Rescue in Rope Access, and was given by Industrial Safety and Rescue in Canton, MA. It was a pretty in-depth class, given over 2 days, and featured in-class training as well as hands-on training.

Q: What’s the purpose of the class?
A: It offers different scenarios that could occur in real life – you might say worse case scenarios – and presents them in a safe way so that we can practice the rescues in a safe, controlled environment. All of the crew that reports to me took the class and we basically covered two different possible scenarios.

Q: What were the two scenarios?
A: One technique is called Victim Pick Offs. It presents a situation if one guy wasn’t fastened correctly or if his latch comes loose and is knocked unconscious. Dangling like that can lead to circulation getting cut off and other trauma. So we’re trained to get close to him, attach ourselves together, and lower him to the ground. That way I can spring into action and immediately help my co-worker instead of wasting time waiting for crews to help him – who would be doing the same thing I did. 

Danny Touchette

Q: That sounds pretty scary. How high were you, and who played the unconscious person?
A: The room had 12-foot ceilings so it felt like we were on a 5-story building. We actually used crash test dummies for these drills. Makes it easier and safer.

Q: And the other scenario?
A: It was Personal Rescue. Say something happened and my partner’s anchor was off and he slid, and came out of his chair. Instead of attaching myself to him and lowering him down, I would quickly come down to the ground, then go back up to the roof and lower down another descending device for him.

Q: Do they offer any other instruction in that class?
A: They also show us different kinds of knots, different kinds of equipment, and so forth. We take this class every year.

Q: Why do you need to take this course every year?
A: OSHA Rules change. Building rules change. Things change quickly. New equipment comes out, and I get to try it, and things like that. You hope you never have to use it but it’s crucial to be up to date on all of these things.

Q: What are some of the things you liked best about the class?
A: The instructor did a great job finding out about what we do every day and knew that before we even got there. So he really understood how to meet us where we are so to speak, and tailor the class toward our work.

Q: Do you think you’d like to teach these classes someday?
A: The second day I got to take a small group and did some training. It was really fun and helped me see my guys in action.

Q: You seem very passionate about the training.
A: I take 100% responsibility for my workers. At the end of the day, it’s up to me to put them in the chair, and judge their capabilities.

Q: Do you receive some sort of diploma or certificate after the class?
A: Here’s my pin. It states that I have completed training for Self Rescue in Rope Access and Advanced Rescue Techniques.

Q: Do you have some words of advice to others in this industry?
A: Continue your training. You’ve got to be ready for anything!

For more information on this class and others check out Industrial Safety and Rescue at