Personal Protection

This page provides information about personal protection for anyone involved in a Flight Safety Accident Investigation. It describes the new DFS new approach to Crash Scene Hazard Management and the Personal Protective Equipment requirements for Flight Safety Investigators.

Crash Scene Hazard Management: An Updated Approach

On 21 January 2016, DFS introduced an updated approach to crash scene hazard management. This approach is rooted in the risk management process recommended by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and is designed as a comprehensive yet straight-forward evidence-based approach to managing crash scene hazards.

Background

From the early 2000’s, crash scene hazard management in Canada focused largely on biohazard protection. This was the logical consequence of changes in the late 1990’s to workplace health and safety guidelines aimed at protecting the worker from exposure to infectious diseases such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. To emphasize the perceived risk, the annual “Personal Protection” training for aviation accident investigators was specifically called “Blood Borne Pathogen (BBP) training.”

Unfortunately, the emphasis on biohazard protection sometimes overshadowed other potential hazards at aviation crash scenes. Anecdotally, there was concern at DFS that some CAF flight safety personnel were emerging from training with the impression that infectious diseases were the primary hazards at a crash scene. Over time, DFS attempted to supplement BBP training with instruction on other hazards - such as chemical, explosive and radiological hazards – but this led to ever-growing “shopping lists” of specific hazards, which were difficult to remember and not contextualized in terms of the actual risks they posed.

Method

DFS reviewed the ICAO guidance provided in Circular 315 “Hazards at Aircraft Accident Sites,” which discusses specific crash scene hazards and groups them into categories. DFS adopted this consolidated hazard categorical approach, but made slight modifications to the individual ICAO categories after broad consultation with DFS accident investigators and CAF aviation medicine and occupational medicine experts. Thus, the previous “shopping lists” of hazards were reorganized into five easy-to-remember categories: 1) Physical, 2) Chemical, 3) Environmental, 4) Psychological, and 5) Biological.

DFS then conducted a risk analysis of the five hazard categories using a Risk Management (RM) process. ICAO recommends applying a RM process to crash scene hazards involving the cycle of: 1) identifying hazards, 2) identifying exposure routes, 3) assessing risk, 4) introducing controls, and 5) reviewing and revising the risk assessment. Rather than applying RM at the time of a crash, DFS decided to take the ICAO recommendations one step further and pre-assess the likely hazards. With primary focus on CAF aircraft fleets, DFS gathered evidence from scientific and medical literature, hazardous material safety data, and expert consensus to assess the overall risk of each hazard category. The pre-assessment was intended to give investigators a “head-start” when confronting a crash scene, allowing faster and more accurate risk assessment, safer scene hand-over, and improved safety measures.

Applying this RM process, DFS ultimately assessed that there was a low risk associated with biohazards (i.e. Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C) at a crash site. This assessment was based on reassuring information from the US Centers for Disease Control, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and a thorough literature search for documented cases of disease transmission from aircraft accident sites. Moreover, consideration was given to advances in medical science since the creation of health and safety guidelines in the 1990’s. For instance, Hep B transmission can be prevented with vaccination, HIV transmission can be prevented with post-exposure prophylactic treatment, and Hepatitis C can now be medically cured. Thus, the relatively low risk of biohazards can be put in proper context for accident investigators.

Crash Scene Hazard Matrix (CraSH Matrix)

 

Hazard

Exposure Route

Risk

Control

Physical

  • Broken structures
  • Composite fibres (CF)
  • Explosives
  • Radiological
  • Stored energy
  • Cuts
  • Punctures
  • Crush
  • Inhalation/ingestion
  • Contact/proximity

 High

  • Likely Probability
  • Critical Severity
    • Severe injury and/or
    • Severely degraded mission capability
  • Control access
  • Avoid/cordon
  • Disarm
  • Decontaminate
  • No eating on site
  • Wear PPE
  • Apply Fixant (CF)
 

Chemical

  • Petroleum, Oil, Lubricants/fluids
  • Metals/oxides
  • Viton (rubber)
  • Inhalation
  • Ingestion
  • Contact

Medium

  • Likely Probability
  • Moderate Severity
    • Minor injury and/or
    • Degraded mission capability
  • Control access
  • Avoid/cordon
  • Neutralize
  • Decontaminate
  • No eating on site
  • Wear PPE
 

Environmental

  • Cold/heat
  • Fatigue
  • Insects/wildlife
  • Enemy/Security
  • Political Situation

 Variable

Medium

  • Likely Probability
  • Moderate Severity
    • Minor injury and/or
    • Degraded mission capability
  • Control access
  • Implement site security
  • Apply work/rest cycles
  • Feeding/hydration
  • Insect repellent/tick removal
  • Wear sunscreen
  • Wear clothing appropriate for the weather
  • Wear PPE

 

Psychological

  • Direct exposure
  • Indirect exposure (vicarious trauma, narratives)

Medium

  • Likely Probability
  • Moderate Severity
    • Minor injury and/or
    • Degraded mission capability
  • Control access
  • Apply work/rest cycles
  • Monitoring
  • Limit exposure and control information release
  • Wear PPE
 

Biological

  • Blood Borne Pathogens
    • HIV
    • Hepatitis B/C
  • Cuts
  • Punctures
  • Via mucous membranes

Low

  • Unlikely Probability
  • Critical Severity
    • Severe injury
  • Control access
  • Decontaminate
  • No eating on site
  • Wear PPE
  • Vaccinate†††
 

† Although the injury from Radiological hazards could be severe, the probability of exposure is considered improbable and therefore the risk is considered LOW.

†† The potential for severe traumatic exposure may increase the assessed risk level to HIGH in certain circumstances.

††† Advance vaccination is encouraged and could be mandatory for all personnel who attend a crash scene.

DFS produced the following matrix describing the minimum expected risk level of each of the five crash scene hazard categories. The CraSH Matrix is intended to serve as a quick-reference and simple starting point for crash scene hazard management. At the same time, investigators remain free to modify the risk levels when necessary based on specific crash site circumstances. DFS has rewritten the chapter on Crash Scene Hazard Management (previously entitled “Blood Borne Pathogens”) in its Airworthiness Investigation Manual. The new approach is being taught on the CAF Flight Safety course for aircraft accident investigators and the medical course for Aviation Medicine providers.

Practical application

The first practical application of the CraSH Matrix occurred in November 2016 as a result of a CF188 Hornet crash in an unpopulated area near Cold Lake, Alberta, where the pilot sustained fatal injuries. Based on reported conditions, the accident investigation team used the CraSH Matrix while enroute to the crash scene to pre-assess the hazards. The resulting assessment indicated a probable high risk level due to the type and quantity of physical hazards and required the investigators to adopt the wearing of full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Upon arrival, it was determined that conditions were not as initially reported and the physical risk was downgraded to a medium level. This re-assessment resulted in the investigators having to wear less PPE thereby increasing their maneuverability and efficiency and easing the level of difficulty in conducting their on-scene investigation. As the investigation progressed, the level of risk had to be adjusted due to environmental hazards (e.g. changing weather), physical hazards (e.g. unexploded ordnance), and psychological hazards (e.g. human remains).

Overall, awareness of hazards, their associated risks and the application of control measures was simplified and enhanced by using the CraSH Matrix. As a practical tool, the CraSH Matrix allowed the team to keep up with changes in risk levels, anticipate and modify plans, and successfully complete the on-scene investigation. In addition, the CraSH Matrix served as a vital tool when handing over responsibility of the crash scene to the Aircraft Recovery and Salvage Team. Crash Scene Hazard Management for this case also included the first-ever follow-up medical screening for all 109 personnel who worked on the crash site, a process that was well-received by personnel and their supervisors. Screening took place for potential injuries from all five hazard categories in the CraSH Matrix, with particular attention to potential psychological injuries.

The second practical application of the CraSH Matrix occurred due to an engine failure of a CT156 Harvard II trainer in January 2017, which forced both occupants to carry out an ejection and caused the aircraft to crash in a farmer’s field. Again, the aircraft accident investigators used the CraSH Matrix tool to pre-assess the expected risks and, as a result of the analysis, made the decision to wear minimal PPE. Deteriorating weather forced a re-assessment of the hazards and associated risks, resulting in a change of control measures to enhance PPE, modify the recovery plan and ultimately resulted in the move of the wreckage to an indoor location.

In both cases, the CraSH Matrix allowed the accident investigation teams to pre-brief and safely prepare their crews on the anticipated hazards and associated risks of the crash scenes, then allowed for rapid yet comprehensive re-assessments of the crash scenes upon their arrival. The matrix proved to be an excellent tool for briefing off-site supervisors on local conditions and increased the effectiveness of the crash scene handover to new personnel arriving on-site.

Projected future development

DFS will continue to use the CraSH Matrix when investigating accidents; however, its use has highlighted areas that need to be strengthened and updated particularly in the application of controls measures.

The first area that underwent review was the rationalization of appropriate PPE. DFS’ current process involves the provision of items to CAF flight safety units located across Canada. The challenge is to align the standardized equipment with the actual requirements of the crash scene and requires an understanding of the environment in which the equipment is to be used and knowledge of the capabilities and limitations of the equipment. This matter is discussed in greater detail in the Personal Protective Equipment for Flight Safety Investigators section of this page.

The provision of PPE does not mean that every crash site will require the investigator to wear all the items for proper protection. Rather the crash scene investigators need to know and understand the hazards to which they are being exposed and then they need to be able to pick the appropriate protective items from a menu of available resources. Understanding that flight safety investigators have limited time to deal with the intricacies of PPE at the time of an accident, DFS personnel have refined the selection of available PPE to better protect against known hazards and have developed a PPE poster to compliment the CraSH Matrix tool.

Another area for review is the need to develop education and training products that complement the updated approach to Crash Scene Hazard Management. For instance, the effective use of a PPE pocket-card relies on flight safety investigators understanding the hazards that they might encounter at a crash scene and knowing the limitations and capabilities of their equipment. To promote this understanding and knowledge, DFS has developed short training videos available on this page. The intent of these videos is to provide accurate, standardized, current and accessible information to flight safety personnel so that they can easily educate themselves at the time and place that is convenient to them.

Introduction to crash scene hazard management

Transcript

Hi. My name is Tyler Brooks.

Welcome to the Directorate of Flight Safety Crash Scene Hazard Management video series.

In this video, we’re going to talk about the basics of the DFS updated approach to Crash Scene Hazard Management.

We will introduce the five categories of hazards and the Crash Scene Hazard matrix.

Aircraft crash scenes can be dangerous.

And they can remain dangerous throughout all the phases of emergency response, investigation, and clean-up.

Personnel responsible for the management of a crash scene need a process to keep everyone safe.

The process must allow:

  • Quick and accurate risk assessment
  • Selection of the most effective safety control measures
  • Safe scene hand-over to other personnel

Aircraft crash scenes can also be complex.

Accident sites can involve hundreds – even thousands – of components and materials that may be broken up, mixed together, and chemically changed by fire.

Aircraft accidents can also occur in remote locations and in hazardous environments.

Identifying and managing the individual hazards at any particular aircraft crash site can be time-consuming and overwhelming.

To solve these problems, DFS developed an updated approach to Crash Scene Hazard Management.

This approach is based on the Risk Management process and the principles recommended by the International Civil Aviation Organization.

The result is a simple, yet comprehensive, evidence-based approach to managing crash scene hazards as broad categories, rather than as separate, individual hazards.

After consultation with accident investigators, aviation experts, aerospace and occupational medicine specialists, DFS adopted the following five hazard categories:

  • Physical
  • Chemical
  • Environmental
  • Psychological
  • Biological

These hazard categories can be managed using the Risk Management process.

The Risk Management process is the cycle of:

Identifying hazards; Determining exposure routes; Assessing the level of risk; Introducing control measures; and Reviewing and revising the risk assessment, as necessary.

However, starting the Risk Management process immediately after a crash is time-consuming.

Having a “head start” when managing a crash scene will save time and improve safety.

To do this, we recommend pre-assessing the hazard categories as much as reasonably possible for known or expected hazards.

For instance, DFS has pre-assessed the hazard categories for its aircraft fleets using the best available evidence from:

scientific and medical literature; material safety data sheets; and expert opinions.

This risk pre-assessment is summarized in the Crash Scene Hazard matrix – or CraSH Matrix.

Of course, you should review your own aircraft fleets for any unusual or specific hazards, and you are encouraged to make any adjustments to the CraSH Matrix to suit your organization.

However, you can start with this CraSH Matrix as it is general enough to help you with the initial assessment of most types of aircraft crashes.

We also recommend having a pocket card version available for quick reference.

An electronic version of the CraSH Matrix kept on a portable device is a convenient way to have it easily available.

Every crash scene is different, and there can be unexpected conditions or hazards that you could not pre-assess.

You can quickly apply the Risk Management process and adjust the CraSH Matrix to suit any new or changing hazards at the crash scene.

A modifiable electronic version of the CraSH Matrix is a great way to document any changes that may be required.

We also recommend reviewing the CraSH Matrix regularly, to make sure all hazards continue to be managed appropriately.

Once completed, the CraSH matrix is a helpful visual reference when giving safety briefings to personnel before they enter a crash scene.

A completed CraSH Matrix is also a valuable record of how crash scene hazards were managed and simplifies the safe handover of the scene to other personnel.

The CraSH matrix is reviewed in detail in another video, so that you can become familiar with it before using it in the field.

This concludes the introduction to the DFS approach to Crash Scene Hazard Management.

Thanks for watching.

Review of the CraSH matrix

Transcript

Hi. My name is Tyler Brooks.

Welcome to the Directorate of Flight Safety Crash Scene Hazard Management video series.

We’re going to review the Crash Scene Hazard matrix – or CraSH Matrix.

Previously, we introduced the DFS approach to Crash Scene Hazard Management which is based on the Risk Management cycle and the five hazard categories.

To give personnel a “head start” when managing a crash scene, we recommend pre-assessing the hazard categories for known or expected hazards in your aircraft fleets.

DFS has pre-assessed the hazard categories for its aircraft fleets and summarized it in the CraSH matrix.

Let’s review the CraSH Matrix, which is general enough for you to use in the initial assessment of most types of aircraft crashes.

Physical hazards include broken aircraft structures, carbon fibre and other composite materials, explosives, radiological materials, and stored energy structures, such as tires and gas cylinders.

Most physical hazards create exposure through physical contact resulting in cuts, punctures, and crush injuries.

Inhalation can be an exposure route for specific hazards such as burned carbon fibres and radiological materials.

Exposure to radiological materials can also occur through ingestion, physical contact and even proximity.

Risk is assessed by estimating the likelihood and severity of injury or negative impact on the mission.

For typical crashes, physical hazards are considered High Risk hazards because of the high likelihood of severe injury or mission impact.

Radiological hazards are an exception and are typically considered Low Risk.

Radiological hazards are often only present in small amounts, they frequently survive crashes intact, and they are usually easy to detect and isolate.

Control measures for physical hazards include

  1. minimizing the number of personnel on-site through strict crash scene access control;
  2. avoiding and cordoning areas of greatest risk;
  3. disarming explosives or stored energy structures;
  4. prohibiting eating and drinking on the crash site; and,
  5. wearing personal protection equipment with respiratory protection when required.

Also, Carbon fibre can be prevented from becoming an inhalational hazard by applying a fixant or a soil tackifier of water, ice, fire-fighting foam, or acrylic floor wax.

Chemical hazards include petroleum, oil, lubricants, metals, metal oxides, and other chemical products of combustion such as Viton released from burning rubber.

Exposure to chemical hazards is usually by inhalation, ingestion and contact.

For most crashes, chemical hazards are Medium Risk due to the high likelihood of moderate injury or mission impact.

Control measures include:

  1. strict crash scene access control;
  2. avoiding and cordoning areas of greatest risk;
  3. decontamination or neutralization, which may be possible with water or a 10% household bleach solution;
  4. prohibiting eating and drinking on the crash site; and
  5. wearing personal protection equipment with respiratory protection when required.

Environmental hazards include cold, heat, fatigue, insects, wildlife, terrain, and threats from enemy or other security issues.

Exposure routes for environmental hazards are highly variable and depend on the specific hazards but are often through physical contact and sometimes depend on the length of time spent on the site.

For most crashes, environmental hazards are Medium Risk due to the high likelihood of moderate injury or mission impact.

Control measures for environmental hazards are highly variable but include:

  1. strict crash scene access control;
  2. site security;
  3. balancing work/rest cycles;
  4. feeding and hydrating;
  5. applying insect repellent and tick removal;
  6. wearing sunscreen;
  7. wearing appropriate clothing; and,
  8. wearing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment.

Psychological hazards include traumatic exposures to death and injuries.

Exposure can either be direct, by personally witnessing distressing scenes, or indirect, through exposure to stories told by other witnesses.

The risk of psychological hazards has often been underestimated.

Even non-fatal crashes can be distressing for first responders, investigators, and clean-up personnel.

For this reason, psychological hazards are Medium Risk, even for non-fatal crashes, because of the high likelihood of moderate injury or mission impact.

Fatal crashes or those involving injury to personnel may be considered High Risk.

Control measures include:

  1. strict access control;
  2. work/rest cycles;
  3. carefully monitoring personnel for signs of distress;
  4. limiting exposure and information release; and,
  5. wearing appropriate PPE.

Biological hazards include infectious diseases and blood borne pathogens, such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.

Exposure usually requires contact with infected bodily fluids or tissues through skin cuts, scrapes, and punctures or mucus membranes, such as the eyes, nose or mouth.

For most crashes, biological hazards are Low Risk due to the low likelihood of severe injury or mission impact.

For example, the US Centers for Disease Control have never documented a case of HIV transmission from contact with the virus in the environment.

Control measures include:

  1. strict access control;
  2. decontamination with a 10% household bleach solution;
  3. prohibiting eating and drinking on the crash site; and
  4. wearing appropriate PPE.

Vaccination is also extremely effective against certain infectious diseases, such as Hepatitis B, and is strongly encouraged.

The CraSH Matrix can provide a useful head start for anyone managing a crash scene hazard.

Remember, the CraSH Matrix can be adjusted to suit the unique conditions at the crash scene or as conditions change.

For instance:

  1. Hazards can be added or removed;
  2. Exposure routes can be adjusted;
  3. Risk levels can be raised or lowered; and
  4. Control measures can be customized.

Of course, we recommend that you review your own aircraft fleets for any unusual or specific hazards, and make any adjustments to the CraSH Matrix to suit your organization.

This concludes our review of the CraSH Matrix.

Thanks for watching.

Personal Protective Equipment for Flight Safety Investigators

The CraSH Matrix, introduced in the “From the Flight Surgeon” article on the management of crash scene hazards, identifies various methods of controlling hazards at an aircraft crash scene including elimination, engineering, administrative measures and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). Additionally, exposure to all categories of hazards may be reduced by strictly limiting and controlling access to the site.

While PPE is considered the last line of defence for our personnel, it remains an essential tool for flight safety personnel. When used properly, PPE protects individuals from all categories of crash scene hazards by preventing:

  1. Direct skin contact;
  2. Ingestion or inhalation;
  3. Absorption through mucous membranes; and,
  4. Injury due to sharp, penetrating, or crushing hazards.

PPE may also offer psychological protection by providing physical separation from the crash scene and reducing exposure to distressing stimuli, such as smells. PPE can be damaged or fail therefore a decontamination process should always be available.

When the flight safety crash scene hazards management approach was updated, the Directorate of Flight Safety (DFS) identified the need to improve the training as well as the process of properly using PPE.

The military issued gas mask system (C4 gas mask and C7A canister filter) is a viable respiratory protection option for investigators at an aircraft crash scene provided that the individual has been trained in its use and properly fit tested to ensure they have the correct size. The military issued rain jacket and pants (or equivalent civilian attire) provides similar or better protection than the coveralls issued by DFS, provided they are properly prepared as described later in this article.  DFS has developed a Low Risk and High Risk flight safety PPE Orders of Dress (see poster below) that is intended to allow flexible choices that match the conditions of a crash scene.

 

Low Risk PPE is for relatively clean sites like intact aircraft interiors and hangar spaces with little to no contamination and only nuisance dust. Recommended PPE items include non-impermeable coveralls, N95 dust masks, nitrile gloves, hard hats and boots with boot covers.

High Risk PPE is for contaminated sites, such as a crash involving a post-crash fire, injuries or fatalities, and broken or fragmented aircraft wreckage. Recommended PPE items include impermeable coveralls, full face masks, hard hats, nitrile gloves with leather outer gloves and steel toe rubber boots. Permissible alternatives to the standard High Risk PPE order of dress include military issued rain jacket and pants (or equivalent civilian attire), gas mask system, helmet, nitrile gloves with leather outer gloves and steel toe work boots.

Tightly taping closures increases the performance of the closure and significantly reduce (and possibly eliminate) the penetration of particulates. Whether using the issued rain jacket and pants or equivalent civilian attire, the rain suit should be of an appropriate sized for the user. A tailored fit avoids the bellowing effect that draws in particulates. In a dry environment, the jacket should be tucked into the pants and the “tuck line” at the waist should be taped. In a wet environment, the jacket should be left untucked in a loose and layered style to allow the particulates to be directed down and off. The ankle and wrist closures and the front zipper of the jacket should be taped, including a small patch along the neck line over the top of the zipper. Any passive venting under the armpits should be tightly zipped closed. All passive venting should be taped to reduce the air flow through the closures due to the bellowing effect. If the hood fits loosely to the respirator, it should be taped, and if the hood is separate from the jacket, it should be taped at the neck line. It is important to ensure that the rain jacket that is used as PPE is not designed in a way that leaves a gap that exposes the skin at the neck, or prevents the hood from being tightened against the respirator. The rain suit option should provide moderate to high protection to trained personnel working in a hazard zone, depending on the activity level.

Depending on the conditions of the crash scene, flight safety personnel will not necessarily be required to wear all PPE items specific to the Low and High Risk categories. The PPE Orders of Dress are intended to serve as a framework that the investigator-in-charge uses to determine the PPE required to be worn at the crash scene.

While DFS will continue to supply standard PPE items as listed in the A-GA-135-001/AA-001 Flight Safety for the Canadian Armed Forces, units now have more flexibility as the military issued rain suit (and civilian equivalent) and gas mask system have been added to the approved list of PPE options.

In addition to the enclosed articles and poster, DFS is producing a series of short videos to increase awareness of crash scene hazards, introduce the new flight safety PPE Orders of Dress and improve training on the use of PPE! These videos are available on this page.

Personal protective equipment

Transcript

Hi. My name is Tyler Brooks.

Welcome to the Directorate of Flight Safety Crash Scene Hazard Management video series.

In this video, we’re going to review the use of Personal Protective Equipment – or PPE.

Previously, we reviewed the CraSH Matrix in detail, including control measures for each category of crash scene hazard.

Control measures can be grouped according to their effectiveness.

This is known as the Hierarchy of Controls.

In the Hierarchy of Controls, while PPE is essential, it is actually considered the last line of defence and the least effective method of controlling hazards.

More effective methods of controlling crash scene hazards include elimination, engineering, and administrative measures.

For example, a variety of chemical and biological hazards may be eliminated by decontaminating the site with water or a 10% bleach solution.

Explosive hazards may be eliminated by explosive ordnance disposal teams.

Burned carbon fibres may be stabilized by applying a fixant or soil tackifier, such as water, ice, firefighting foam, or a 10% acrylic floor wax solution.

In addition, exposure to all categories of hazards may be reduced by strictly limiting and controlling access to the site.

In short, multiple control measures should always be considered on a crash scene in addition to the use of PPE.

However, when used properly, PPE is an essential control measure that protects individuals from all categories of crash scene hazards by preventing:

  1. Direct skin contact;
  2. Ingestion or inhalation;
  3. Absorption through mucous membranes; and,
  4. Injury due to sharp, penetrating, or crushing hazards;

PPE can also make decontamination easier by providing layers that can be washed off or removed for disposal.

PPE may also offer psychological protection by providing physical separation from the crash scene and reducing exposure to distressing stimuli, such as smells.

Components

As we have seen in the previous videos, crash scenes can be quite different, and hazards can vary in type and severity.

In order to effectively protect against a variety of hazards, DFS recommends having a selection of PPE components that can be mixed and matched to best suit the conditions.

While your organization will identify the exact specifications of your PPE, in general, PPE consists of the following components:

  1. Respiratory Protection
  2. Eye Protection
  3. Head Protection
  4. Coveralls
  5. Hand Protection
  6. Foot Protection

Respiratory protection. Filtration masks are the most common type of respiratory protection used on aircraft crash scenes.

Filtration masks primarily prevent the inhalation of harmful physical particles, such as burned carbon fiber.

However, some filtration masks can also be equipped with filters to prevent exposure to specific chemical hazards.

Filtration mask options include:

  1. N-95 type dust masks, for protection from inhaled physical particles only;
  2. Half masks with appropriate filter type;
  3. Full face masks with appropriate filter type; or
  4. For military members, issued C4/C7A gas masks with appropriate canister.

Masks should be fit-tested by an accredited agency regularly.

Note that the masks listed here must not be used in low oxygen environments. Self-contained breathing apparatus is required in such hazardous areas, and is beyond the scope of this video.

Eye protection.  Eye protection is intended to protect the eyes from harmful physical and chemical exposures.

Eye protection options include:

  1. Safety glasses;
  2. Safety goggles; or
  3. Full-face shields, possibly as part of a full face mask.

Head protection: Head protection may be required in some circumstances to protect against overhead hazards.

Head protection options include:

  1. Hard hat; or,
  2. Helmet.

Coverall: Coveralls are an outer layer of clothing that prevents direct contamination of the skin and any clothing worn underneath.

Coveralls can make decontamination easier by providing a layer that can be sprayed clean or removed for disposal.

Coverall options can include:

  1. Disposable woven fabric suits; or
  2. Impermeable suits such as rain suits.

Hand protection. Hand protection prevents direction contamination of the skin and makes decontamination easier.

It may also be layered to provide protection from physical injury when handling sharp or penetrating objects.

Hand protection options include:

  1. Nitrile inner gloves with or without the addition of leather outer work gloves; or
  2. Impermeable gloves that protect against oil and chemical contact.

Foot protection: Foot protection prevents direct contamination of the skin and makes decontamination easier.

It protects from physical injury when walking amongst sharp or penetrating objects or crushing hazards and may also be required to provide thermal protection in cold or wet environments.

Foot protection options include:

  1. Steel toed and steel shanked chemical resistant work boots with or without disposable covers; or
  2. Steel toed and steel shanked chemical resistant rubber boots with or without insulated liners.

DFS recommends having a variety of these PPE options available to mix and match, depending on the conditions at the site and your CraSH Matrix assessment.  These PPE options can be grouped as standard “orders of dress.”

For instance, DFS uses the following orders of dress for PPE.

  1. Low-risk PPE is for relatively clean sites, such as intact aircraft interiors and hangar spaces, where there is little, if any, contamination and only nuisance dust.
    1. Non-impermeable coverall, N95 dust mask, nitrile glove, hard hat, boots with boot covers
  2. b. High-risk PPE is for contaminated sites, such as a crash with a post-crash fire, injuries or fatalities, and broken or fragmented aircraft wreckage.
    1. Impermeable coverall (taped), Full face mask, hard hat, nitrile gloves with leather outer gloves, steel toed rubber boots; or,
    2. Rain suit (taped), gas mask, helmet, nitrile gloves with leather outer gloves, steel toed work boots.

Of course, these orders of dress for PPE can be modified as necessary to suit the conditions at the crash site.   

Donning and doffing.

Donning is the process of putting on PPE.

There is no specific order for donning PPE; however, DFS recommends the following practices:

  1. Work with a partner to make donning easier and to double check your fit;
  2. Select PPE that is large enough to cover any environmentally appropriate clothing you must wear underneath;
  3. Inspect your PPE for damage before donning;
  4. Use two sets of nitrile gloves, even if you are using outer leather gloves;
  5. Place cuffs over the nitrile gloves and boots to prevent liquids from running into gloves and boots;
  6. Use tape to seal cuffs and zippers, if necessary;
  7. Make large coveralls smaller by taping a handful of material rather than by wrapping tape around your body;
  8. Use a marker to identify team members, if necessary.

Doffing is the process of removing PPE.

If any decontamination is required, it will take place before doffing.

Unlike donning, there is a specific order for doffing. The help of one or even two partners during doffing will make the process easier and reduce the chance of accidental contamination.

  • Step 1: Remove outer leather gloves if worn;
  • Step 2: Lean forward and remove head protection if worn:
  • Step 3: Unzip coveralls;
  • Step 4: Carefully roll off the coveralls to contain any contaminants. Work from head to toe.
  • Step 5: Remove outer set of nitrile gloves;
  • Step 6: Bend over and remove mask and goggles;
  • Step 7: Step out of contaminated boots into clean boots, if necessary (do not touch clean boots with contaminated gloves);
  • Step 8: Remove inner set of nitrile gloves.

If any accidental contamination occurs during doffing, be sure to immediately decontaminate the affected area and inform the supervisor.

Decontamination methods will be covered in another video.

Cautions

Always remember that PPE is the last line of defence and least effective control measure in the Hierarchy of Controls. 

As such, PPE should be used in conjunction with other control measures, including elimination, engineering, and administrative controls.

Also be aware that PPE can itself become a hazard. For instance, PPE can

  1. Impair communication between team members;
  2. Impair vision, hearing, and touch;
  3. Worsen heat stress and dehydration, even in cool environments;
  4. Worsen fatigue;
  5. Create trip and fall hazards;
  6. Create a sense of psychological isolation; and
  7. Impair the ability of team members to monitor each other for signs of distress.

PPE is not a suit of armor. It can be damaged or fail, and a decontamination process should be available if this happens.

However, when used properly, PPE is an essential control measure that protects individuals from all categories of crash scene hazards.

This concludes the DFS review of personal protective equipment.

Thanks for watching.

Date modified: