The Des Plaines Park District Special Projects, Building Services, and Mechanical Maintenance crews have completed their Confined Space Entry and Non-Entry Rescue Training through START Group and have been certified by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA.) START Group personnel are contracted through PDRMA, the Park District Risk Management Agency, and are experts in vertical, confined space, and trench rescue. They have been certified through the Illinois Office of the State Fire Marshal and many are currently employed as Firefighters/Rescuers in Illinois.
Confined space is a term from labor-safety regulations that refers to an enclosed area with limited access, making it dangerous. OSHA sets three criteria for a space to be termed confined: 1. The space must be large enough that an employee can bodily enter and perform the assigned work; 2. The space has limited or restricted means for entry or exits making it necessary to the employee to crawl, climb, twist, follow a lengthy path, or be constrained in a narrow opening; and 3. The space, such as a manhole or a crawl space, is not designed for continuous employee occupancy. Across the Des Plaines Park District there are over 50 confined spaces at facilities including Mystic Waters Family Aquatic Center, Iroquois and Chippewa Pools, Oakwood Maintenance Shop, Golf Center Des Plaines, Prairie Lakes Community Center, the Administrative and Leisure Center, and in many of the neighborhood parks.
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Confined space training is conducted annually. The training focuses on equipment orientation and use of the District's tripod entry and extrication equipment, as well as actual entry operations into spaces on site, such as in the Chippewa Pool Mechanical Maintenance Room. "This training prepares our staff to deal with on-the-job emergencies," said Chris Leiner, Assistant Superintendent of Parks. "Emergencies can strike at any moment which is why it is crucial that staff is properly trained to react."
"Certification in the Park and Recreation field is a milestone event," said Leiner. "Achieving certification demonstrates that the professional has reached a higher level of expertise and education. That is why we encourage ongoing education and have Certified Playground Safety Inspectors and Certified Pool/Spa Operators on our Parks staff."
The National Recreation and Park Associations playground certification insures that the installation of all Des Plaines Park District playgrounds is held to the highest standard for safety. Through this certification, staff has a thorough understanding of playground structure assembly and function. The Certified Pool/Spa Operators' training has helped protect thousands of swimmers by reducing hazards at aquatic facilities. The course tests the operator's knowledge of the legal specifications of pool and spa chemistry, testing, treatment, filtration, maintenance, automatic feeding equipment, and government requirements.
"Safety is job one at the Des Plaines Park District," said Leiner, "and the way to keep the public safe is through our commitment to ongoing education."
For more information about the Des Plaines Park District facilities, events, and programs visit www.DPParks.org or call 847-391-5700.