The Octane Industry Observer

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Isn't it crazy? Life has a way of becoming monotonous. Complacency can set in, and the once exciting, new job, becomes the normal which somehow bleeds into the boring. 
Some medical companies and medics, may have forgotten WHY they are out here! 
It can't just be to sit in a truck or a shack on standby for countless hours never putting their skills to good use? Can it?

It can't just be the money. Can it?

Use your time wisely in the field. Prepare. Study. Practice.

At one point, signing up for that first First Aid Course, the thought of saving a life, being a hero, making a difference, MUST have surely crossed a mind or two? 
A number of reasons could exist as to why we all started in the field, at one point. This was a turning point in your life, right?

Learning new skills, gaining knowledge of the human body, how it works - must have been awe inspiring?

We are Proud here at Octane. We are Awe Inspired.

Overwhelming, heart bursting, almost brought a tear to our eyes Proud. (maybe it did bring a tear to mine, but I cry during hallmark commercials)

Our Field Team - through continued practice and consistent training - doesn't forget, and they spend countless hours in preparation for the moment they trained for, that hopefully, just may never come.

They say Luck is where Preparation Meets Opportunity.
Well, Octane was Prepared, and (without going into confidential details) the Opportunity to experience the WHY, happened, just the other night.

Here is the story.

As he walked from the dog house, to the rig floor, he looked down, grabbed the hand railing, said “What the F” and lost consciousness.
Our medic checked for a carotid pulse, it wasn't palpable. Agonal respirations were present, very sporadically. His skin was pale but he was not cyanotic/blue. He would occasionally draw his arms towards his body slightly, while his head tried to move back with each gasp.
Picture in your mind, the crew holding c-spine, and the medic fitting an OPA – There was no gag or resistance.
The crew took over BVM ventilations and the patient started to receive CPR.
1 hour and 40 minutes.
4 shocks delivered.
Pupils unresponsive.
The patient was lowered off the rig floor and into the MTC to rendezvous with STARS.
Ventilations and compressions continued.
STARS Landed.
After a brief history of incident and treatment - compressions stopped at instruction of flight medics once they had attached the patient to their monitor. Ventilations continued through switching to their BVM and oxygen tank.
We assisted the flight medics and answered questions while they worked. They started the patient on IV fluids and gave drugs. These were given to relax the patient as his jaw had become clenched and the OPA could not be removed. After a couple doses they were able to remove the OPA and insert an LMA. A BGL couldn't obtained. It took some time (20-30 minutes) to get the patient stable, packaged and loaded in the helicopter. Patient's vitals were excellent on the monitor.
To whom it concerns at Octane Safety Services,

I would like to pass on a job well done to one of your employees (medic name omitted for privacy). 
I was on a medevac yesterday out of Grande Prairie with a middle aged gentleman. He did not fully realize the life saving actions of (medic name) until I answered his questions about the event and explained it further.

(Medic’s name) actions and that of the rig crew undoubtedly save the life of this man. Amazing! Her actions exemplify what it means to be an EMS practitioner and show she has a bright future in the business with her ability to think and act quickly.

Without going into much detail I can let you know it appears he will make a full recovery! Please forward this to (medic name) and please keep it on record as a letter of recommendation for her future endeavors.


(name omitted for privacy)
AHSEMS Flight Paramedic

The Drilling Contractor’s Senior VP of Operations then personally called, to thank our team for being one of the most amazing Medical Companies he has ever seen!
He and his whole team are very grateful to the medic and to us. He wanted to acknowledge that it takes a good company to hire medics like (medic name omitted) and ensure they are qualified and stay qualified. He said that they are a big company, and have had these things happen multiple times, but he has only sent a thank you like this, twice. 
The patient is getting a pacemaker and will be going back to work soon, his family is very very grateful to our medic, and us.
It is situations like this, that show us, that it is worth all of the time and effort we put into Raising the Industry Standard! 
Furthermore, the Senior Drilling Engineer from our client, sent this message:
I don’t know how much you know of the incident on (rig number omitted for privacy) last night but I want to let you know how much (Consultant names omitted for privacy) and the rig manager are singing praise for (medic name omitted for privacy). I think it is well deserved after hearing how the incident played out and her response and professionalism. I personally thanked (the medic) via phone last night, although she may not remember - understandably.
I suspect your internal reports do a better job of describing the incident than I could and I don’t want to breach any privacy issues, suffice to say it was a very eventful evening and I understand (medic name) didn’t make it to bed until nearly 4am today. 
Jessica, (Founder and President of Octane) Our conversation some months back seems ironic. (Medic name) exhibited exactly the level of professionalism we had hoped for.
Have a great, uneventful day(!!!),
This man is going home to his family.
We know the WHY. We prepare for the WHY. Thank you to our Field Team, and the medic on this job specifically, for consistently, and purposely, being a Stand Up, Elite Team of Professionals.
Every day, we are so very proud of each and every one of you.

With more than 19,000 jobs lost in the past year, house closures up 30 per cent and suicide rate projections nearly doubling, the Alberta workforce is struggling with some heavy stress.

 While those who have been laid off are going through their own struggles, don’t underestimate the workplace trauma experienced by those still employed.

 Trauma is an emotional response to a deeply distressing or disturbing experience, as something that happens unexpectedly, swiftly, and is physically threatening, like a hostage crisis or a car accident.

 Although the recession is not cataclysmic, a recession can create an environment that chips away at workers’ sense of security, self-worth, health, and well-being. And ultimately their engagement.

 The brain experiences the workplace first and foremost as a social system. When people feel betrayed or unrecognized, they experience it as a neural impulse, as powerful or painful as a blow to the head. Most people who work in companies rationalize or temper their reactions. But they also limit their commitment and engagement. They become “purely transactional employees”.

 Organizational trauma typically has the following qualities:

1. A breakdown in communication.

2. A breakdown in trust.

3. A breakdown in productivity.

4. Workers feel powerless.

5. Workers feel hopeless.

6. A shake-up in roles and responsibilities happens.

7. Workers will feel a loss.

Trauma leads to decline

Often companies that go through major change don’t get the results they sought.

According to analyst David Sirota, who has studied the issue of layoffs during recessionary periods, only about a third of companies that downsize gain in increased productivity and profits over a subsequent three to five year period.

These companies also under-perform the stock market over that time. Why the failure? A poll by Leadership IQ might provide a clue.

According to that study, 74 per cent of employees who kept their job amidst a corporate layoff say their own productivity has declined since the layoff. And 69 per cent say the quality of their company’s product or service has declined since the layoffs. Likewise, many mergers and acquisitions are doomed to failure.

Physical and emotional response to trauma

The cause of this failure generally comes down to the state of mind of employees. It is the employees, after all, who make or break a company’s success. All of this can seriously impact morale and job performance.

Physical: headaches, neck or back pain, chest pain, stomach aches, lack of energy, a change of appetite, difficulties with sleep, restlessness, shaky feelings and panic attacks.

Emotional: irritability, anger, rage, a heightened level of suspicion, losing trust in those previously trusted, anxiety, feelings of hopelessness, denial and feelings of futility for the future.

Cognitive: blaming others; negative, magnified, catastrophic thinking; poor attention, concentration and memory; and difficulty making decisions or solving problems.

Behavioral: withdrawal, avoidance, emotional outbursts, suspiciousness, and an increase in alcohol or drug consumption, pacing and immobilization.

Build up your resilience

The single best way to both prevent and respond to these events, is to help everyone build up their resilience. Resilience is the “process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or even significant sources of stress — such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors.”

“It means ‘bouncing back’ from difficult experiences.”

Here are the ten ways that individuals can build resilience to trauma: 

1.Make connections.

2.Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable problems.

3.Accept that change is a part of living.

4.Move toward your goals.

5.Take decisive actions.

6.Look for opportunities for self-discovery.

7.Nurture a positive view of yourself.

8.Keep things in perspective.

9.Maintain a hopeful outlook.

10.Take care of yourself.

This list is offered for individuals, but it is easily translated to an organizational level.

Five steps to limit workplace trauma:


Build trust and short-circuit the rumor machine by being transparent. Give employees frequent, detailed information about the changes affecting your organization. Keep lines of communication primed, both across groups and up the chain of command, by encouraging daily communications of all kinds. According to Jeanie Daniel Duck, a former senior partner of the Boston Consulting Group and author of The Change Monster: The Human Forces That Fuel or Foil Corporate Transformation and Change, the most powerful thing a manager can do is: “interpret what’s going on for people and explain what it means for them in specific, concrete terms.”


Clarify or re-clarify organizational goals, mission and values. If those things have changed, be sure employees understand how that change affects them and their role. Create peace of mind for workers by communicating strong goals for the organization that can mark a return to stability and ensure future predictability.


Involve employees in decision-making. Revive their self-esteem and optimism by setting clear, achievable objectives and offering the proper tools to achieve results. When employees exert effort, offer them positive feedback that reassures them they are appreciated, and rebuilds their confidence in themselves and the organization.


The most fundamental need people have in times of change or crisis is always the same: support, from one another and from authority figures. Give your employees ways to emotionally connect with each other and with leaders. Encourage them to build a broad social network of bonds throughout the organization. A broader support system will help sustain them even if some of those lines are re-wired or severed.


Do not act blindly. Be sure you are, as David Sirota calls it, “managing by fact”. Obtain the adequate tools to measure your culture and monitor the relationships that sustain it. Make sure you understand where your strengths and weaknesses are, who your influencers are, and how your company communicates. This will help you respond swiftly and accurately in the event of crisis.


COR Auditing: Get yours done despite staffing and shut down challenges

Regardless of the economic down turn in oil and gas, the industry continues to require businesses to have a current Enform Certificate of Recognition (COR) certification. That means businesses working with or for the oil and gas industry must have an external COR audit every three years and an internal or baseline audit annually.

COR auditing offers companies an effective way to measure the practices and systems used to encourage health and safety in their workplaces against association, industry and jurisdiction standards. However, temporary shut downs, and a reduction in operations can make it difficult for businesses to complete COR certification or their maintenance audit.

Here are some useful Enform policies specific to the current economic situation to know before booking your annual audit with Octane Safety Services.

For employers with a reduced number of worksites:

1. Sampling requirements are based on your best estimate of your high or medium activity levels for the current year.

2. You must have at least one active field site. You may require a new external audit if you have acquired new operations or undergone major business expansions.

3. You cannot deliberately schedule your audit at times when your activity levels are low as a cost saving measure. If you are found to have done so deliberately, you could face the loss of COR or need a re-audit, costing you more money.

For employers who have been reduced to out-of-province worksites only:

1. You can request permission to use out-of-province worksites for the current audit year. You must make an application to Enform ( prior to the audit starting.

2. If you use this option, you will be required to submit a report that details fatalities, serious injuries or incidents as well as any occupational health and safety violations that occur in any operations outside of their province.

For employers without any active worksites:

1. The Six Month COR, which is an administrative audit, is an option if you don’t have an active worksite when your audit is due. It will keep your COR certification valid until a full audit can be done under normal operations.

2. If you’ve reached the end of the Six Month COR and are still inactive, you can apply for an additional Six Month COR, which can be conducted by an internal auditor.

Ready to audit?

Allow Octane Safety Services to guide you through this process today at 780-691-7025.

Octane Industry Observer

“Concern for man himself and his safety must always be the chief interest of all technical endeavours.” - Albert Einstein

It is from this concern for others that we offer up information on current trends in the occupational health and safety industry in Canada.

We aim to bring you the latest information on new medic and safety equipment, safety training opportunities, workplace safety and offer up advice on how to meet industry safety standards in your business.

A safe workplace makes for a productive and happy one!

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