Crew Training and Safety (Standard Operating Procedure 2)




НазваниеCrew Training and Safety (Standard Operating Procedure 2)
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Crew Training and Safety (Standard Operating Procedure 2)


Shenandoah National Park Forest Vegetation Monitoring


Version 1.4


2.1 Overview

This SOP describes safety topics to be discussed and procedures for training field technicians involved in forest monitoring field work. Field technicians may include seasonal NPS employees, Student Conservation Association (SCA) interns and volunteers. The topics described in this SOP should be completed in the first week of the season, with the exception of a few subjects that may be addressed later in the year or on an ‘as-needed’ basis. Training topics covered during park and NPS orientation of seasonals (e.g. park orientation, timekeeping, administrative topics) are not included in this document.

Topics with Associated Subtopics and Resources Listed

Safety (2.2)

  • Emergency contact information

  • Park radios

  • First aid training and kits (kit supplies: Appendix 2A)

  • Ticks (Job Hazard Analysis: Appendix 2B)

  • Wildlife and Plant Hazards (Snake bite pharmacology, first aid, and facts: Appendix 2C)

  • Weather Hazards

  • Backpack Use

  • Travel and Backcountry Work Hazards (Job Hazard Analyses: Appendix 2D and 2E)

  • Computer workstation ergonomics (Appendix 2F)

  • Procedures for reporting an accident (Appendix 2G and 2H)

  • Safety briefings


Crew member responsibilities (2.3)

  • Personal field gear (Appendix 1A)

  • Being prepared

  • Field communication and staying together

  • Proper disposal of human waste in the backcountry


Office Tasks (2.4)

  • Computer orientation

  • Paper file orientation

  • Data entry and verification (SOP 15)

  • Creating field maps and route descriptions (SOP 4)

  • Herbarium use and specimen processing (SOP 14)

  • Rebar cap embossing (SOP 4)


Plant Identification (2.5)

  • Plant morphology (Appendix 2I)

  • Plant identification manuals and dichotomous keys

  • Other resources (park vascular plant list: Appendix 2J)

  • Collecting Specimens (SOP 14)


Navigation (2.6)

  • Maps (Appendix 2K, Chapters 1 and 2)

  • Compass (Appendix 2K, Chapter 3)

  • Orienteering (Appendix 2K, Chapter 4)

  • Global positioning system units (SOP 3)


Camera Use (2.7)

  • Digital camera use (SOP 7)

  • Photo log notebook


Forest Monitoring Field Methods Training (2.8)

  • Program overview

  • Equipment storage

  • Determining aspect

  • Determining slope

  • Staff compass use

  • Running tapes

  • Tallying data counts

  • Tree measurements

  • Shrub/sapling measurements

  • Seedling/sprout measurements

  • Estimating percent cover

  • Coarse woody debris, and dead and downed fuels measurements


2.2 Safety

The following safety topics are relevant to the forest monitoring program. All topics should be covered in training at the beginning of the field season with all new and returning employees and volunteers who will be participating in forest monitoring activities. It should not be assumed that returning crew members know or remember all pertinent information.

Emergency Contact Information

Communications Center Wendy B. Cass, Botanist

Shenandoah National Park Shenandoah National Park

3655 US Hwy 211 East 3655 US Hwy 211 East

Luray, VA 22835 Luray, VA 22835

Email: Shen_Communications@nps.gov Email: Wendy_Cass@nps.gov

Phone: (540) 999-3422 Phone: (540) 999-3500 x3432

Radio call number: 740 Radio call number: 623


Each crew member should memorize or keep this information available in their backpack and at their place of residence. A copy of this information should also be kept in the glove compartment of each government vehicle used by the crew, as well as a park phone/radio list and parkwide standard operating procedures for emergency situations (e.g. hazardous material release reporting).


Park Radios

The proper use of park radios must be covered during orientation. Crew call numbers, dispatch call number, radio channels, repeaters, volume, squelch, radio language and etiquette, dead zones, batteries and use during lightning storms should be discussed.

First Aid Training and Kits

Each crew member should have a current first aid/CPR certification. The park provides training at the beginning of each field season for any employees and volunteers who need training, and the Botanist and/or crew leader should facilitate enrollment. During vegetation monitoring training sessions, the instructor should cover the contents of the crew member, crew leader, and vehicle first aid kits. All kits should be checked for completeness and restocked as supplies are used throughout the season. See Appendix 2A for a list of kit contents.

Ticks

Preventative measures should be covered, including awareness and the proper use of repellents (Permanone®, DEET), clothing options (light colored outerwear, BuzzOff™ clothing, RynoSkin™ clothing, others) and after-work procedures (thorough inspection, prompt washing/drying of field gear). Crew members should be familiar with basic tick identification. An overview of tick-borne illnesses and allergies, their symptoms and responses should be mentioned. Procedures for completing the tick log should be demonstrated. See Appendix 2B for the Job Hazard Analysis for Working in Tick Infested Areas.

Wildlife/Plant Hazards

Crew members should be acquainted with other potential wildlife/plant hazards encountered during forest monitoring program fieldwork, including venomous snakes (timber rattlesnakes, copperheads, see Appendix 2C on snake bites), stinging insects (e.g. yellow jackets), bears, poison ivy and stinging nettles. The identification, habitat, frequency of occurrence and degree of hazard posed by these species should be covered. Any preventative measures and proper response to encounters should be included in training.

Weather Hazards

Environmental hazards that may be encountered during forest monitoring fieldwork should be discussed. Heat safety should be covered, including symptoms and response to heat exhaustion/heat stroke and preventative measures. Employees should be made aware of the procedures to be followed in the event of lightning/thunderstorms.

Backpack Use

Each technician will be assigned a backpack for carrying forest monitoring program equipment and personal items into the field. Each pack should contain a small first aid kit. The Botanist or crew leader should demonstrate procedures for packing, carrying, and hiking with heavy packs in order to position weight properly (i.e. not too low) on the back.

Travel and Backcountry Work Hazards

Technicians need to be familiar with safe procedures for getting to and from forest monitoring sites, and working in backcountry conditions. Vehicle safety should be discussed, including procedures for driving on mountain and administrative roads, using safety vests, and making stream crossings. Driving hazards (e.g. wildlife or pedestrians in roadways) and prohibitions (e.g. use of electronics and texting while driving) should be discussed, and procedures to be followed in the event of a collision should be mentioned. Procedures for reporting and correcting vehicle problems should be covered. Discuss the Job Hazard Analysis for Light Vehicle Operation (Appendix 2D). In addition to topics mentioned above, forest monitoring program safety training should also include foot travel and proper footwear, and the procedures to be followed in the event that a crew member becomes separated from the group should be discussed. Discuss the Job Hazard Analysis for Backcountry Travel and Work (Appendix 2E) in detail.

Computer Workstation Ergonomics

Crew members should be familiar with proper workstation ergonomics to minimize fatigue and injury while conducting data entry and other tasks at computer stations (Appendix 2F).

Procedures for reporting an accident

Crew members should be informed of what to do in the event of a work-related accident or medical condition (e.g. tick related illnesses) requiring medical attention, both while at and off work. The crew leader should ensure that directions to area hospitals are available in all work vehicles and that crew members know what to do in case of emergency while in the backcountry, including communicating with the Comm Center. Training should include discussion of how to fill out the SMIS online accident reporting forms (Appendix 2G and 2H).

Safety Briefings

Weekly safety briefings and discussions will be initiated by the crew leader and/or Botanist throughout the field season to review the safety topics covered above, and to introduce new topics as needed. When accidents do occur or near-misses are observed, the crew leader and/or Botanist will discuss these events with the entire crew in order to prevent repeat occurrences.

2.3 Crew Member Responsibilities

Every crew member needs to understand that it is their responsibility to arrive at the office on-time, every day, ready to be a full participant in whatever task the crew undertakes. The instructor should review what equipment each technician is expected to have with them at all times as part of their personal gear (see SOP 1, Appendix 1A). Special emphasis should be placed on explaining the importance of carrying and drinking adequate water (2-3 liters per person per day), and carrying sufficient quantities of food to maintain optimum energy. An overview of the importance of carrying a whistle and staying as a group or at least within ear-shot of each other while traveling to and from a site should be given. Do not assume that crew members have backcountry living experience. Make sure to instruct ALL crew members on the proper way to dispose of human waste in the backcountry.

2.4 Office Tasks

Many forest monitoring program tasks are carried out in the office, prior to or after fieldwork. Training should be provided to cover the following topics.

Computer Orientation

Each employee should know how to log on to the park’s computer system. Once on the system they should be able to navigate to the appropriate network locations for storing personal files and images, and work files including GPS data, images, and databases.

Paper File Orientation

Each crew member should know where the forest monitoring paper files are stored. They should also know how the paper files are organized within each drawer and within the lead technician’s and Botanist’s offices.

Data Entry and Verification

See SOP 15 for details on this task. Employees should be familiar with the procedures for accessing the forest monitoring database and participating in data entry. The Botanist or crew leader should check data regularly to ensure correct and consistent data entry is taking place. Employees should also be familiar with the verification procedures for checking entered data against field data sheets.

Creating Field Maps and Route Descriptions (when establishing new sites)

See SOP 4 for details on this task. Drawing route maps and writing directions to monitoring sites on Data Sheet A (SOP 1, Appendix 1B) is often done in the office during inclement weather. Crew members should be given instruction, as needed, in drawing accurate maps to facilitate relocation of sites. An example should be provided, along with instruction in the use of a compass to determine proper orientation of reference maps.

Herbarium Use and Specimen Processing

A tour of the herbarium should be given to all crew members. Instruction should be given in how to locate a specific species within the collection, properly handle specimens to avoid damage, process new herbarium specimens, including use and storage of processing supplies (acid-free herbarium sheets and labels, glue, dissecting needles, single-edge razor blades, plant press, wax paper, foam dividers and ventilators). See SOP 14 for more information.

Rebar Cap Embossing (‘Cap Tapping’)

See SOP 4 for details on this procedure. Crew members should be given instruction in this task and on the use of equipment (rebar caps, wooden cap holder, 2 lb hammer, hand stamp die set, safety goggles, vice grips) in the event that a new site needs to be established or corner posts replaced.

2.5 Plant Identification

Seasonal employees and volunteers involved in forest monitoring program data collection often overstate their plant identification skill level. Assume little to no experience identifying plants until a new employee’s skill level has been observed in the field.

Plant Morphology

Training should include a discussion of basic plant structure, including flower parts (e.g. anther, pistil, stigma) and leaf types (e.g. simple vs. compound). Terms describing leaf margins (e.g. serrate, crenulate) and pubescence types (e.g. tomentose, stellate) should be included. Instructional material should include illustrations and, as much as possible, examples (fresh material and/or herbarium specimens). See Appendix 2I.

Plant Identification Manuals and Dichotomous Keys

Seasonals must be able to use plant identification manuals competently in order to collect good data efficiently. Training should begin with the use of a non-technical field guide, e.g. Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide (Newcomb 1977), the Fern Finder (Hallowell and Hallowell 2001), or Peterson’s Guide to Trees and Shrubs (Petrides 1972), in order to show the basic structure of a key and to acquaint employees with the elements available in many identification references (glossary of terms, illustrations). Training should begin with a hands-on group demonstration, involving working through keys to identify a readily available ‘easy’ species, e.g. garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) or dame’s rocket (Hesperis matronalis). Other fresh material available at training time should be collected to allow technicians to practice individually, with assistance from the Botanist/crew leader, as needed. Once employees are comfortable with the non-technical reference, introduce and have them attempt identifications with a technical manual, e.g. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada (Gleason and Cronquist 1991), Plants of Pensylvania (Rhoads and Block 2007), and Flora of the Southern and Mid-Atlantic States (Weakley 2010). Be sure to allow for enough time for novices to feel comfortable with the use of the reference materials and to monitor progress. Employees should be encouraged to continue to develop their identification skills throughout the season and not to rely on more experienced employees to carry out all identifications.

Other Resources

Seasonal employees should be made aware of other resources available for plant identification, including the park herbarium, the park vascular plant list (Appendix 2J) and on-line resources (The Digital Atlas of the Virginia Flora, http://www.biol.vt.edu/digital_atlas/index.php; National Plants Database, http://www.plants.usda.gov/; and Integrated Taxonomic Information System, http://www.itis.gov/).

Collecting Specimens

Employees should be familiar with the procedures for collecting specimens in the field for later identification in the office. See SOP 14 for more information.

2.6 Navigation

Employees involved in the forest monitoring program will need basic map and compass and GPS skills to navigate to and from monitoring sites, and to create maps to monitoring sitess and at various points during plot installation. This material should be introduced within the first week of the field season as a safety precaution before crew members are taken into the backcountry.

Maps

The vast majority of the maps used in forest monitoring work are topographic maps. Features of a topographic map should be discussed, including scale, north orientation, contour intervals, trails, roads, symbols and color and shape designations. The Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) grid utilized to designate location should be explained (Appendix 2H, Chapters 1 and 2). Both PATC and USGS topographic maps should be introduced.

Compass

The use of a hand compass in conjunction with map reading is necessary for orienteering in the backcountry. Compass needle, declination, compass housing, bearings, magnetism and use of the mirror should be covered during orientation (Appendix 2H, Chapter 3). Separate training should also be provided for use of the staff compass.

Orienteering

Crew members should be instructed and become comfortable with coordinating use of maps, compass and measuring distances on a map and while hiking (Appendix 2H, Chapter 4) in the event that global positioning system technology is not working, or crew members get lost or disoriented in the woods. Each crew member entering the backcountry should know how to return to the vehicle on his/her own without relying on the knowledge of others. When in the field, the crew leader should point out SHEN’s concrete trail markers and trail blazes, and discuss the meanings of various colors and markings.

Global Positioning System (GPS) units

A GPS receiver will be used to navigate to forest monitoring sites and document the location of plot corners, navigation trees and other significant waypoints. Use of the GPS unit including external antenna, batteries, satellite reception, 3D location, accuracy, navigation and marking of waypoints should be discussed (SOP 3).

2.7 Camera Use

Photos are taken at each monitoring site. Thus, it is important that each crew member is comfortable with the use of the digital cameras (Nikon D70S digital camera with 28 mm lens). The proper settings, lens, timer, tripod and camera view need to be covered, as well as documenting photos in the photo log. SOP 7 includes instructions on camera use and how to photograph a forest monitoring site.

2.8 Forest Monitoring Field Methods Training

Prior to beginning forest monitoring field training, employees should understand the objectives of the program. A brief talk by the Botanist should cover the history of the program, and an overview of the development of the sampling design and protocols. A brief description of the data collected, a non-technical description of how they are to be analyzed, and some examples of results should be included. The relevance of the program to natural resource management at SHEN should be stressed, and the program’s role in the nationwide NPS Inventory and Monitoring program mentioned. Technicians should come away with a sense that the work they are being hired to do is worthwhile and will be applicable to the management and protection of park resources, as well as to a regional scientific understanding of eastern forest ecology.

A digital or paper copy of the applicable SHEN Forest Vegetation Monitoring Protocol SOPs should be provided for each crew member to review. Seasonal crew members should review SOPs 1-15 when they will be involved in installing and upgrading sites, and SOPs 1-3 and 6-15 when only conducting routine sampling visits. Many of the procedures detailed in these documents may require preliminary training before going into the field to ensure correct and consistent application of methods among staff. This can be done by creating a ‘mock’ forest monitoring site on the park headquarters property. It is helpful to demonstrate and practice the use of each piece of equipment as part of this process.

The equipment list and data sheets are located in SOP 1. The procedures for installing, setting-up, and repairing forest monitoring sites are described in SOP 4, SOP 5 and SOP 6. The procedures for data collection at forest monitoring sites are described in SOP 8, SOP 9, SOP 10, SOP 11, SOP 12, and SOP 13. The procedures for collecting unknown specimens and ensuring quality and accurate data management are described in SOP 14 and SOP 15.

Equipment Storage

Field technicians should be able to locate and properly use equipment required to complete forest monitoring program field work. At the beginning of the season all equipment will be found in the “gas house” equipment storage building, vegetation monitoring staff offices, and herbarium. Employees should be familiar with the keys required for building and storage cabinet access.

Determining Aspect

The instructor should demonstrate the proper use of a hand compass to determine slope aspect. Procedures for determining the general direction of the slope should be discussed. Each employee should be given an opportunity to determine the slope aspect and should check his/her reading against that of the instructor. The instructor should ensure that trainees understand the site rejection criteria related to slope aspect.

Determining Slope

Employees should be shown, through hands-on demonstration, how to determine slope angle using a clinometer. The instructor should ensure that each trainee understands how to properly sight and read the clinometer, which side of the scale to read and the circumstances under which a site is to be rejected.

Staff Compass Use

Employees should also be shown, via demonstration, how to use the staff compass to install plot sides along the correct azimuth. Each trainee should be given the chance to set up, balance and sight the compass along a specified azimuth. Potential trouble spots and remedies should be discussed, including the influence of metallic objects (e.g. rebar stakes) or local geology on compass behavior, sighting through heavy brush and dealing with obstructions (e.g. trees).




Running Tapes

The instructor should demonstrate the proper installation of measuring tapes along plot sides (SOP 6, Sec 6.7). Running tapes as straight and low to the ground as possible should be emphasized, particularly for brushy areas. The instructor should ensure that each employee understands how to read the slope correction table to determine the slope-corrected length of plot sides and midpoint positions and how to create the Corner 4 diagram if installing or upgrading a plot.

Tallying Data Counts

Several data sheets require tallying counts. Use of a dot tally when counting stems or fine woody debris will help the data recorder keep track of the total. A dot tally is created by forming the following figure, in numerical order, as stems are counted:



Tree Measurements

Employees should be taken step by step through the procedures for measuring trees in the plot, following the protocol outlined in SOP 8 including how to fill out Data Sheet D. Time should be taken to ensure that all employees know how to properly measure the diameter at breast height (dbh) of trees. Because the actual measurement should be made at 1.37 m above ground level, each employee should determine where to position the dbh tape relative to his/her body (i.e. not everyone will necessarily be making measurements at their own breast height). Instructors should demonstrate the proper use of the dbh tape and check to see that each employee understands how to read the tape correctly and ensure that measurements are consistent across the crew. Each employee should measure several trees and compare his/her results with that of the Botanist/crew leader. Discrepancies should be investigated to ensure consistent and correct application of methods.

Procedures for measuring trees with atypical boles (leaning, forked, malformed) should be discussed and, if such trees can be located, demonstrated. Early in the season, atypical trees should be sought out for demonstrations and discussion to ensure collection of precise and accurate data. The Botanist/crew leader should encourage crew members to ask questions in the field whenever there is uncertainty about how or where to measure, and not to guess.

The Botanist/crew leader should ensure that employees understand how to assign trees to crown classes. Examples from each class (dominant, codominant, intermediate and suppressed) should be sought out to distinguish between the types. Make certain that crew members can distinguish between the dominant and codominant classes, and the intermediate and suppressed classes.

Crown health classes are relatively straightforward to determine, though the Botanist/crew leader should check to ensure that employees understand the methodology.

Shrub/Sapling Measurements

Employees should be taken step by step through the procedures for measuring shrubs and saplings in the plot, following the protocol outlined in SOP 9. The crew leader/Botanist should ensure that each employee knows how to fill out Data Sheets E1 and E2 correctly. The crew leader/Botanist should also demonstrate the proper placement of the PVC pole to determine the transect width and height of shrubs. Employees should be able to quickly classify a stem into either the shrub or seedling stratum. Instructors should take time to demonstrate the measurement of shrub stem diameters and ensure that each employee is making measurements in the correct location and is familiar with the procedure for dealing with different branching patterns. How to properly measure vines should be emphasized. Each employee should measure the shrubs in the plot and compare his/her results with those of the Botanist/crew leader. Discrepancies should be investigated to ensure collection of precise and accurate data.

Seedling/Sprout Measurements

Employees should be taken step by step through the procedures for measuring seedling and sprout density and correctly filling out Data Sheet F, following the protocol outlined in SOP 10. As with the shrub measurements, the instructor should ensure that each employee understands how to determine the width of the seedling plot. Employees must also be able to correctly distinguish seedlings/sprouts (<1.5 m tall) from shrubs (>1.5 m tall) and herbs (plants not possessing woody tissue). The Botanist/crew leader should refer to the list of subshrubs in SOP 10 and make certain that each employee is familiar with, and can correctly classify, each species.

Some confusion in this task may arise upon encountering either clonal or highly bushy species. The instructor should ensure that each employee is counting stems based on where the connection to other stems, if any, occurs. Several stems connected at ground level and forming a clump would be counted once. Alternatively, stems connected to one another below ground would be counted individually. Vines are counted as separate individuals each time they root.

Estimating Percent Cover

Employees should be taken step by step through the procedures for estimating the percent cover of herbaceous plants, invasive exotic species and ground cover, following the protocol outlined in SOP 11. The Botanist/crew leader should make certain that employees know how to correctly complete Data Sheet G. The Botanist/crew leader should introduce the concept of cover estimation with a small-scale example (e.g. over a 1 m2 area) for those unfamiliar with the concept. Then, walking the perimeter and diagonals of the forest monitoring plot, the instructor should demonstrate the estimation of cover for the most abundant herbaceous species in the plot. Most species will be present at low cover values, and this is where technicians will likely encounter the most difficulty in distinguishing classes. The Botanist/crew leader should emphasize the size of 1% of the plot area (2.4 m x 2.4 m, or 5.76 m2) and help employees to ‘mentally consolidate’ all of the patches encountered in the plot to estimate the total area covered.

The employees should attempt to estimate cover for the next several species, and compare their results with those of each other and the crew leader/Botanist. Large discrepancies should be investigated to ensure that everyone understands the concept.

Determining which of the herbaceous species present are the five most common is another potential source of confusion. Generally, the first two or three most common species are easily identified, with the last few exhibiting coverage values close to many others. Keeping a running tally of all species present on Data Sheet J and their total coverages as one travels around the plot is a suggested solution to this difficulty.

Employees should also be made aware of the difference between the groundcover types. Most difficulty will arise in distinguishing between decomposed leaf litter and organic soil. The Botanist/crew leader should find examples of each for demonstration purposes. The employees should attempt to distinguish between the types, assign a cover class to each and compare their results with those of the Botanist/crew leader. Discuss and resolve any discrepancies.

Coarse Woody Debris, and Dead and Downed Fuels Measurements

Employees should be taken step by step through the procedures for collecting data on coarse woody debris (CWD), and dead and downed fuels (including woody fuels, litter and duff) following the protocol outlined in SOP 12. The Botanist/crew leader should ensure that employees know how to properly fill out Data Sheet H, what to count, and how they are to be measured. The shapes and orientations of debris that are to be counted and ignored should be highlighted as a potential source of confusion. Employees should understand how to identify, distinguish and measure the litter and duff layers.

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