David L. Bush


Bush, David 1418081

1) Director, IQCIA
2) Founder, Chairman of the Board, CSTRA
3) Chief Executive Officer, OSHA Plans, LLC
Industry: Government
Field: IDLH Confined Space Rescue and Aboveground Storage Tanks

David Bush has never lost a life on a rescue mission in 36 years, has logged more than five thousand lives saved, and over five million man hours in IDLH situations without a single first aid incident in his career. A Master Trainer and Level IV Incident Commander, he serves as a director of the Individual Qualification and Certification Institute of America (IQCIA), based in Washington, D.C., which provides the highest recognized  level of certifications for tank entry supervisors, IDLH confined space technical and rescue teams, confined space entry supervisors and safety professionals. Mr. Bush’s experience and expertise is utilized by many governments and state agencies, both domestic and foreign, to improve the standards in training, confined space operations, above ground tank regulations, IDLH confined space rescue and Incident Command.

As one of the directors at IQCIA, his responsibilities include the management and development of the stringent curriculum and quality of the individual qualification and certification programs and qualifying certification officers (instructors). He is the lead author in the IQCIA committee that is responsible for the development and production of the New IQCIA RG’s (recommended guidelines) for the petroleum, petro chemical, power generation, mines and rescue industries. Additionally, he is often called upon to lead highly trained rescue teams into above ground storage tanks, mines, power plants, refineries, and other IDLH confined space technical and rescue disasters wherever they occur.

Mr. Bush is the founder and chairman of the board of the Confined Space Technical Rescue Association based in Houston Texas (CSTRA). Its primary goal is to decrease the number of fatalities in confined spaces, mines, and above ground storage tanks by 50 percent each decade until the number is zero. The efforts of the association resulted in the first recommended guidelines for IDLH confined space rescue operations, above ground storage tanks, and mines that are regulated by MSHA. The CSTRA developed the most intense qualifying certification program and curriculum for Confined Space Rescue Teams.  NFPA clearly states that the quality and skills of the team is what makes a competent rescue team, not an individual’s certification. The team must train and qualify by successfully completing five evolutions (Tier I – Tier 5) within the time required. The rescue job book score must be at least 98 percent accurate.

Mr. Bush is the author of the STOP Accidents Safety Program. The program includes one of the first Injury Illness Prevention Programs used in California. He authored one of the first behavioral-based safety programs called S.O.S., which he later taught at the colligate level at several colleges and universities, including the University of California. He also serves as the chief executive officer of OSHA Plans, LLC, based in Glendale, California. The STOP Accidents Safety Program is utilized throughout the world by thousands of companies, U.S. government agencies and foreign governments. Mr. Bush was one of the three developers of the SMART Testing System (Statistically Measured Analyzed Retainability Testing), one of the most advanced tests that measures the individual’s ability to retain, comprehend and apply the information presented during any course. The system will identify any misinformation, and analyze what the student retains from entry to exit. The statistics provides the instructor with instant knowledge to evaluate the student’s progress and adapt the curriculum accordingly. Mr. Bush is an emergency management specialist through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. He is also a certified safety specialist through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor. Mr. Bush remains the leader in his field through his active affiliation as a board member in numerous organizations, federal and state governments, and various associations, such as The American Society of Safety Engineers and the National Fire Protection Association. He credits his successful career to his persistence and ability to stay focused on the projects and missions, sound safety practices, careful thorough job plans, and most important, hazard recognition and control. He and his crew members all share a common goal, which is to stop accidents through old fashioned training methods, great safe work and execution plans and sound safety programs. “Each person needs to believe that every accident is preventable, at work and home,” he says. “Only you can prevent accidents and save lives. If you can predict it… you can prevent it!”

Conversation with David Bush

Worldwide Publishing: On what topics do you consider yourself to be an expert?

David Bush: Above ground storage tank entry supervisor training, IDLH confined space rescue, safety, technical writing, regulatory compliance, train the trainer and incident command.

What characteristics help to separate you from your competitors?

My four decades of experience and knowledge in safety, regulatory compliance, confined space rescue, training and technical response to IDLH situations all over the world.

What motivates you?

Using my God-given talents to teach and save others from certain death. The unknown, my desire to make a difference, and not being afraid to do something that has never been attempted before motivates me.

What lessons have you learned as a professional in your field?

When you think you have seen every kind of confined space rescue emergency situation, just wait because the next one will probably be one that you have not seen until you arrive on that scene. One will always learn valuable lessons during each situation and rescue mission.

What short-term and long-term career goals are you currently pursuing?

My short-term goal is to provide the best and most qualified tank entry supervisors on tank projects in order to eliminate fatalities. My long-term goal is to change current industry certification standards to qualify individuals before they are certified, and ensure that they understand and can effectively perform all areas of responsibility.

What is the most difficult obstacle or challenge you have faced in pursuit of your goals?

Getting people to make a change, and working with senior and upper management to help them understand the benefits, differences and advantages of having a qualified supervisor leading your projects versus someone holding just a certificate based on a single test or a computer-based training certificate. The decision makers and upper management must be held accountable for the safety of others, the integrity of the project, and the protection of the environment with the choices they make in the quality and level of training of their supervisors.

What is the most significant issue facing your profession today?

People being in the field who are not qualified to safely and effectively perform their duties and responsibilities that are getting people injured and killed.

What are some questions that an individual interested in your services can ask to ensure a more productive relationship?

People need to visit the website, http://www.iqcia.org, in order to understand our unique approach to qualification and certification of individuals and rescue teams.

What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of your profession?

Teaching others and saving lives.

What is your favorite or least favorite work-related task to do and why?

My favorite aspect is doing pre-entry meetings before a rescue mission, and my least favorite part is dealing with old school mentality.

What advice can you offer fellow members or others aspiring to work in your industry?

Make sure your heart is in the job, and that you have the ability to remain calm, in control and let your training take over in stressful situations when others around you are losing it.

What changes have you observed in your industry/field since you started?

Training was originally conducted by instructors until technology came around with computer based training and we saw more accidents each decade. Now, we are getting back to instructors and hands on practical training, because this is a field that needs “in your face” training to ensure everyone is qualified.

How do you see these changes affecting the future of your industry?

There will be more qualified people in the field who have the ability to prevent accidents and eliminate fatalities. The accident and fatalities will continue to decrease.

Do you do any public speaking?

Yes, on the topics of training, confined space rescue, above ground storage tanks, safety, changing safety cultures, regulatory compliance and motivation.

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