Dave McCashin came from a background of working at heights in the mountains where he had worked early in his career. The concepts and principles of protection and emergency response were the same, just applied in a different environment. In 1990, by chance, he met the president of a fall protection manufacturing company that was designing some of first fall protection harnesses in Alberta. Dave was asked to give his input and was put to work doing drop tests, writing instructions and problem solving. Industrial rescue equipment in those days was primitive and was nothing like what was being used by mountain rescue teams at the time. Dave helped design and package rescue kits that were lighter and more innovative. The natural next step was to provide training and to address that, TRG Inc. was started in 1994 and incorporated in 1996.
prior to 1990
TRG Inc. was conceived long before incorporation. The company president had been a mountaineering instructor since the 70s and learned rope work as a part of his trade. He was also an exploration geologist leading mining projects in the Yukon and North West Territories. Periodically geologists and students were forced to take samples on sheer mountain faces in remote locations. Working at heights safety was born.
Safety education was taken seriously early on. Dave helped develop a series of instruction manuals when working for the Federation of Mountain Clubs of BC. These manuals provided a framework for training manuals and educational material that were later developed for industrial safety.
In the late 80s, Dave formalized a lot of his experience to that point and became certified by the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides. At the time, this certification was not mandatory but today a person working in mountainous environments must be certified to this standard as a minimum. Rope Rescue principles and innovations come mostly from the work that is done by this organization and their sister organizations in Europe.
1990 - 2000
Some highlights of TRG Inc’s achievements in the 90s include:
- designed and taught the first fall protection and rescue training for railroad bridge workers in the US
- taught some of the first fall protection training courses in Western Canada
- wrote and produced two fall protection videos
- provided key input into the design of the first fall protection system for union iron workers in Alberta
- developed the first horizontal lifeline installation course in western Canada
- co-invented fall protection harnesses and rescue anchor systems
- introduced modern fall protection and rope rescue concepts to South America working for mine construction projects in Chile and Peru.
2000 - present
In the early part of the 21st century the company added consulting to their repertoire. Professional fall hazard assessments were a new concept. Clients realized that the first step in a effective fall protection program was to clearly identify hazards and eliminate them with engineering controls , design and procedures. In 2003 the Alberta OHS Code was born and the need for fall hazard assessments as well as fall protection plans and written rescue plans was formalized. Safety professionals recognized that there are clear steps required to plan an effective fall protection program and to prepare for any emergency that might arise.
Fall protection and rescue continues to evolve as techniques and equipment become more diverse and sophisticated. Instead of choosing from simple harnesses, lanyards and anchors there are literally 1000's of different equipment combinations.
Standards organizations like CSA and ANSI revise their standards much more frequently and have added standards that didn't exist just a few years ago. Employers are more challenged to pick the right equipment and to ensure that the equipment complies with the local regulations. The goal is to keep the end user engaged and make sure they they feel comfortable with the process so they will work safely.