OSHA considers a space to be a confined space when it is large enough to enter, has limited means for entry and exit, and is not designed for continuous occupancy. Across the country workers are constantly entering and working in confined spaces, and it is important to keep those teams safe with properly trained, and equipped confined space rescuers. In a confined space emergency situation, speed, training and the proper tools are the keys to making a successful rescue.
Confined Space Rescue: Time
NFPA 350 recommends that a rescue team be capable of making entry for a rescue within two minutes of the incident occurrence. Two minutes is simply not enough time for rescuers who are located off-site to be able to respond. Many believe that a fire department technical rescue team can serve as a the rescue team as required by OSHA, but the reality is that a fire department response typically takes 4-6 minutes of receiving an alarm, and that doesn’t include the equipment and personnel necessary to facilitate a rescue of this complexity. The reality is, for most fire departments to deliver confined space rescue trained personnel and equipment the response can be far closer to an hour than two minutes.
Confined Space Rescue: Training
On-site confined space standby rescue teams represent the gold standard of worker safety, in large part due to their commitment to training on this specialized form of rescue. On-site confined space rescue teams should be comprised of NFPA certified professional rescuers and must be fully trained in confined space rescue operations. On-site rescue teams should be able to provide evidence of their training, and a minimum of one member of their team must hold current CPR certification. Elevated Safety confined space rescue team members are NFPA certified rescuers in addition to being SPRAT certified rope access technicians and the majority are also employed as professional firefighters, are licensed paramedics and are technical rescue instructors.
Confined Space Rescue: Equipment
Functioning, well-kept equipment is the third component of an on-site confined space rescue team. Elevated Safety confined space teams utilize the latest technology in rescue equipment to ensure the safety of the workers operating in the space. This includes winches, tripods, mechanical advantage systems, as well as state of the art ventilation and air monitoring equipment.
Confined space rescue supervision and scenarios shouldn’t be taken lightly. If your organization has workers that are involved in confined space situations, contact a trained standby confined space rescue team to provide on-site support and rescue, in the event that it is needed.
For more details on Elevated Safety’s confined space capabilities, and to request more information, visit our confined space page.