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When Do You Need a Confined Space Rescue Team?

Confined space rescue

Confined spaces are naturally hazardous and not suitable for continuous occupancy, but they are necessary in some factories and other such workspaces. If you have a process vessel, chemical tank, boiler, tunnel, sewer, or other similar spaces in your facility, you may be legally required to have access to a confined space rescue team. This team consists of trained personnel who understand the health and safety risks associated with the entry of and working in confined spaces, and can provide rescue equipment and services should something go wrong.

Confined space rescue delivers emergency retrieval systems, medical trauma kits, personal protection equipment, and supplied air units during potential rescue in IDLH environments. The team also oversees the activities outside and inside the confined space to guarantee safe entry.

Do you need one?

If your facility has a Permit Required Confined Space, then OSHA may require you to have your own confined space rescue team.

Another way to determine if you need one is to think about this scenario: If someone inside the space is rendered unconscious, can you safely remove them without entering that space? If you answered ‘no,’ then you definitely need a confined space rescue team on standby or on-site.

Should you train your staff or outsource the service?

Some facilities outsource the rescue service because it’s more cost-effective to do so. If you have the budget and you want prompt response in case of an incident, then it makes sense to invest in training an in-house team. It’s even more important to have your own rescue team if your confined space has a hazardous IDLH atmosphere that forced air ventilation cannot remove.

There is peace of mind in having your own rescue team that knows exactly how to respond to accidents in spaces that can potentially engulf or entrap, or in spaces where it can be difficult to safely remove an unconscious person. Proper training will enable your standby rescue teams to respond to incidents in a timely manner, too—ideally in less than five minutes. They will also be trained on how to react should the rescue mission become more challenging.

What are the penalties for violations?

OSHA requires a standby confined space rescue team for every entry into permit required confined spaces. The penalties have been adjusted for inflation in 2016, so if you are found to be in violation, you may be fined $126,000 or more. If you want to avoid this and keep your workers safe, now is a good time to invest in training.

Impact Safety provides confined space rescue training and we are ready to assist you with any confined space entry project. We can also help you with planned shut-downs or last-minute entries for quick repairs.

Do you have an active team? We offer a confined space rescue refresher course to keep them up-to-date with industry changes and to meet annual training requirements as per OSHA 29 CFR Part 1910.146. We also provide confined space competent person training for individuals who are trusted with the confined space entry, planning, and administering or supervising individuals who work in confined spaces.