How To Prepare For Emergencies In Confined Space Entry

One of the most important things that you can do in the case of an emergency in the confined space entry is to be prepared. That’s right – it’s absolutely necessary, and in fact required, for you to have rescue personnel with personal protective and rescue equipment ready and available to help rescue your employees in the event of an emergency involving a worker who is working in a confined space. In order to ensure that your business is prepared for a confined space rescue scenario, here are a few tips to consider.


Run Rescue Drills

The rescue service personnel, as well as your employees, must also be trained as authorized entrants and be trained in performing the assigned rescue duties, CPR and first aid that is laid out in your confined space entry emergency evacuation and rescue plan. It is incredibly important to run rescue drills on a regular basis and to adequately inform employees of the hazards that are present in every confined space that they will be working in. By having staff members and rescue personnel practice different confined space rescue scenarios, they will be better prepared to react appropriately when an actual emergency occurs.


Understand What Constitutes a Confined Space Emergency

Not all situations are considered emergencies when it comes to incidents in confined spaced. The determining factor to help you decide whether an incident is an emergency or not is time sensitivity. For example, if an employee becomes trapped in a confined space and there is limited oxygen in the air within the space, then that is considered a very time-sensitive scenario and an emergency that needs a swift and planned rescue in order to save that employee’s life. Conversely, an employee who is trapped in a space that has sufficient oxygen levels does not require the same level of urgency that a trapped employee with a limited air supply requires. These types of situations can take a slower and more methodical approach to performing the rescue. Generally speaking, if there are any additional hazards that would cause a life threatening injury to the trapped employee, then any scenario where an employee gets trapped in the space should be considered an emergency.


Ensure Every Entrant Wears Proper Equipment

For authorized confined space entrants, they must have a chest or full body harness on, attached to a retrieval line at the center of their backs. If this option doesn’t seem feasible or if it creates a greater hazard, then wristlets may be used instead. The retrieval line must be attached to a fixed point or a mechanical device outside of the confined space and it must be capable of retrieving a person who is in a vertical space more than 5ft deep.


Survey Confined Spaces and Openings Before Working in Them

In order to quickly and successfully perform a rescue in a confined space, you will need to have complete knowledge of the layout, measurements, and parameters of the confined space and the entry point. You will need to know if there are any additional hazards, such as chemicals or parts that the stuck employee could get caught on during the rescue. Knowing these ahead of time will allow you to factor them into your pre-planned rescue procedures so you can select the right tools and rescue techniques for any scenario and greatly increase the chances of a successful rescue.


Discuss Rescue Capabilities With Local Authorities

In many confined space rescue scenarios, the local police, fire department and paramedics need to be brought on to the scene to assist with the rescue and first aid treatment of the trapped employee. These departments will have different resources, capabilities, and response times in a large city compared to a suburban or rural town. Understanding what they are capable of and what they can do to assist you in a confined space rescue scenario is crucial to formulating a confined space entry emergency evacuation and rescue plan that is as effective as possible.


Have A Rescue Team Ready

Having a trained rescue team ready to respond to confined space emergencies is crucial for ensuring employees can be properly rescued in a timely manner. This team could consist entirely of your employees who have been trained and certified for confined space rescue, or it could include members of local emergency responders. Alternatively, you could hire an external contractor to provide a rescue team for your business. How to build this team will ultimately depend on the resources available to your business.


Bring Your Confined Space Rescue Team In-House

A safe work place is crucial and ensuring that you have the right safety procedures and policies for things such as working at heights, first aid CPR, confined space entry, as well as things like WHMIS-GHS can create a great work environment that is safe and productive. Since Advanced Consulting and Training Ltd.’s founding, their diverse team of certified health and safety professionals have taken great pride in their ability to deliver prompt, cost-effective and relevant workplace health and safety solutions. As a CPO approved, TSSA accredited, and WSIB approved provider, we look forward to discussing how ACT can help with your companies safety requirements. Contact us today.




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