Though unfortunate, confined spaces are evidently some of the most dangerous working environments. Workers entering such areas face risks such as falls, asphyxiation, and entanglements. These mishaps often occur, which is why as a business owner, you don’t want to be caught by surprise. Only trained personnel can provide rescue equipment and services in confined spaces such as a process vessel, sewer, boiler, or chemical tank. Below are five reasons why you need a confined space rescue team.
If your site qualifies as a permit-required confined space, you are required to develop and implement a response and rescue system. This comprehensive system includes having a confined space rescue team available either on site, or on standby. According to regulation 5 of the confined space regulation, suitable arrangements must be made for emergency rescue. It goes further to state that such sites should not in any way rely on public emergency services. The regulation also bars any worker from entering or working in confined spaces unless arrangements have been made to rescue persons in the occurrence of an emergency.
Risks Associated with Confined Spaces
Confined spaces are categorized as enclosed spaces where the danger of death exists due to conditions present. Risks involved in working in confined spaces include lack of oxygen, injury, and even exposure to hazardous gases and substances. Confined spaces present many opportunities for death and severe injuries from fire or gas explosions. These environments are also at a massive risk of filling up quickly with water, causing drowning, and accumulation of heat, leading to sharp fluctuations in body temperatures. Therefore, it is crucial that these dangers not be underestimated, but measures are put in place, such as having a rescue team.
The dangers posed by confined spaces affect not only the people working in them but also anyone else who attempts to enter the spaces for rescue. This is why any rescue operation should only be carried out by trained personnel with proper equipment. During an emergency, any ill-prepared rescue attempt by untrained staff only serves to put more people at risk. Nearly three-quarters of fatalities occurring in confined spaces result from untrained personnel attempting to save their colleagues. It is therefore prudent to have a confined space rescue team at your disposal.
Confined spaces are cumbersome to access, especially when trying to perform urgent retrieval or rescue. This is because the spaces are often narrow and have limited access points. This is far from ideal, even for a rescuer. Therefore, it is crucial to have measures such as having a rescue team in place for the timely retrieval of workers injured or unconscious in confined spaces. Rescue teams are capable of devising quick strategies on how to access and retrieve workers during an emergency. This makes workflow at your site more efficient.
Specialized Emergency Equipment
Confined space retrievals are no ordinary rescue operations. Apart from training, rescue attempts require specialized rescue equipment, which you don't have to purchase if you have a specialized team. The rescue personnel are equipped with protective clothing, headgear, lighting, and necessary breathing equipment. They also come with mechanical winches and other specialized apparatus to help with vertical descents and retrieving the injured individuals. To wrap it all, it’s the responsibility of every employer whose employees work in confined spaces to ensure that they have a competent team of specialized rescuers on standby should things go wrong. However, it’s not enough to have a rescue team with just sweet-sounding promises and attractive PPE. It would be best if you vetted them to ascertain their capabilities and qualifications.