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Confined Space Rescue Teams: Equipment Requirements
Emergencies surrounding industrial operations and residential or commercial projects can be stressful. The situation is even more nerve-wracking if it involves environments designated as confined spaces.
However, understanding the risks involved makes working in such places safer. As such, confined space rescue teams should use the appropriate equipment to carry out their missions should a disaster occur.
Most confined spaces such as tunnels, tanks, boilers, and sewers often require a permit. According to the OSHA guidelines, anyone with a permit-required confined space must have a fully-equipped confined space rescue team onsite or standby to help during an emergency.
Equipment and Other First-aid Supplies
Many emergency rescue scenarios occur due to construction accidents, support failures, earthquakes, or other natural disasters. A rescue team must be appropriately equipped to perform a safe rescue operation in such circumstances.
Typically, a confined space rescue team consists of trained personnel offering a range of emergency support services. They require equipment such as:
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): A confined space rescue team must have complete safety protective gear nearby at all times. Full personal protective gear should include protective eyewear, breathing barriers, foot protection, hand gloves, head protection, and more.
- Emergency oxygen: This is important as it provides purer air to the victim, which can help increase their chances of survival.
- Rescue Harnesses: Confined space harnesses are designed for confined space entry and heavy rescue and are usually used for a broad range of work at high heights.
- Tripods: Tripods are portable support equipment for the vertical-entry rescue system. Tripods vary in height, and have three legs interconnected at the bottom using a bar, chain or hobble strap. The tripod provides a robust and stable platform while restricting access into the confined space.
- Self-Retracting Lanyards (SRL-Rs): There are many confined space retrieval devices, but the most commonly used ones are the self-retracting lanyards with rescue capabilities. However, sometimes it's easy to confuse the SRL-Rs with the leading edge models – SRL-LE or the standard self-retracting lanyards – SRL-P. It's worth noting that the self-retracting lanyards with rescue capabilities can prevent a fall or rescue an injured person by lowering or raising them from a confined environment.
- Rescue Winches: A personal rescue winch has a cable across the base of a rotating drum and is tuned by a motor. Rescue winches are a must-have for confined space rescue teams because they help arrest falls during entry, rescue, or retrieving victims. Remember that winches should also be attached to a fall protection system to protect workers in case of a winch fail.
Confined space operations pose a significant risk to your employees, and this could potentially lead to deaths. Having a confined space rescue team with the right equipment can help reduce the possibility of these risks. The list of equipment discussed above is just a sample of what OSHA recommends. You may require additional equipment based on the type and nature of your confined space.