Working in confined spaces is not risk-free. These are equally dangerous and can lead to life-threatening situations for a worker employed in such spaces. There are times when such dangers are not obvious to a person employed in such spaces. But, what stays important is that the emergency rescue teams must be always available even when there is no emergency situation.
There are certain things that should be kept in mind when handling a confined space emergency:
- Always be ready with an emergency rescue plan
It is mandatory for an employer who has employed workers in confined spaces to be ready with confined space rescue equipment. This is to ensure that any emergency situation that arises is handled promptly without delay.
A worker making an entry into the confined space is always at a risk of meeting an emergency situation such as:
- Contains a hazardous atmosphere.
- Contains a material with the potential to engulf an individual entering the space.
- Internal configuration that might cause an entrant to be trapped.
- Contains any other recognized serious safety or health hazards.
- Choose one of the most appropriate emergency rescue techniques
To handle the emergency situations in confined spaces, there are three types of emergency rescue techniques available:
- Non-entry: This rescue can be performed without making an individual to enter the confined space. It is advisable to make use of such a kind of retrieval system that can be conducted by using a full-body harness, lifeline, anchorage device, or winch.
- Entry by others: A company offering third-party rescue service can be contacted in this situation. This option is most suitable in cases when a particular company does not have trained personnel to perform such operations.
- Entry by trained employees: A company is always allowed to use its trained employees to perform such operations.
- Conducting evaluation of rescue teams
It is essential for an employer utilizing the entry rescue services to make sure that these rescue services are thoroughly checked, in terms of equipment, training, response time and availability. Practice sessions for the employees hired to perform these tasks should also be carried out regularly to make sure that they are able to deliver the required performance in times of need.
- Informing rescuers of permit space hazards
It is important to keep the rescuers informed about the permit space and its entry. They should be provided with access to all permit spaces so that they can plan and design the most appropriate rescue plans for situations that might occur.
Apart from these, it is also important to train the rescuers about the first aid so that they are able to provide the necessary help immediately. Thus, working in confined spaces is definitely risky but having a rescue plan ready can instill confidence to carry on such tasks.