The 7 most effective steps of a confined space rescue plan have been illustrated in this blog, which can help to prevent injuries and fatalities during confined space rescue operations.
What is Confined Space Work Permit
A confined space work permit is a legal and formal document that gives authority to the work crew to perform their tasks inside a confined space with adequate precautions. Confined spaces are not designed for continuous human occupancy. They might have oxygen deficiency or enrichment and hazardous substances that could be caused harm to workers while working inside the confined spaces.
At least two permits shall be required to perform any activities inside confined spaces:
- Confined space entry permit – This permit will give you authorization to get access inside confined space only.
- Work Permit – A work permit shall be needed to commence the activity inside confined spaces after obtaining a confined space entry permit. For instance, if you have to perform hot work (welding, grinding, cutting, etc.) inside a confined space then, first of all, you will have to get two permits, a confined space entry permit and a hot work permit to perform the hot work inside a confined space.
Apart from permits, an effective confined space rescue plan must be developed during the commencement of Confined space activity.
What is Confined Space Hazards
It is well known that confined space is a hazardous place & this is not designed for continuous human occupancy. There might have many hazards inside the confined spaces So, confined space hazards and their control measures must be identified before commencing the activities into the confined space. And there should be a proper confined space rescue plat that will help during rescue operations.
There are many hazards inside confined spaces. The most common confined space hazards are listed below;
- Oxygen deficiency or enrichment.
- Presence of toxic and flammable gases.
- Presence of hazardous substances.
- Poor ventilation.
- Lack of illuminations.
- Unsafe access and egress.
- Untrained task operatives.
- Poor housekeeping.
- Dust accumulation.
- Poor Supervision.
7 Steps of Confined Space Rescue Plan
The confined space rescue plan is crucial to develop for the rescue of workers in case of an emergency occurring during working in a confined space. Planning and executing confined space rescue operations are required a high level of preparation, expertise, and rescue equipment.
Here are the 7- common steps of the confined space rescue plan that can be involved in successful rescue operations.
1. Identification of Confined Spaces
This first step of the confined space rescue plan involves locating, documenting, and identifying confined space within the facilities. Confined spaces can be large enough for employees to enter and perform their assigned tasks. But, there will be limited means of entry or exit, and they shall not be designed for continuous human occupancy.
Examples of confined spaces may include tanks, pipelines, tunnels, wells, pits, boilers, pump stations, silos, drains, underground sewers, etc. Identifying these areas requires a thorough inspection of the facilities which is crucial for safety because it helps workers identify the potentially dangerous zones.
2. Risk Assessment of Confined Spaces
Risk assessment of each confined space with a thorough examination to determine the potential risks is crucial to the plan. This assessment assesses the atmospheric conditions (e.g., oxygen deficiency and enrichment or presence of toxic gases and fumes), physical risks (e.g., slip & trip, falls, entrapment), and other hazards, such as electrical, thermal, etc.
The assessment of confined spaces must be conducted by trained and competent personnel, and this assessment must be revised if there are any changes in the space’s use or configuration. The findings of this assessment must be communicated among concerned task operatives to make them aware of existing hazards and control measures.
3. Access Control by Entry Permit
Access to confined spaces is controlled and managed by implementing an entry permit system. This permit details the specifics of entry, including the entry purpose, expected duration, personnel authorization, existing hazards & control measures, gas test details, emergency contacts, and equipment needed.
Also, a log sheet shall be used by a competent hole watcher deployed at the entrance of confined spaces to keep a record of confined space entrants. Only trained personnel must be allowed to enter a confined space with an approved confined space entry permit.
4. Development of Emergency Procedures
Highlighting/outlining the necessary action plan and line of responsibilities to deal with an emergency within a confined space is very important. Emergency procedures outline the role & responsibilities, actions, proper coordination with external emergency support services, gathering point, and evacuation method.
Emergency procedures must be easily accessible and understood by each individual involved. Continuous training on these procedures will be more effective to ensure that everyone knows their roles and responsibilities. Regular mock drills must be conducted to ensure the effectiveness of these procedures and rescue equipment.
5. Proper Selection of Rescue Equipment
The selection, availability, and maintenance of suitable rescue equipment required for confined spaces are vital. The requirement for rescue equipment varies, depending on the configuration of confined spaces and the associated risks.
Rescue equipment may include full-body harnesses, lifelines, respiratory protection, communication devices, illumination, winches, and more. This equipment must be inspected regularly to ensure its in sound and working condition, and its users must be trained on the proper use of it.
6. Rescue Team Formation And Training
This step is most important because this involved to create a trained and suitable rescue team to respond to confined space emergencies. Members of this team must be selected carefully to ensure they are trained and have the required skills, such as first aid, CPR, etc. They also must be trained in the operation of rescue equipment.
Regularly conducting mock drills and training ensure the team is always prepared to respond quickly and effectively. Deploying a well-trained rescue team can easily minimize the response duration and can also enhance the chance of effective and successful rescue operations. The presence of a well-trained rescue team can also save lives by quickly and effectively responding to a confined space emergency.
7. Regular Mock Drills
Regular drills are crucial to ensure the effectiveness of confined space emergency rescue plans and procedures. This help all members of the rescue team to become familiar with the rescue plan & procedures, equipment, and roles. These mock drills help to understand what improvements are needed to make it more effective while responding to a real emergency.
This can also ensure the effectiveness of rescue equipment required to respond to an emergency. Regular training and drills enhance confidence and ensure everyone knows their roles and responsibilities during confined space emergency rescue operations.
Always take adequate care while working inside confined spaces. Develop and establish an effective Confined space rescue plan. Close supervision must be ensured during the commencement of Confined space activity, and all rescue equipment must be inspected regularly.
Confined space entry must be controlled and managed with its entry permit. A trained hole watcher with a log sheet is to be deployed at the entrance of a confined space to keep the records of entrants.
Q1. What is A Confined Space?
Ans. Confined spaces can be large enough for employees to enter and perform their assigned tasks, but there will be limited means of entry or exit, and they shall not be designed for continuous human occupancy.
Q2. What is Confined Space Work Permit?
Ans. A confined space work permit is a legal and formal document that gives authority to the work crew to perform their tasks inside a confined space with adequate precautions.
Q3. What is Confined Space Hazards?
Ans. Confined space hazards include oxygen deficiency or enrichment, presence of toxic gases, poor ventilation, lack of illumination, restricted means of entry or exit, high temperature & humidity, dust accumulation, untrained personnel, Poor supervision, etc.
- What is Housekeeping in Safety: 10 Examples of Why Housekeeping is Important
- 10 Most Common Scaffolding Hazards And Control Measures.
- What Are The Different Types of Scaffolding: 7 Types of Scaffolding
- 5 Types of Fire Extinguisher And Use
- Duty of Safety Officer: 10 Common Duties of A Safety Officer.