Rescue Services | Permit-Required Confined Spaces

Add a note hereIt is up to the employer to decide whether rescue services will be provided by onsite employees or by contracting with an offsite service. OSHA expects that each employer having permit-required confined space hazards will ensure that rescue procedures are adequate, whatever means are used. Many employers rely on offsite rescue services, such as those provided by local fire departments, to handle their emergency situations. Often, however, small local fire departments are neither adequately trained nor equipped to effectively handle such an emergency. 

Add a note hereThe decision of whether to contract with an offsite emergency rescue service or to train and equip in-house personnel rests with the employer. Response time, adequate preparedness, and competence of the emergency team are the key elements in successful rescue procedures. The time lapse between the initial contact of an offsite rescue service and implementation of its rescue may be too great to save lives, while an onsite emergency team has a greater opportunity to immediately implement rescue operations.

Add a note hereAn onsite team which is appropriately trained and equipped may be able to perform more effective rescue services because team members are familiar with the facility and are closer to the spaces being entered. However, many small employers do not have the time, expertise, or personnel to develop an in-house rescue team and outside resources may be the only viable option for them. There are many factors for employers to consider when deciding whether to use an on-site or offsite rescue team.

Add a note hereOffsite rescue and emergency services

Add a note hereOSHA requires that prospective rescue services be evaluated for their proficiency with rescue-related tasks, adequate equipment, and ability to function appropriately while rescuing entrants from the employer’s particular type of permit spaces.
Add a note hereEmployers choosing to use an offsite service must evaluate the prospective rescue team or service to ensure that it:
§  Add a note hereHas the capability to reach the victim(s) within an appropriate time frame;
§  Add a note hereIs equipped for and proficient in performing the needed rescue services;
§  Add a note hereKnows the hazards they may confront when called on to perform rescue; and
§  Add a note hereHas access to all permit spaces from which rescue may be necessary so that the rescue service can develop appropriate rescue plans and practice rescue operations.

Add a note hereOnsite employee rescue and emergency services

Add a note hereEmployers that choose to train and equip their own onsite rescue team must:
§  Add a note hereProvide team members with the personal protective equipment needed to conduct rescues safely and train them to use the PPE appropriately;
§  Add a note hereTrain team members to perform assigned rescue duties;
§  Add a note hereTrain team members in basic first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). At least one member of the rescue team or service must hold a current certification in first aid and CPR; and
§  Add a note hereEnsure that team members practice making permit space rescues at least once every 12 months, using a space similar to the types of spaces from which rescues would be made.
Add a note hereHospitals or treatment facilities have to be provided with any material safety data sheets (MSDSs) or other information in a permit space hazard exposure situation that may aid in treatment of rescued employees.

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