What are the Roles of an Effective Confined Space Rescue Team?

Continuing with our rescue blog series, our last rescue entry highlighted the technicality of “confined space” classified by OSHA’s Confined Space Standard by definition (29 CFR 1910.146 for General Industry) (29 CFR 1926.1200 for Construction) which contains best practices, procedures and requirements established to protect employees from hazards of entering permit-required spaces.

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Confined Space Entry Rescue Team Roles

An effective confined space rescue team typically consists of three main roles for site safety support. Though specific work sites can be managed in different ways, Amerisafe Group operates in industrial work sites staffed with three man teams, each personnel with a different assigned role. Today we’re going to define each main role of a three-man rescue team and the responsibilities of each role.

Rescuer

  • This role is a rescuer authorized to enter the space to perform the actual rescue
  • Highest risk of all roles

Requirements:

  • Must know the hazards associated with confined space entry
    • Knowledgeable on the means of exposure such as inhalation or dermal absorption
  • Able to recognize signs of symptoms & consequences of the exposure
  • Maintain communication procedures with attendant & know how to alert attendant of hazardous or prohibited conditions
  • Proper use and understanding of personal protective equipment
  • Know how to exit the space/ self-rescue if necessary

Rescue Attendant

  • This role has the most accountability because they have the most responsibilities.
  • Many suspect an attendant solely stands outside the space and provides assistance if entrant is troubled.
  • An attendant is required to be responsible for a majority of tasks including the “attendance” of the confined space—inside and out.

Requirements:

  • Knowledge of hazards- existing & potential
  • Use air monitoring equipment to keep a close watch on the atmospheric conditions inside the confined space & communicate changes
  • Identify the authorized entrants & communicate with entrants throughout work period
  • Remain outside attending the space until relieved by another authorized attendant
  • Order evacuation of the permit space when required
  • Summon emergency services
  • Guard space from unauthorized personnel & inform rescuer & supervisor if unauthorized personnel enter space

Lead / Entrant Supervisor

  • Directly represents the employer; usually trained to serve as a rescuer or a rescue attendant.

Requirements:

  • Know the hazards
  • Validate safe entry conditions
  • Verify emergency plans
  • Terminate rescue, cancel and close permits when operations are complete
  • Validate available and operable rescue services

It is necessary for each role to learn, train and understand each specific set of requirements and job responsibilities to maintain a safe work environment and execute emergency standby rescue services. Our teams are composed of highly skilled personnel. Amerisafe Group’s Confined Space Entry Rescuers receive continuous classroom and hands-on rescue safety training to be able to serve our clients effectively, nationwide.

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