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Definition of Confined Space and Rescue Team Requirements

Stand by confined space rescue team

There are plenty of different types of workplaces with “confined spaces”, but that definition might mean something different to everyone. According to OSHA, a confined space is an area that isn’t necessarily open to the public. But, it’s big enough for an individual (or more than one) to get inside if some type of work needs to be performed or equipment needs to be used. 

Some of the most common types of confined spaces include silos, storage bins, tanks, and manholes, among others. 

Not all confined spaces are the same. OSHA labels some as “permit-required confined spaces”. What does that mean, exactly? Simply put, a permit-required confined space has to fulfill certain criteria. It either has to be considered a hazardous atmosphere, or unstable to the point where it could engulf someone if they enter and trap or suffocate. It could also have walls that slope inward or floors that are sloped downward. Additionally, anything from exposed wires or unguarded heavy equipment left behind could cause a space to qualify. 

You can learn more about confined spaces, including permit vs. non-permit by watching the video below: 

 

The Dangers of a Confined Space

If you have a place of business or a public area that has a confined space or a permit-required confined space and someone enters it, you may be required to utilize a rescue team, rather than trying to help that person yourself. 

As you can see by some of the instances listed above, confined spaces can be extremely dangerous. If you have one at your place of business, someone getting into one can put them at extreme risk. If they get injured or the entrance proves to be fatal, that could be catastrophic for your business, and perhaps even you, personally. 

So, how do you know if it’s required to have a rescue team either on-site or standing by? 

What Does a Confined Space Rescue Team Do? 

In order to better understand whether you need to utilize a rescue team, it’s important to know what they do and who they are. They are a group of professionals who provide services and equipment designed to make rescue efforts as needed when someone is planning to enter a confined space. They can provide that person/people with the resources they need to remain safe, like a medical kit or air supply. It’s also their job to retrieve whoever is in the confined space in the event of an accident. 

A rescue team will also continuously monitor any activities going on in or around the confined space, so whoever might be entering can do it safely. 

Do You Need a Confined Space Rescue Team? 

When a business is considering using a rescue team, they are often faced with the choice of whether to have an on-site team or outsource them. 

One of the biggest benefits of outsourcing is that you don’t have to pay for their efforts when no one is entering a permit-required confined space. A standby team should be no more than five minutes away from your place of business in case of an emergency. But, because all entries into a permit-required confined space should be planned, outsourcing a rescue team can save your budget while ensuring everyone remains safe. 

Any space that has the potential to engulf or trap a person inside should be considered dangerous, and no one should enter at any time on their own without a confined space rescue team on site. 

If you have a permit-required confined space on your site that gets used frequently, it can be worth it to have an on-site rescue team. They can be there immediately if someone needs to enter the confined space without having to call someone each time. But, because most permit-required confined spaces aren’t used that frequently, it’s more cost-effective for most businesses to outsource such a service. 

Whether you’re unsure if a rescue team is required for your confined space or you want more information on what we can do, feel free to contact DSC Rescue today. Now that you know the definition of confined space and what is required to keep people safe, don’t take any chances. Our highly-trained and professional technical rescue teams can ensure that you remain compliant and that everyone who sets foot in that confined space is as safe as possible.