Components of Confined Space Enrty & Rescue Training
Training for workers who perform duties in small spaces with limited access is developed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) following guidelines dictated by the Occupational Safety and health Administration (OSHA). Attendees should include emergency responders, fire fighters, construction workers, miners, public works employees, civil engineers, and those who work in underground vaults, storage tanks, silos, and pipelines. Any employee who works in vertical or horizontal spaces that are dangerous, provide restricted access for entry, or can become hazardous quickly. Department heads, managers, and supervisors should also participate in training to learn rescue techniques, and ensure employees follow safety procedures.
There are three main components of Confined Space Entry & Rescue training. The first is teaching workers the best way to enter small spaces, how to recognize potentially dangerous circumstances, and when to remove themselves from the situation. That is referred to as self-rescue. Non-entry rescue consists of techniques and procedures for extracting a person from the confined space without anyone else entering the same space. Safety lines, winches, or ropes are used to pull workers to safety from a safe distances to avoid compounding the situation.
Entry rescue is taught as well, with an emphasis that it should be used as a last resort. These methods and techniques are risky and require careful planning to keep any victim total to a minimum. Specialty equipment includes machinery to provide ventilation to an area that has toxic fumes, flammable substances, or limited air supply. Lighting may need to be used to set up the rescue. Personal lighting will also be needed for rescuers to see during the process. Breathing apparatus, body harnesses, and wristlet straps may be required for those trapped in the space. If there is not enough room to use a body harness, the wristlet goes around the employees ankle or wrist and it attached to a rope or line to help pull people to safety.
Initial training should be conducted by a professional trainer who arrives at the business location to provide classroom and hands-on training. Working in the same spaces employees will be entering makes the training more relevant. Training has to be reviewed annually. Renewals can be effective with more cost-effective methods of training, such as videos or online refresher courses.