A Confined Space Rescue Team is a team of trained personnel that provides rescue services and rescue equipment during a planned entry into a permit required confined space such as a boiler, sewer, tunnel, chemical tank, or process vessel.
Evaluating your rescue service helps ensure that the team you have selected has the knowledge, technical skills, and capabilities required to meet your company’s specific needs. In addition, a team evaluation helps fulfill the performance requirements outlined in OSHA 1910.146 and 1926.1211. If you doubt the importance of selecting a competent and properly trained rescue team, consider this disturbing statistic: more than 60% of confined space fatalities occur among would-be rescuers.
1926.1211(a)An employer who designates rescue and emergency services, pursuant to § 1926.1204(i), must:1926.1211(a)(1)Evaluate a prospective rescuer’s ability to respond to a rescue summons in a timely manner, considering the hazard(s) identified;
1926.1211(a)(1)Evaluate a prospective rescuer’s ability to respond to a rescue summons in a timely manner, considering the hazard(s) identified;
Note to paragraph (a)(1). What will be considered timely will vary according to the specific hazards involved in each entry. For example, § 1926.103 (Respiratory protection) requires that employers provide a standby person or persons capable of immediate action to rescue employee(s) wearing respiratory protection while in work areas defined as IDLH atmospheres.
1926.1211(a)(2)Evaluate a prospective rescue service’s ability, in terms of proficiency with rescue-related tasks and equipment, to function appropriately while rescuing entrants from the particular permit space or types of permit spaces identified;
926.1211(a)(3)Select a rescue team or service from those evaluated that:
The Two Components Of A Rescue Service Evaluation 1910.146 App F – Non-Mandatory Appendix F — Rescue Team or Rescue Service Evaluation Criteria
An initial evaluation, in which employers decide whether a potential rescue service or team is adequately trained and equipped to perform permit space rescues of the kind needed at the facility and whether such rescuers can respond in a timely manner; and
A performance evaluation, in which employers assess the skills of a prospective rescue team or rescue service during an actual or practice rescue.
1926.1211(a)(3)(i)Has the capability to reach the victim(s) within a time frame that is appropriate for the permit space hazard(s) identified;
1926.1211(a)(3)(ii)Is equipped for, and proficient in, performing the needed rescue services;
1926.1211(a)(3)(iii)Agrees to notify the employer immediately in the event that the rescue service becomes unavailable;
1926.1211(a)(4)Inform each rescue team or service of the hazards they may confront when called on to perform rescue at the site; and
1926.1211(a)(5)Provide the rescue team or service selected with access to all permit spaces from which rescue may be necessary so that the rescue team or service can develop appropriate rescue plans and practice rescue operations.
1926.1211(b)An employer whose employees have been designated to provide permit space rescue and/or emergency services must take the following measures and provide all equipment and training at no cost to those employees:
1926.1211(b)(1)Provide each affected employee with the personal protective equipment (PPE) needed to conduct permit space rescues safely and train each affected employee so the employee is proficient in the use of that PPE;
1926.1211(b)(2)Train each affected employee to perform assigned rescue duties. The employer must ensure that such employees successfully complete the training required and establish proficiency as authorized entrants, as provided by §§ 1926.1207 and 1926.1208;
1926.1211(b)(3)Train each affected employee in basic first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The employer must ensure that at least one member of the rescue team or service holding a current certification in basic first aid and CPR is available; and
1926.1211(b)(4)Ensure that affected employees practice making permit space rescues before attempting an actual rescue, and at least once every 12 months, by means of simulated rescue operations in which they remove dummies, manikins, or actual persons from the actual permit spaces or from representative permit spaces, except practice rescue is not required where the affected employees properly performed a rescue operation during the last 12 months in the same permit space the authorized entrant will enter, or in a similar permit space. Representative permit spaces must, with respect to opening size, configuration, and accessibility, simulate the types of permit spaces from which rescue is to be performed.
1926.1211(c)Non-entry rescue is required unless the retrieval equipment would increase the overall risk of entry or would not contribute to the rescue of the entrant. The employer must designate an entry rescue service whenever non-entry rescue is not selected. Whenever non-entry rescue is selected, the entry employer must ensure that retrieval systems or methods are used whenever an authorized entrant enters a permit space, and must confirm, prior to entry, that emergency assistance would be available in the event that non-entry rescue fails. Retrieval systems must meet the following requirements:
1926.1211(c)(1)Each authorized entrant must use a chest or full body harness, with a retrieval line attached at the center of the entrant’s back near shoulder level, above the entrant’s head, or at another point which the employer can establish presents a profile small enough for the successful removal of the entrant.
Wristlets or anklets may be used in lieu of the chest or full body harness if the employer can demonstrate that the use of a chest or full body harness is infeasible or creates a greater hazard and that the use of wristlets or anklets is the safest and most effective alternative.
1926.1211(c)(2)The other end of the retrieval line must be attached to a mechanical device or fixed point outside the permit space in such a manner that rescue can begin as soon as the rescuer becomes aware that rescue is necessary. A mechanical device must be available to retrieve personnel from vertical type permit spaces more than 5 feet (1.52 meters) deep.
1926.1211(c)(3)Equipment that is unsuitable for retrieval must not be used, including, but not limited to, retrieval lines that have a reasonable probability of becoming entangled with the retrieval lines used by other authorized entrants, or retrieval lines that will not work due to the internal configuration of the permit space.
1926.1211(d)If an injured entrant is exposed to a substance for which a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) or other similar written information is required to be kept at the worksite, that SDS or written information must be made available to the medical facility treating the exposed entrant.