Welcome to the Safety Training Services Blog!

Using OSHA and NFPA to Choose a Confined Space Rescue Team

Posted by Alex Zielinski on Thu, Dec 07, 2017 @ 08:59 AM

Confined Space Rescue Operations Training.jpg
"The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement."

In many parts of the United States there are as many standby high angle or confined space rescue teams as there are confined spaces. How do you choose the right team for your rescue plan? Does each team provide the same quality, competency, and proficiency? No matter if you have worked with the same rescue plan for the last ten years, or you are planning for rescue from your first confined space, here are three things you need to know about choosing a rescue team:


1. NFPA 350 states how quickly your team should be able to rescue

Depending on the hazards and design of the confined space, NFPA 350 Guide for Safe Confined Space Entry and Work specifies how quickly your designated rescue team should be able to react and respond to an emergency within your confined space. NFPA 350 categorizes spaces based on potential or actual hazards

  • Tier I – No recognized hazard but could require technical rescue should a worker become incapacitated
    • Rescue is available to respond within five minutes to the site and is capable of setup and rescue entry within 15 minutes
  • Tier II – Non-life-threatening hazards requiring rapid intervention
    • Rescue is on site, equipped for safe entry and rescue. Capable of setup and rescue entry within 12 to 15 minutes of incident
  • Tier III – Life-threatening hazards requiring immediate intervention. Actual or potential IDLH condition
    • Rescue is fully setup and capable of rescue entry within two minutes of incident. Rescue team should be dedicated to this singular entry with no other responsibilities

2. NFPA 350 states how many people should be on the rescue team

In the industrial setting we often see is a cookie cutter response to confined space rescue needs – always sending the same number of people to the standby site, no matter the hazards of the space and the duties of the rescuers at the scene. NFPA 350 once again shows us what we need:

  • If the confined space has no obstructions OR entanglement hazards AND entrant is properly attached to a retrieval system THEN one rescuer is needed to perform a non-entry rescue.  

  • If the confined space has no obstructions or entanglement hazards, the entrant is not attached to a retrieval system, no potential atmospheric hazards exist, and vertical extraction is not required THEN three rescuers are needed to perform an emergency entry to effect rescue: 1 Rescue Attendant, 2 Rescue Entrants

  • If the confined space has obstructions or entanglement hazards, the entrant is not attached to a retrieval system, there is no potential for atmosphere hazards, and vertical extraction is required THEN five rescuers are needed to perform an emergency entry to effect rescue: 1 Rescue Attendant, 2 Rescue System Operations (with assistance from plant personnel), and 2 Rescue Entrants

  • If the confined space has obstructions or entanglement hazards, the entrant is not attached to a retrieval system, the potential for atmosphere hazards exist, supplied air respirator cannot be used (requiring SCBA, and vertical extraction is not required THEN five rescuers are needed to perform an emergency entry to effect rescue: 1 Rescue Attendant, 2 Person entry team, 2 Rescue Entrants

 

3. Relying on 911 is not good enough

The OSHA Permit-Required Confined Space standards provides criteria for rescue teams in Non-Mandatory Appendix F – Rescue Team or Rescue Service Evaluation Criteria. From Appendix F:

“The employer should meet with the prospective rescue service to facilitate the evaluations…At a minimum, if an off-site rescue service is being considered, the employer must contact the service to plan and coordinate the evaluations required by the standard. Merely posting the service's number or planning to rely on the 911 emergency phone number to obtain these services at the time of a permit space emergency would not comply with paragraph (k)(1) of the standard.”

It is not the intention to state that a fire department is incapable or will refuse to respond because you did not meet with them prior to your confined space work. As of December 2017 there were over 27,000 fire departments in the United States. (source) and each one of those departments can have vastly different capabilities when compared to the next.


“Only 34% of U.S. fire departments in the United States provide Technical/Specialized Rescue services.”
–U.S. Fire Administration (source)

You may have a full-time, on-call, or volunteer department. Each one will have different response times and each one will have different levels of rescue service – some having no confined space ability, and will rely on a neighboring department or county rescue team. When called, the fire department will always respond, but without a conversation, you may be expecting a service that is unavailable. Remember that the fire service in your community is on a first-come first-serve basis, the first person to have an emergency in your community will receive service. The second person or place to have an emergency will receive service but it may be coming from the other side of the city or from the next closest city if your department is called elsewhere. 

For additional resources visit OSHA RESCUE SERVICE REQUIREMENTS where you can view the OSHA and NFPA standards, and download the Rescue Team Evaluation Tool.

Interested in an   STS Rescue Team? Click here to learn more!

Tags: confined space rescue, confined space rescue training, rescue team

Exceptional Rescuers Are Exceptional Entrants

Posted by Alex Zielinski on Tue, Sep 26, 2017 @ 11:52 AM
If you're quick and efficient treating and stabilizing patients, building mechanical advantage systems, and evacuating patients, don’t forget: you’re still entering a confined space. Each space will have its own hazards and unique controls in place such as ventilation, PPE, and lockout tagout. Follow these work practices for safe entry and a rescue may never be necessary. Follow these practices in an emergency and you begin to ensure a stable environment for the rescuer.

What does a permit-required confined space need?

JPK_1174_868.jpg
  1. A written permit, completed and posted at the space
  2. Assessment, control, and monitoring of hazards and/or hazardous conditions
  3. A confined space attendant
  4. A plan for rescue
  5. Communicating the hazards and control methods to workers
  6. Appropriate training and PPE
  7. Review of the plan
  8. Appropriate signage and barriers to prevent unauthorized access

No matter if you are a firefighter, technical rescuer, or industrial emergency responder, the OSHA standard for Permit-Required Confined Spaces states that rescuers must be:

“Trained to perform assigned rescue duties. The employer must ensure that such employees successfully complete the training required to establish proficiency as an authorized entrant…”

The presence of an emergency doesn’t allow us to ignore safety – prior to entering or supervising a confined space all entrants, attendants, supervisors, and rescuers must be trained in the duties they’re expected to perform. No matter their role they must know the space hazards, including the route, symptoms, and consequences of exposure to the hazards in the space.

Get training to build on your team’s role as rescuers, make them competent entrants with a hands-on, interactive confined space entrant program.

Interested in an   STS Rescue Team? Click here to learn more!

Tags: confined space attendant, confined space rescue, rescue team

Is there more than one way to tie a knot?

Posted by Alex Zielinski on Tue, Jul 18, 2017 @ 02:29 PM

In high angle rescue or confined space rescue the crux of our rescue systems are our knots. It is important as a rescuer that you understand the strengths, limitations, and appropriate applications of the knots your team uses, but is there more than one way to tie each knot?

Is there more than one way to tie a knot? YES!

As an instructor and a rescuer it is important to know multiple ways to reach the same destination. What I mean by this is that you knowing multiple paths or techniques to reach your end result of a successful rescue is paramount since most teams operate in anything but routine environments.

As a rescuer you may be in a situation that is not routine, that doesn't lend itself to the one method you learned in that one class, that method to rig a system or tie a knot may not be practical because you are now inverted in a confined space with multiple patients below you.

As an instructor you may have students who have been tying knots since birth and others who have never held a piece of rope in their life. You cannot take the approach that the student just isn't getting it, perhaps you're just not teaching it the way that works for them. Knowing multiple methods may help you find the way that works for a particular individual - guide them, show them the other methods.

As long as any given method brings us to the same end result, without any extra twists or strain to the rope, and Rope rescue & butterfly knotwithout using an extraordinary amount of time, it is an acceptable method. The goal here is to be proficient in whatever you do and be capable of doing it and 3 A.M. when called to a rescue.

As an example, I am aware of three ways to tie an Alpine Butterfly or Lineman's Knot: the twist method and two variations on the hand-wrap method. Any of these three methods creates the chosen knot and any argument made for one method over the other is typically only a matter of preference since you are creating the same knot each time.  

Don't let yourself become the victim of routine or complacency. Because you ALWAYS work standby rescue for only two types of confined spaces, or you ONLY pick-off workers from a fall into their harness doesn't justify knowing ONLY that single method that you work with each time. At some point your routine will be broken, equipment will be missing or fail, or you'll have multiple patients outside of your routine situation. Get out of your comfort zone and never stop preparing. There are multiple ways to tie knots. Learn a new one today!

Find out what kind of workplace  safety training services we offer...  CLICK HERE!

Tags: confined space rescue, confined space rescue training, butterfly knot, ways to tie a knot

Confined Space Rescue Methods: Entry or Retrieval

Posted by Alex Zielinski on Mon, Jun 26, 2017 @ 08:57 AM

Confined space rescue trainingWhile there are countless rescue classes, instructors, books, and online resources to learn confined space rescue, there is no universal standard that dictates how a confined space or industrial rescue should be conducted. What should be universal is the careful assessment of the hazards within the space to create a safe environment for the confined space entrant. There are many common practices but what might be true and accepted in one part of the world may not be held in the same regard in another workplace. There are as many choices in rescue type as there are unique confined spaces in existence but generally there are two types – entry rescue and non-entry (or retrieval) rescue. No matter who might provide these services, fire departments, in-house rescue teams, or contract personnel on standby, it is important to understand the intended scope and limitations of each.

While our primary concern is the safety of the entrant, let’s consider for a moment the financial impact of non-entry and entry rescue. If the design and hazards of a given space allow for it, non-entry rescue requires far less investment by the employer and is a satisfactory rescue method. In its simplest form, non-entry rescue requires a tripod (or other anchor) and a winch rated for human beings (not tools and equipment). Any employee entering the space would require a harness in addition to the training required to perform entry, initiate a rescue, or operate as a confined space attendant. If there are no obstructions within the space, this can be daily routine for many in order to enter a space and it can be the rescue method – no additional personnel are required to enter the hazardous space in order to retrieve or rescue the entrant.

The leanest confined space rescue team, in terms of equipment, and streamlined and who is responsible confined space rescueto make entry in the event of an emergency will require countless hours of training to maintain proficiency in patient care, personal protective equipment, atmospheric monitoring, and rescue techniques. Additionally, there should be training which addresses the stressful nature of rescue when the rescuer personally knows the coworker needing rescue, as well as any additional hazards now present within the space. Confined spaces are hazardous at the start of a work day, if you have an emergency within the space it is multiplying the complexity of the incident. OSHA requires that entry rescue teams perform at least one rescue per year. The following statement may sound extreme – do you want a rescuer entering a confined space to rescue you if that rescuer has only performed one rescue? Your rescue team now has the need to perform under stressful conditions with a variety of equipment, within a variety of spaces, using one of hundreds of techniques to remove the entrant having an emergency.

What does this have to do with cost? You can maintain an OSHA compliant rescue team with team members performing one rescue per year, but they may be ineffective. As a confined space rescue instructor, I have encountered teams who train weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually. Those who only train annually may eventually rescue or recover the entrant. Those who train annually, when compared to rescuers who train monthly or more, typically lack the confidence and quick decision-making skill to accurately and expediently size-up the emergency, make entry, and retrieve the entrant.

With these considerations, your choice of entry or non-entry rescue may be quite clear in terms of your budget. However, if your confined spaces do not allow an unconscious person to be successfully retrieved from around, under, or over obstructions in your confined spaces you must have a safe and proficient entry rescue team.

 

“But, we call the fire department if we have a confined space emergency!”

 

Do you know the average response time of your local fire department? Depending on your location it could be less than five minutes, maybe ten minutes, possibly fifteen minutes, or even greater. Once you’ve assessed your fire department and their response time, add at least ten minutes. Why are we counting minutes? Let’s assume the team is available, their response time to your facility is only 6 minutes. Once they have arrived they will assess the situation, form a plan, gather equipment, and assemble at the space to begin rescue. If you are currently entertaining the idea of the fire department as your rescue team you must ask yourself, in the absolute worst atmosphere that your employees may encounter will they be able to hold their breath for 5-25 minutes? Eliminate any emergencies related to the space itself, consider only medical emergencies such as low blood sugar, cardiac arrest, or traumatic injuries from a fall from scaffolding inside the space. With a window of 5-25 minutes your employee may have gone from a very survivable situation to one that may not be reversible.

 

“What does this have to do with my non-entry rescue team?”

 

This has everything to do with your non-entry team because the next step in a failed non-entry rescue is entry rescue. Every non-entry rescue can quickly become an entry rescue because:

  • A collapsed entrant’s body position does not allow the use of a winch without further injury
  • An injured entrant may be positioned behind a wall, pumps, or other equipment in the space
  • The sludge pit, metering pit, or other space does not allow for use of an industrial tripod and that’s the only equipment your non-entry team has
  • Your non-entry rescue equipment, such as tripod and winch, have had a mechanical failure
  • The non-entry rescue personnel have not been adequately trained in the use of the tripod and winch

You may rely on non-entry rescue but someone but either your team or your fire department will be the next step if the chain of events are anything but routine.

The decision of rescue method comes down to the nature of the space and the proficiency of your team. Do your spaces have obstructions or a narrow opening that would make it difficult to remove an unconscious patient? If yes, you need to a plan for entry rescue. Do your spaces lack internal configurations and obstructions? Does the opening to the space make it possible to remove an unconscious person? If yes, you could initiate a non-entry rescue. No matter your choice, your method, or your hazards, no one wants a rescuer who has limited training, “just enough” training, or the “minimum requirement.” Create an environment for your rescuers and the expectations you have for them where you are building confidence, critical thinking ability, and they are demonstrating competency.

Interested in Confined  Space Training? Click here to learn more!Interested in an   STS Rescue Team? Click here to learn more!

Tags: confined space, confined space rescue, confined space rescue training

New OSHA Construction Standard: 5 Requirements That Differ from General Industry

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Wed, Jun 17, 2015 @ 10:30 AM

As you may have already heard, OSHA has developed a new construction standard for confined spaces. That standard, 29 CFR 1926 Subpart AA, will replace the previous single training requirement  for confined space work and instead be a comprehensive standard that is similar with the general industry confined space standard, but will address construction specific hazards and will improve enforceability of the new requirements.

Confined_Space_Rescue_Training_02

In this article, I will discuss a few more specifics from this new standard so as to raise awareness of the requirements, the hazards specific to the construction industry, and even touch on a bit of information about the standard covering permit-required confined spaces in general industry so you may see how the two are similar but different enough to warrant necessary training & knowledge specific to one or the other.

The new rule differs from the previous construction rule in that employers must now determine what kinds of confined spaces their workers are in,what hazards are present or could be present there, how to make those hazards safe, what training is required for workers, and how to rescue those workers if something were to go wrong. 

Confined Spaces in Construction: Crawl Spaces and Attics

Crawl Spaces and attics, under the new construction standard, can be classified as confined spaces and permit-required confined spaces. Many times these spaces have one way in or out, are small but large enough for a person to enter, and are not generally built for continuous occupancy. With these facts, they are the very definition of confined spaces. If you are, for example, spraying in the attic, one could be exposed to hazardous atmospheres or low oxygen levels. Confined space hazards can include:

  • Atmospheric hazards
  • Electrocution
  • Standing water
  • Poor lighting
  • Structural collapse
  • Asbestos insulation
  • Heat stress
  • Mechanizal hazards
  • Slip, trip, fall hazards

Confined Spaces in Construction: Pits

Pits can also be classified as confined spaces and permit-required confined spaces. Sump pits, valve pits, electrical pits, elevator pits, steam pits, etc. are entered for renovation work, installing equipment or cables, or simply just to verify the status of something in said pit. By changing the entry or exit or even changes in the air flow can allow these spaces to be classified as confined spaces or re-classify as a permit-required.

Confined Spaces in Construction: Sewer Systems

Sewer systems, whether sanitary, storm, or combined, are extensive and include many different components. Many, if not all, of these components can be classified as confined spaces. Of course, with some changes in the construction work, these can be permit-required as well. Continuous air monitoring is very important while working in sewer systems. Other hazards include:

  • Atmospheric hazards
  • Chemicals present
  • Drowning or engulfment
  • Electrocution
  • Slips, trips, falls
  • Falling objects
  • High noise and/or low visibility

So what are the differences between the general industry & the construction rule? There are five new requirements that differ from the general industry rule. You can find them below:

  1. More detailed provisions requiring Confined_Space_Rescue_Training_01coordinated activities when there are multiple employers at the worksite. This will ensure hazards are not introduced into a confined space by workers performing tasks outside the space.
  2. Requiring a competent person to evaluate the work site and identify confined spaces, including permit spaces.
  3. Requiring continuous atmospheric monitoring whenever possible.
  4. Requiring continuous monitoring of engulfment hazards.
  5. Allowing for the suspension of a permit, instead of cancellation, in the event of changes from the entry conditions listed on the permit or an unexpected event requiring evacuation of the space. The space must be returned to the entry conditions listed on the permit before re-entry.

 

In addition, OSHA has added provisions to the new rule that clarifies existing requirements in the general industry standard.

  • Requiring that employers who direct workers to enter a space without using a complete permit system prevent workers' exposure to physical hazards through elimination of the hazard or isolation methods such as lockout / tagout.
  • Requiring that employers who are relying on local emergency services for emergency services arrange for responders to give the employer advance notice if they will be unable to respond for a period of time (because they are responding  to another emergency, attending department-wide training, etc.)
  • Requiring employers to provide training in a language and vocabulary that the worker understands.

Finally, several additional definitions have been added to the construction rule. For example:

  • Entry employer - The employer who directs workers to enter a space.
  • Entry rescue - Clarifies the differences in the types of rescue employers can use.

The final rule will become effective on August 3, 2015.

Click for More Training Course Information! Get the jump on the new rule(s) by signing up for safety training courses through STS. Whether you come to our Highland facility or we come to yours, we can assist you and your employees in OSHA compliance throughout your workplace. We conduct training, sell/rent equipment, provide rescue teams, and are even available as an on-call consultant ready to assist you with any OSHA-related issues. For more information, simply contact us below and let us know how we can help you.

 

 

 

Tags: confined space training, confined space rescue, osha general industry training

Enter By Permit Only: 13 Confined Space Hazards That Can Kill

Posted by Joshua Fleishman on Mon, Dec 29, 2014 @ 01:00 PM

A "confined space" as defined by OSHA, is a space that is large enough so that an employee can bodily enter and perform assigned work, has limited or restricted means for entry or exit, and is not designed for continuous employee occupancy. Examples include (but are not limited to) boilers, tanks, vessels, stills, silos, mixers, storage bins, hoppers, vaults, vats, and pits.

Permit required confined space entryA permit required confined space is a confined space that requires a special permit to enter. These usually contain (or have the potential to contain) a hazardous atmosphere, an engulfment or entrapment hazard, or physical hazards. If any other serious safety or health hazard are present, it may also be classified as permit-required. Some companies even take a step further than the OSHA requirements and choose to treat every confined space onsite as a permit required confined space and follow all processes and procedures pertaining to those types of entries. 

Confined spaces are considered one of the deadliest places in the workplace because of the potential for danger. Many different types of hazards are found in confined spaces. Atmospheric issues can arise, which aren't always apparent. Oxygen is a basic necessity for life, but if there is too much or too little in a confined space, atmospheres can become deadly. Flammable or toxic gases/vapors are sometimes invisible to smell or see, and without proper equipment you would not be able to tell otherwise. Residue of previous chemicals can be left behind, the configuration of the space, the nature of the work, external hazards, and even outside hazards (animals, insects, noise, etc.) are examples of potential dangers surrounding confined spaces and why they are considered dangerous. Confined spaces are also prone to changes in the level of safety at any given time. Perfectly normal, common work conditions can quickly turn into an IDLH (Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health) atmosphere with some help from the hazards listed.

Confined Space Hazard Types

  • Oxygen Rich

    • Example: Oxygen is greater than 23.5%

  • Oxygen Deficient

    • Example: Oxygen is lesser than 19.5%

  • Flammable Vapors/Gases

    • Examples: Possible chemical reactions, combustible dust

  • Toxic Atmospheres

    • Examples: Carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide

  • Corrosive Atmospheres

    • Examples: Hydrochloric acid, ammonia

  • Physical Hazards

    • Examples: Ladders, scaffolding, wet surface, poor lighting

  • Mechanical Hazards

    • Examples: Mixing vessels, falling objects

  • Surface Hazards

    • Examples: Slips and falls

  • Noise Hazards

    • Example: Grinding work and loud environments may interfere with communication and delay rescue or emergency services if needed

  • Vibration Hazards

    • Example: Woodworking tools

  • Engulfment Hazards

    • Example: Entrapped by contents of a confined space

  • Temperature Hazards

    • Examples: Heat stroke or heat stress, burns from hot surfaces, and freezing from extremely cold surfaces

  • Electrical Hazards

    • Example: Hazards from equipment taken into the space

confined space training at safety training services


ALWAYS REMEMBER TO LOCK AND TAG OUT EVERYTHING THAT COULD MOVE AND INJURE WORKERS!


Confined Space Rescue

Where a system of entry permits is in place, a rescue plan is required. It will list the personnel and equipment required to be at the worksite before entry is allowed. Special equipment such as tripod hoists, harnesses, and others may be required to extricate a worker from a toxic environment, without unduly endangering rescue personnel.

Whether you are looking for confined space training or rescue, Safety Training Services is here to assist you! Find more information on our confined space training class via our Training Services Page or if you are interested in our Stand-by Rescue Teams, check out our Rescue Services Page for more information!

Tags: confined space hazards, confined space training, confined space rescue