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

Confined space rescue

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.

Confined Space Entry & Standby 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 typically two or three-person teams depending on the complexity of the rescue environment, 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 in an emergency response.

Technical Rescuer

  • This role is a technical rescuer authorized to enter the confined space to perform the actual rescue.

Rescue Attendant

  • This role has the most accountability because they have the most responsibilities during a rescue mission.
  • 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, continually monitoring the air quality of the space and recording readings, and making frequent verbal and visual contact with entrants to evaluate them for signs and symptoms of exposure to chemicals.

Lead Rescuer

  • Main Point of contact with the client/company they are supporting while on-site.
  • Ensures rescue plans are conducted and approved before work begins.
  • Ensures all necessary equipment is staged and rigged for rescue before there is an emergency.
  • Monitors and controls attendant and technical rescuer’s activities to always be ready if needed.

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. With our confined space rescue service, you can better ensure the safety of your team.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a confined space?

A confined space is a space that:

  1. Is large enough and so configured that an employee can bodily enter it;
  2. Has limited or restricted means for entry and exit; and
  3. Is not designed for continuous employee occupancy.

Why is confined space entry dangerous?

Confined spaces can be very dangerous to enter due to the potential hazards inside. There may be a lack of oxygen, which can cause suffocation. There could also be toxic or flammable gases, vapors, or dust that can poison or explode. Engulfment hazards like liquids and loose materials are also risks.

What is standby rescue?

Standby rescue involves having a rescue team stationed at the entrance of a confined space, equipped and ready to perform a rescue in case of an emergency. This standby team may include firefighters, paramedics, or specially trained in-house personnel.

Why is a standby rescue team needed?

Because confined spaces are so dangerous, having rescuers immediately available greatly improves the chances of a successful rescue if something goes wrong. Attempting self-rescue is extremely difficult and dangerous in a confined space. A standby team is ready to respond instantly.