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An Overview Of Confined Space Rescue Training

Christine O'Kelly
Sep 16, 2008
Confined space rescue training is required by anyone working in a small area, such as an underground tank, or in a space that is accessed by a small area, like a sewer or pipe. Workers in these situations need to learn how to work safely in these situations, how to identify dangers, and how to rescue others in an emergency. These small areas, which are often underground, pose several risks for workers. For a confined space rescue team, training is the only way to prepare for these types of situations.


A rescue team needs to be familiar with special equipment designed specifically for working in small areas. This equipment keeps everyone safe and some of the equipment is used specifically in a rescue situation. One of the biggest pieces of equipment introduced in confined space rescue training is a special ventilation system. This set of hoses has one end in the open air and another end in the confined space. These hoses collect fumes and gas from the area the worker is in and brings in fresh air.

A safety line, often called a lifeline, connects to the ankle, wrist, or safety harness that the worker wears while in a confined space. The standby worker uses this line specifically to rescue the worker in case of an emergency. This isn't the only piece of safety equipment a confined space rescue team uses. Depending on the particular situation, they may also wear specially coated coveralls, industrial gloves, helmets, and other safety items. Air testing equipment is also important for testing the space. They can continually monitor the area or be used several times throughout the process. Lastly, workers wear a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA).

Possible Dangers

Training for these situations involves recognizing the possible risks of a situation so that they can prepare for a possible emergency. Being overcome by fumes or running out of oxygen is one of the most common dangers confined space rescue training involves, even though these areas are monitored and SCBAs are worn. Because of how gasses collect in confined spaces, they can also ignite or explode. Lastly, the small area can collapse or the entrance can be blocked or closed in by another member of the safety team. This is why training is so important.


Confined space rescue training requires workers to learn three different types of rescues. The best method of rescue is always self-rescue where the worker removes himself from the space. This is because it doesn't put other members of the confined space rescue team at risk. The next best rescue performed is a non-entry rescue where a standby worker pulls the injured person from the space. In a worst-case scenario, an entry rescue is performed. This requires an additional worker to act as a standby while another worker enters the space to rescue the injured worker.

These are just a few of the things a confined space rescue team needs to know in order to perform their job properly. There is a lot more to confined space rescue training. In many places around the world, workers need to practice these techniques on an annual basis in order to hold their confined space certification. This training needs to become second nature for safety teams because every second matters during an emergency.
About the Author
Christine O'Kelly writes for Safety Supervisor, an expert in confined space rescue training. They also provide a variety of safety products, training, and a confined space rescue team.
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