Planning a Rescue
Once the planning is complete for confined space activities, the rescue plan must be documented before any personnel entering the confined space.
Communicating your rescue plan with the key personnel
Turning it into a written emergency rescue plan means it can be communicated to everyone who is involved within the plan from managers and health and safety professionals to contractors, site security teams, and rescuers alike.
A critical mistake we often find is the sole reliance on the public emergency services to carry out any rescue that might be required, or the lack of awareness that a rescue plan is a legal requirement and must be implemented by trained site personnel or specialist contractors.
Always have a plan for rescuing personnel from a confined space
Therefore, you must have a plan for rescuing personnel from within the confined space regardless of the incident e.g. it could be a medical complication (heart attack) and not necessarily one of the specified risks that made the area a confined space in the first place. This does not stop the emergency services been called in the event of an emergency on-site.
Why not check out our advice and considerations for working safely in confined spaces;
- The priority should always be made to minimise further injuries, even during a rescue operation
- Have you thought about how a rescuer or confined space rescue team can safely enter a confined space to get to an injured person?
- Considerations also need to be made to the safety of the rescuers as multiple fatalities have occurred by would-be-rescuers been overcome by the same conditions that have caused the emergency situation, good rescue planning will ensure rescuers are suitably trained, competent and have the correct equipment to hand to deal with a dynamic situation, ideally avoiding putting anyone else at risk
- If you’re going to rely on anchor points for rescue equipment you need to make sure they are fit for purpose and able to handle the additional loads involved in rescue e.g. consider the safe working load of tripod & winch to allow a 2-person lift
- These key points need to be discussed and planned for in advance, not during the intensity of a rescue