Working in an open office and a small space with the same point of entrance and exit is simply not the same. While the only thing you need to be productive in an open-space office is a designated work area, a confined space requires a plan, equipment, and just in case a rescue plan. Accidents do tend to happen and that’s why it’s necessary to have a detailed rescue plan so you’ll know how to act fast.
What is a confined space?
A confined space is any area, usually limited in size, that has either a difficult, restricted, or in any terms limited entrance. Quite often, the point of entry is the same as the exit point, which makes it even more dangerous. Confined spaces come with many hazards and the time spent within such space should be time-restricted due to possible dangers looming. A tank, tunnels, manholes, sewers, access shafts, vaults, silos, and mines are just some examples of confined spaces.
What is a rescue plan?
A rescue plan is a mandatory plan of rescue or strategy in the case of an emergency. Almost every type of workplace is required to have a rescue plan in place. Especially if the risk of hazards is high due to the work environment and work conditions, an organization has to introduce, implement and drill a rescue plan.
Step 1 Implement an adequate rescue plan
A detailed rescue plan has to be put into writing and handed out to each person working in a confined space. Each person involved has to know the plan, almost by heart. Not only that, but each worker, team leader, and manager has to analyze the work environment before any work operation to identify potential hazards and adjust a rescue plan according to different hazards.
Step 2 Rescue drills – To prepare is to practice
The best way to prepare for any possible outcome is to practice. Rescue drills have to be repeated and drilled until every worker knows how to act swiftly and to test their levels of preparedness. You should also conduct a range of confined space training at your workplace with a trained instructor. This person will cover all the bases and make sure to educate people the right way.
Step 3 Define both time-sensitive and non-time-sensitive rescue plans
In any kind of emergency, time plays a major role. So, time is always an important factor when lives are in question. But, there’s a difference between time-sensitive rescues that have to be done in just a few minutes and those that aren’t as time-sensitive. Non-time-sensitive rescues mean that a person has to be rescued from an emergency, but the conditions are life-threatening.
Step 4 Full body harness can be a life saver
If every person entering a confined space wears a full-body harness, the time needed to rescue a person can be just enough to save a person’s life. Otherwise, the rescue mission can be quite difficult because putting the full-body harness on a person just to take him out safely can be difficult and time-consuming. You’ll never know if a rescue is time-sensitive, so make sure a full-body harness is mandatory at all times and for all workers.
Step 5 Analyze work environment before entering
Every confined space and the opening has to be analyzed before commencing a project. By doing this, you can set up the perimeter, secure it, and adjust a rescue plan accordingly. Assess the area and the opening and secure anchor points before there’s any need to use them. It’s always better to be prepared.
Step 6 Assess the manpower of local authorities
You should determine whether local authorities have the necessary equipment, knowledge, and manpower in case of an emergency. You should never depend on them, because they may not be trained or capable of assisting due to these limiting factors.
Step 7 Have a rescue team on standby
Whether you’ll have an in-house team or a team of professionals you can dial in an emergency, always make sure you have a rescue team ready. In case someone is trapped, injured, or hindered, a rescue team will act professionally and on time.
If you want to ensure the ultimate workplace safety, make sure to implement all of these steps and you’ll know how to act in case of an emergency.