Five mistakes that can doom rescue efforts

by on February 3, 2011 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: Workplace Safety Network

Did you know more than 60% of confined space-related deaths are would-be rescuers? That means not only did the victim not follow safety procedures, but their purported rescuers didn’t either.

The good news: The most commonly made confined space mistakes can be avoided. Here are the biggest trouble spots employers need to focus on, and some ways to prevent trouble:

1. Entry requirements not established or followed.
It is essential to make sure rescue procedures and equipment are in place before workers enter a confined space. Too often, untrained rescuers try to hold their breath. But moving around the confined space increases heart and respiration rates, and rescuers run out of air.

2. Hazards not identified.
Be sure to conduct the required air sampling before entering the confined space to determine the extent of the hazard.

3. Failure to obtain a permit.
Make sure employees understand that they can’t begin work in a confined space until they’ve obtained the proper permit.

4. Inadequate or no training.
All workers entering a confined space must be fully trained and authorized to do so. Make sure everyone knows not to mount a rescue attempt on his or her own, but to wait for a qualified rescue team.

5. Failure to recognize a confined space.
Help workers recognize an area in which an oxygen-deficient atmosphere could exist by developing checklists for hazard identification, ventilation and sampling, protective equipment and rescue responses.

Source: U.S. Department of Energy.

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