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February 23 - February 27, 2015

What confined-space rescue protocol (internal, third party, etc.) have you developed, and why did you choose this plan?

Selected Answers

From Michael Halliwell of Thurber Engineering Ltd. on February 23, 2015:
Great answer, Warren. I agree and would say the type of confined space will also come into play a little. We deal with confined spaces on occasion, but most of the ones we're  dealing with are trenches or excavations. I've had jobs where it was a fair bit on the nasty side (underground tanks bedded in a former coal bunker using fly ash with asbestos-wrapped pipe overhead and a very small access hole), so we used third party to make sure we didn't forget anything and due to the rescue aspects. Others times, we've done it internally as it was more akin to what we normally do (excavation), and the overall planning was more straight forward (just the basics for ingress/egress, atmospheric testing / protection and emergency events). The latter case was far more straight forward, and it played into our decision to go internal. Overall, though, unless it is a regular occurrence and you're comfortable with the circumstances, bring in a third party for the assistance.

From Warren Brand of Chicago Corrosion Group on February 23, 2015:
There was a time in my former company where we worked almost exclusively inside underground gasoline storage tanks (USTs). I can think of fewer more dangerous tasks than cutting open a UST and climbing inside to blast and coat it. We were so advanced at the time that local fire departments would come to our sites to ask us best methods for confined-space entry and rescue. Without writing a lengthy article on the topic, which rescue protocol you choose should depend on the frequency of  your entry into confined spaces. If you do it only rarely, you will likely not acquire the skill to do it successfully on a regular basis. You may also not keep your equipment up to date, if you're not using it often. If you enter often, then it's best to develop your own program, and keep your equipment up to date and people highly trained. If this is a routine task, internal is best; if it's non-routine, it would be better to have a third party on-site for supervision and assistance..

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Tagged categories: Asia Pacific; Confined space; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Health & Safety; Latin America; North America

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