Statistics show that nearly two-thirds of all PRCS fatalities are would-be rescuers. In almost all of these cases, the rescuers are neither trained, equipped or even fully aware of the hazards that they will encounter while trying to save another person’s life during an emergency.
Whether a rescue service meets your workplace needs depends on all of the following; the confined spaces from which a rescue may be necessary, the hazards likely to be encountered in those spaces and the number of entrants needing rescue.
For any rescue team or service evaluation, a two-step process by the employer is required. The employer must first evaluate the whether the rescue team is properly trained and equipped to perform the necessary kind of rescues in a timely manner; and, the performance of the prospective or existing rescue team during a practice rescue must also be evaluated.
After this evaluation, the employer must choose a service that sufficiently meets their needs and allow this team access to all of their permit spaces so that the team may develop appropriate rescue plans and practice rescue operations.
At a minimum, if an off-site rescue service is being considered, the employer must contact the service to plan and coordinate the evaluations required by the standard. Merely posting the service’s number or planning to rely on the 911 emergency phone number to obtain these services at the time of a permit space emergency would not comply with rescue provisions in the standard.
If the employer decides to develop an in-house rescue team, the same training and equipment provisions apply. In addition, a simulated rescue must be made at least annually where a manikin or actual person is removed from the space.
- Additional guidance for creating an in-house team or to evaluate a rescue service is provided in 29 CFR 1910.146 Non Mandatory Appendix F, Rescue team or rescue service evaluation criteria.
- Never enter permit spaces unless authorized.