ALERT Learn More | NASP Certification Program: The Path to Success Has Many Routes. Choose Yours

Webinar: Confined Spaces 101: What You Need to Know

Image for Webinar: Confined Spaces 101: What You Need to Know
You must register for this event to view the video. Register to watch the video.
Key Takeaways

Join Honeywell Miller’s Fall Protection Expert, Tom Dillon, as he walks you through dealing with confined spaces on your work site.

Join Honeywell Miller’s Fall Protection Expert, Tom Dillon, as he walks you through dealing with confined spaces on your work site. Learn the questions that help determine the safest confined space equipment, the considerations for compliance around confined space workers and hear some real-life examples of confined space safety. We have been helping protect the workers for 75 years and want to make sure the future of your workers is always safe.

[Webinar Transcription]

Tiffany:Hello and a warm welcome to everybody! We would like to wish everyone a good morning, a good afternoon, or a good evening, depending on where you are in the world. My name is Tiffany, and I'm a part of Safeopedia. Safeopedia’s mission is to support the EHS professionals, operational folks and any safety minded individuals with free safety information, tools and education. I'd like to extend a huge thank you to those dedicated professionals for the great work they do on a daily basis.

Just a reminder, the webinar is being recorded and we’ll send out a link to the recording to everybody in a few days. This webinar is for you, the audience, so we'll keep it interactive. Get your questions into the GoToWebinar console as we go, and we'll get to them at the end of the presentation.

Today, we are proud to present, “Confined Spaces 101: What You Need to Know”. This Safeopedia webinar is being presented by Honeywell, a preferred manufacturer member of Safety Network. Safety Network demands excellence, so demand Safety Network.

It is now absolutely my pleasure to introduce you to today's presenter, Tom Dillon. Tom joined the safety net industry in 1995 when he accepted a position as fall protection sales manager with Miller Fall Protection. Since that time, he has held many positions within Miller, local, national and international. And Tom is currently the North American National Product Sales Manager for Miller by Honeywell. He has spoken at both regional and national symposium on a number of fall protection and rescue issues and has trained thousands of workers over the years in proper use of fall protection, confined space and rescue products.

I am very grateful to have you sit back, relax and enjoy this webinar. With that, Tom, please take it away.

Tom:Thank you very much Tiffany. I appreciate the introduction. As Tiffany said, I’m Tom Dillon, and I am the National Product Sales Manager for Miller Fall Protection, as well as a lieutenant on Rescue Squad 175, which is the oldest continuous volunteer fire department in the state of Missouri. And I don't tell you that just to brag because that's what firemen like to do. I tell you that because I believe it gives me a unique perspective in the way that a confined space and a confined space rescue is presented.

In many cases, we have people that have industrial knowledge and abilities, and on the other side, you have the fire service that comes in, you know, at a moment's notice with great experience and knowledge, but maybe not all the information you need to have about a confined space. And somewhere in the middle, I think, is really the best of information and abilities lie for what people have. And too often, we lean one way or the other. We're either all industrial, or we're all fire. And in many cases, the fire service, if you hire someone to come out to give you training from the fire service, they're going to want you to do it their way, or in this particular case, that's may not always be the best way because you're not firemen. You are industrial people, construction people that have jobs to do that aren't fire service jobs. So, I hopefully will give you that perspective today as we go through. So, we'll go ahead and jump right into the agenda.

There we go.

Okay. Today's agenda is going to be: Confined space regulations and definitions, Permit versus non-permit confined spaces, Confined space personnel — who's going to be involved, Confined space rescue and those regulations, and then Equipment that you could use as an option for your confined space. So, let's jump right into Confined space regulations and definitions.

When it comes to the regulations, there are as there are in most categories, General industry which is your permit-required confined space 1910.146, Construction which is 1926.1200, and then the ANSI recommendations 117.1 2016. So, you can look these up online, on Google, whatever you happen to prefer to be able to look up all the specifics. I have taken out certain classes, certain requirements of these. So, there's a lot more to them than what's on here. So, if you if you prefer to read all the regulations, please feel free to use this webinar once you get it back to look these up.

So, what is a confined space? So, for General industry in 1910.146, it states that it is large enough and so configured that employee could bodily enter and perform work in that area. It has a limited means of entry or egress, and it's not designated for continuous employee occupancy. So, there are a lot of confined spaces out there, right? And they're not necessarily dangerous. Just because it might be difficult to get in and out of, just because it might be made for a chemical or a product doesn't necessarily mean that it's dangerous, but it does mean that it's a confined space. And we have to know what that is first before we can take the next steps to decide what does make it dangerous.

So, as examples, you have tanks, vaults, silos. Like I said, there's many, many, many types of areas that could be considered a confined space because someone, if they should or not, could bodily enter into whatever this vessel or obstacle or thing might be. And then like said, a lot of cases maybe they're not supposed to be in there, but they happen to be curious or what have you and happen to go in there. In a lot of cases, people have to go in there to perform some type of work, some type of maintenance, some type of repair, some type of construction. And so, we have to know where we start to know where we need to go from here.

So, once we've determined is it even a confined space (does it fit those three criteria that are necessary?), we can then move on from there, which is what is a permit or non-permit required confined space. So, in those two categories, you have permit-required confined spaces and non-permit required confined spaces. And there is a huge difference between the two.

Now I'm going to take a second real quick to put on my safety professional and firefighter hat and let you know that in most cases, people try to take a non-permit, or a permit-required confined space and make it a non-permit required confined space because you're not required to do as many things in a non-permit require confined space as you are with the permit-required confined space. And although that is probably good in general, to say well, can I make it so it's not dangerous? Great! If you really can do that, that's fantastic. But what happens is, and what I tell people is that, if you have the equipment, say, you have one permit required confined space, and you have 80 non-permit required confined spaces. Since you already have the equipment, when a person goes into that non-permit require confined space, even though they may not have to have that equipment on, it's probably a great idea to do that.

Because let's think about it, let's just say that person goes down into this non-permit required confined space, they don't have any type of equipment that they might need to be rescued, and they have a heart attack, they cut their hand really bad and then can't climb out. They break their hand, or they break their foot, and they can't climb out. That person shouldn't have to sit in that confined space while you call rescue services or you get your team together to try to get them out when you could have retrieved them quickly and easily without any problems and got to their whatever their issue is and made them more comfortable quickly, then let them sit into a non-permit required confined space just because a person necessarily didn't have equipment on. In a lot of cases, it's probably a really good idea to go ahead and do that. So, we're going to kind of touch base on that as we go through the rest of the presentation. Just because I do, I really think that in all the cases that I've been involved in in both industry and in the fire service, a lot of cases, the simple equipment that was already available just not used could have made a big difference in what the outcome was for the person that was in the non-permit required confined space.

So, what makes a permit required confined space. So, first of all, it has to be the three criteria of a confined space, then it would have contained any potential atmospheric hazard. So, you'll have to do atmospheric testing before you do any type of entry into a confined space. And just because you may have tested it a year ago, and it wasn't a problem with the atmosphere or two years in a row, or every six months, every time you do it, you should still test the atmosphere. It contains materials that could potentially engulf or entrap someone. So, again, in often cases of silos, hoppers, things like that that individuals have to go into to clean or remove debris from, because it's like they tape on the walls, those things can become engulf or entrapment hazards. So, if that's the case, then it automatically becomes permit-required confined space.

It has any type of configuration that can entrap an individual or asphyxiate them such as converging walls, floors, something that might slope downward into a smaller tapered area, again, like a silo or a vat that has chemicals or product in it that empties out at the bottom or the side that could push a person down and into that area would be a problem. And then it contains any other recognizable safety hazards. And again, this is one that they're specifically looking at dangerous life-threatening safety hazards. But I can tell you this, if I happen to be in a permit-required confined space with you doing some work and there's a snake that happens to be in there, that's going to be a recognizable safety hazard for the person that's in there with me. I do not like snakes.

So, there's a lot of things, I think we need to look at. This one line as kind of innocuous as it is that says recognizable safety hazards, I think there's a lot of safety hazards that are out there, that could be considered dangerous. If it's dark, if it's really dark down there and you have a small flashlight just lighting up there, and you're not illuminating everything around you, that can be considered a very serious safety hazard. So again, you know, there's a lot of little things that come into play here. The last line of this, most people kind of glaze over. They look at the first three and go, I don't have atmospheric hazards or no engulfment or entrapment. I'm not going to have any sloping walls or floors. I’m good. And they don't really take it to the next step and say, “Yeah, but uh, what else could possibly be something that's going to hurt somebody that might be in that permit-required confined space.

So again, non-permit required confined spaces means as a confined spaces does not contain with respect to any hazards, potential hazards, the cable will causing physical harm to someone. So again, yes, there are these out there. But like I said, in many cases, I think people are trying to declassify what they are so that they don't have to worry about having the proper equipment that they need, when in most cases, having that proper equipment could be one time use would absolutely pay for itself if you ever had to actually use those pieces of equipment.

So, when we're talking about confined spaces and permit-require confined spaces, who could or should be involved in these situations? There are basically four people that should be involved: There's the Entry Supervisor, the Authorized Attendant, and the Authorized Entry, the Attendant and then the Emergency Rescuer. So, we're going to go through those roles for you.

The Entry Supervisor – So, this is the person that supposed to know what job needs to be done, how the job is supposed to be done, how long the job is supposed to take. All the criteria that the individual who is going into do the job, so that he can walk through the process with the individual and the attendant on exactly what's supposed to happen. He checks, double checks, all of the safety requirements that they have. Air monitoring — has air monitoring done? Has it been done properly? Do they have the correct rescue capabilities? Are they trained properly? All those things need to be done by the Entry Supervisor. And it's extremely important that this Entry Supervisor goes over the specific job that the entrant and that the attendant are supposed to do.

As an example, if you have an entrant whose job is supposed to go into a confined space with a rag, with a chemical on it, and that chemical is supposed to be wiped on to the walls of the confined space to clean them. And as he's doing that, he realizes, oh, there's kind of a crusty spot. I'm just going to get it and take this little screwdriver out that I brought with me. I'm going to scrape that off the wall. Well, when he does that, that can create friction, that friction can get a spark, the spark can then explode that area. So, what has to happen is the supervisor needs to make sure that the entrant realizes if there's any deviation from what I've told you to do, you need to stop and come tell me, so we can reevaluate what's going on. And really that that's one of the big things that, to me, the supervisors need to make sure that, yes, I understand that that person might have gone into this, you know, confined space, permit-required confined space multiple times in over a year. But every single time, I think it needs to be emphasized that the smallest deviation from what you were supposed to do, to what you're going to do could be catastrophic.

So, anyway, it’s the person that has the responsibility and the authority over that situation to be able to stop workers from doing their job if necessary and make sure that everything is done properly in the process. And quite often, you know, companies will have a checklist that they should use for their paperwork. They will actually let them know this is the permit part of the permit-required confined space to be able to go into, and that's who signs off on that all of those things have been done.

So, the Authorized Attendant — This is quite simply, like I said, the employee that goes into the permit-required confined space. And again, in this particular case, as I said earlier, I think they need to be told very specifically what’s expected of them and maybe what's not expected of them. And that again, if anything were to deviate from what they were told, they should immediately stop, exit the area, and then have a discussion about what would need to happen in the future.

The Attendant — This is the individual that's stations outside the permit-required confined space, who monitors that attendant that's on the inside. He performs any kind of duties that would be necessary, continue the air monitor if that was the case, things of that nature.

Some of the things that I've noticed over the years that I will mention is the attendant, you know, wanders away, right? He's not in constant contact with the individual in the confined space. The attendant doesn't necessarily have the authority that he should have to keep other people away from the confined space. You know, and quite often, he might just be another one of the workers. So, some of his buddies come over want to see what his other buddy is doing in the confined space. They all kind of hold around it. And again, all these little things can create big problems if they're not handled in the proper way.

So, in most cases, the attendant should be exactly that. He should be attentive to the individual that is in the confined space to be able to make sure he's still, you know, capable and able to do what the job he's supposed to do, that he's safe. And if anything happens, he's the one that needs to immediately notify your rescue procedure, whatever it might be, and then a permit-required confined based most likely to start the rescue itself and then to notify either authorities or to notify 911 himself to be able to move forward.

So, the Confined Space Rescue part of confined space. In a permit-required confined space, the regulation basically says that the employer needs to develop and implement a procedure for summoning rescue and emergency services to be able to extricate that individual from the permit-require confined space, and to prevent any unauthorized personnel from attempting a rescue. I can tell you from all the classes that I've taken over all the years with the fire service, we use this statistic all the time that almost 75% of would-be rescuers actually become a victim versus the individual that they were trying to actually save.

So as, again, as a good example, let's just say there's an individual that goes into a permit-required confined space. He's doing whatever his job he’s supposed to do. Him and the attendant or what have you decided they weren't going to hook everything up the way they were supposed to. They're going to get this job done quick and then go take a smoke break. And he's in the confined space. He's doing his job, and all of a sudden, boom! He hits the floor, he goes down, right? So, his buddy realizes he has a problem, he needs to do something. So, what does he do? It's a bunch of adrenaline, jumps in. He's going to try to help us buddy out. Well, his breathing rate is exponentially more than what the individual was who was probably just in the permit-required confined space doing their job. So now, he is now taking in whatever that atmospheric hazard was that hurt his buddy is now affecting him three or four times what actually what happened to the individual that was down in confined space by themselves.

So, all of a sudden, boom! Now he hits the floor, and he hits it even quicker and harder than what the other individual did. So now, we have a compounded issue, and the individual who's supposed to be performing the rescue doesn't even get to be able to try to do that either because he's now become part of the problem. It's no different at the Firehouse when we tell our firefighters new guys all the time. Look, if the speed limit is 55, you need to go 55. If you go 60, getting there a minute earlier isn't going to change the outcome of whatever the result is of what the fire call is we're going to. But if you wreck that fire truck on the way you do not achieve what your goal is, which was to go help the people that were serves. And so, yet keep that in mind in the same sense here is that we need to do the right things up front. And we need to make sure we're doing them on a regular basis so that that individual who is the would-be rescuer does not become a victim.

So, what rescue hierarchy should we use? There is always options. And that's a great thing that we have. Again, self-rescue, of course, always the best and that is pertains to fall protection and confined space, whatever the case may be. Anytime that a person can self-rescue 100 times better than if they're hurt and unconscious or can't help rescue themselves at all, right? So, again, you'd have to figure out a way can the individual rescue themselves, right? So, if they're in a 60-foot vessel that has a rope ladder that you use to enter into that vessel, and they've hurt themselves, how easy is it for them to climb out probably not very easy at all, would self-rescue be the best? Probably not. That would change if it was a hard-mounted ladder, or an extension ladder that was in there, right. So, in some cases, the type of permit required confined space, and the way you're going to enter an exit does make a big difference.

You then have your non-entry rescue, okay. And this is where a lot of the equipment that we have comes into play. And basically, this is where an attendant because the individual entrant was already hooked up to the system could use the system to extricate that individual from the permit required confined space that they were in, right? So, again, this is equipment that will need to be set up, trained on, and used ahead of time so that the individual who the both the entrant and the attendant know the way the equipment works, so that that individual could take — the attendant can get the entrant out of there without anywhere getting near the entrance of the confined space. Alright?

And then the last one, of course, is going to be an Entry Rescue. And this one I'm not going to say is more difficult, but I think it requires a greater level of training and ability, that in many cases, unless you would happen to have a fire brigade of your own on a site that does constant training, and knows what they're doing to be able to enter into a confined space to do the rescue. This is not just something you should call 911 and expect us to show up and take care of everything because by the time we get there, bad things could have happened even though it's only be a few minutes. I can tell you from experience that when we get there, we will not be using your equipment. We will not be trusting your air monitoring. We will do our own air monitoring. We will set up our own equipment. And although we're on the scene in minutes, sometimes it takes quite a few minutes to get the equipment out, get it all set up and get our individuals ready to go in to take care of that rescue. And so again, so keep that in mind.

And then as I said earlier, keep in mind too, that even if you have your own, you know, rescue personnel, right> — Individuals that might know how your AED works, and they're trained in first aid, things like that. They're great to have. That's different than having an entry rescue team.

As a personal experience, we had a customer that, that hired probably one of the premier confined space rescue captains in the area that I live, and they went out they had almost a week-long class on how to tie ropes and knots, how to use pulleys and make Z-rigs, how to make haul lines. It was absolutely great. They absolutely love the guy. I thought it was fantastic.

But a year went by, and they didn't practice those ropes and knots. They didn't practice tying their figurine on a bike. They didn't practice the things that they probably should have because that's not their job. Their job was to actually do the maintenance and things at the facility that they worked at. So, they called me and said, hey, we've got all this equipment, but we don't remember how to use it. And so that's a lot of it. Because when, when it when it is an emergency, you don't have time to try to remember what you need to do. You need to know exactly what you need to do. It can't be the first time you've ever really thought about something is when it's too late. And that's why like I said in the fire service in a we repetitively practice things over and over again. And although I've been on the fire department for 20 years now, we still do SCBA training on a regular basis, because you can't not know where those buttons are. You can’t not know know how to transfer a bottle. You can't think about, what do I have to do to do it? You have to instinctively be able to do it. And so, the same thing applies in an entry rescue. If you're going to have your own team, they really, really, really need to be trained to the level of what a fire rescue team would need to be trained to. So just please keep that in mind.

Okay, Rescue Services. Rescue Services are an option. Employers may choose to use a rescue company to be able to come out. So, you can definitely do this in house, as I said. It does take a lot of training to be able to do that and refresher training. You can also contract companies to come out, and they will sit standby, if you will, or your confined space entries so that if there’s an issue, like in the picture on the screen, they usually have a trailer or a truck full of all the equipment that they would need to be able to go into whatever areas you have to be able to perform that rescue. So again, this is definitely an option. Might happen to have, like I said, several friends from the fire service that have companies that do nothing but this on their days off. So, you know, whatever area you're in, you can always contact a local fire department. Not to say, hey, and I'm going to call 911 and have you show up, but to say, hey, does someone from your department do this type of service? And if they do, you’ll be in touch with them.

Key Rescue Regulations — So, this is where we kind of get into where some of the training and retrainings come into effect because 146 days that you have to ensure that affected employees practice making permit rescues at least every 12 months. And in my opinion, that's probably still not enough. It should be more than that. But again, this is the minimum that you should do. There is no maximum. So, if you wanted to do every other month, that'd be great. And it's by means of a simulator rescue operation where you would actually remove, you know, mannequins or, you know, a rescue dummies or actual persons, which again, highly not recommended but possible, from an actual permit space similar to the ones that you will be actually entering into as a worker.

So again, you can't say, well, we're going to pretend to put Bob on a sked sled and we're going to drag them across the parking lot. When you actually go into a manhole that is, you know, 40-foot-deep and then goes around the corner, those are not similar in function. And so again, just because you practice how your sked sled work in the parking lot doesn't have any bearing on what's going to be able to happen in an individual who is actually in a vertical permit-required confined space, okay?

“To facilitate non-entry rescue, retrieval systems or other methods shall be used whenever an authorized entrant enters into a permit space, unless your retrieval equipment would increase a risk.” There's quite a few areas, applications that I can think of where this would definitely be the case. You know, quite often we have people that will hook up a rescue retrieval unit. The individual will go down, you know, 20 or so feet vertically, then they go across horizontally, but then they hang a left turn around a boiler or something. And when they do that, you know, you're not going to be able to pull this individual around the corner, and then up and then over something. So again, in some cases, you have to consider that just because you hook an individual up doesn't necessarily mean you're going to be able to get them out. And if that's the case, then you have to go to another form of rescue, or you might have to have a standby team. You might have to have something else in place to be able to rescue that individual if there's a problem.

At the same time, keep in mind, communication in this particular aspect is kind of critical, depending on the job the individual is doing and where they're doing it. You know, you want to stay in constant contact with them. You can’t have the attendant, you know, every 30 or 40 minutes go and check on the guy. That's the entrant just because that's way too long a time period. Something totally horrible can happen in that amount of time. So, every few minutes, these individuals need to be in contact with each other. And in some cases, it's really noisy, and they might have to, you know, bang on the side of a container and the other person has to bang back, or they have to make sure they click the radio so they hear the chirp on the radio so that they know the individual is still in good health and doesn't need to be rescued. Because again, if there's no system to be able to pull them out immediately, then it's going to take a little longer to get everything set up. The sooner you know that something has gone wrong, the better off you are. So, again, communication, when you're when you're dealing with these types of permit require confined spaces especially because of the rescue is extremely critical. S

o, each attend — each authorized entrant shall use a chest or full body harness with a retrieval line attached at the center of the entrant’s back or near the shoulders, above the entrant’s head, or another point you can establish depending on, like I said, where do you have to enter from. Wristlets to be used in lieu of a full body harness. Again, not very practical. Remember, a lot of these regulations were written years ago. And, again, we've kind of found that the wristlets are difficult to work with. It might be great to extricate an individual out of a permit-required confined space, but for them to actually keep them on and do their job makes it extremely difficult, right? So, kind of keep that in mind as well. And, again, all this is predicated on the fact that none of it is a is a greater hazard for the individual that's in there. If it is, then a definite alternative method would need to be used.

The other end of the retrieval line shall be attached to a mechanical device or a fixed point outside the permit space in such a manner that the rescue can begin as soon as the rescuer becomes aware that it's necessary. A mechanical device should be available for retrieval of anyone who enters into a confined space more than 5 feet, and the idea here is if you're in, you know, four feet or so, we should be able to possibly reach in and grab you and get you back out. You're not that far in.

But again, you know, this is kind of old school. And the fact that, you know, if you think about it, if you had to reach down and grab someone and pull them up yourself, it's a problem. If they were actually in somewhere that was small like this and we're overcome or asphyxiated somehow, it's still going to be really difficult to be able to pull that body up and out without some type of mechanical advantage. Like you said, I you know, we do things at the firehouse all the time where, you know, you get 160-pound guy who's going to carry and drag around a 200-pound guy. It's exerting extreme effort to be able to do something like that. Adrenaline does kick in, but really not enough, especially when in most cases, like I said, the retrieval units are easy to set up, easy to use, readily available, and make it so much simpler to make the process work. It's kind of unnecessary to do it any other way.

Um, something else to think about, and I didn't touch on. I should have earlier. I apologize. But if you have multiple entrants into a permit-required confined space, it doesn't specifically state that you have to have more than one intended. However, let's do some math. You have two people that are in a permit-required confined space, and you have one attendant. That individual is and those individuals inside are both connected to a rescue retrieval unit. That one individual is not going to be able to crank two systems up at one time, right? So, ideally, if you have two people in, you should have two people out. Same philosophy we use in the fire service all the time, right? If two go in, we have two for their back up. If four go in, we have four for the backup. Because that way, the rescue can start exactly when it happens, when the issue happens, so that way, you don't have to worry about this individual is in there, they have a problem. The other individual has a problem that's in there with them. The attendant now has to get ahold of rescue services or someone else to come try to help them. And, you know, depending on where the situation is, it could be minutes. And so, you save one person and lose someone else. And that's really not the best scenario as well.

Alright, so methods that you can use for entry and rescuing — There's both vertical and horizontal. Depending on the horizontal, it is quite often easier. In this particular case, in this particular picture, the vertical equipment can actually be used in a horizontal entry and rescue as well. Quite often, you anchor down the david posts. You can actually, you know, pull a car that's in neutral across the parking lot pretty simply using the system. So, again, you know, I understand that a rope hooked to a person in a harness is inexpensive, and it might work, and that's great. But, again, we have other equipment that can make it even easier if that's something that you want to do, and it can be used both vertically and horizontally. Okay?

So, equipment that can be used in this particular situation: There's basically two systems that are consistent out there, right? The tripod is still probably by far the most popular piece of equipment that's out there for permit-required confined spaces. It does have its limitations though. So, it is ideal for a hard flat surface, which you are going, you know, almost perfectly vertically in and out of. You do not need to have any type of ability to be able to climb in and out. You know, you can attach a material winch or a man rated winch to the tripods.

So, again, raising and lowering people and being able to rescue an individual out of a nice, for lack of a better word, clean, vertical application is perfect. The problem is, that's not normally the case. And so, even if you think about it, if you put a tripod up on top of a box at one end of that box where the entry would be, and then that person goes down but then goes all the way to the other end of that box, you're not actually pulling down on a tripod. You're pulling at an angle on the tripod. Well, tripods and angles don't go together, right? It will fall over, it can tip over, it becomes much more difficult to use in that application. And for the longest time, you know, that that was the piece of equipment that we had available, and that was pretty much it. But since then, the davit arms have become much more popular. They’ve become much more economical, and much more versatile and to be able to use. Ours is actually called the Durahoist. There are other manufacturers that have similar equipment out there.

And so again, these can be used in in multiple ways. Like I said, you can use it vertically, you can use it horizontally because of the way the bases can be mounted. Like I said, you can use it for fall arrest. There's a lot of things you can do with this that you could never do with the tripod. And like I said, its versatility is probably the best thing about it.

So, another piece of equipment that can be attached to an anchor point It doesn't have to be a tripod. It doesn't have to be a davit and arm. If you actually have an I-beam or something above the required confined space that you like to go into, there are hall systems, rescue systems like the Miller QuickPick or the Miller Series 70 that we have available. And, again, the bottom right, you know, picture shows you a perfect example of a regular self-retracting lifeline, and our Miller Series 70 system that an individual can actually raise and lower themselves. So, for example, they had to go into a vat, and as they went down the vat at different levels, they would have to do different amount of work. They could stop themselves wherever they wanted to on the way. If something were to happen, their fall protection would work as it's hooked up independently of it. But if there was an emergency, an individual from the outside could actually also grab the rope that individual is using and pull them back up and out. So, there's a lot of different ways that different equipment can be used to basically accomplish the same job depending on what area you have around you and where it is that you want to be able to perform this particular entry and rescue.

So, we’re going to hear some of those other bases that I talked about. There's a three-piece portable adjustable base. So, again, it extends both widthwise and lengthwise so that you can determine where that's going to fit over an entry that you have to go into. If you have limited space and you have a round entry — and this could be everything from a manhole collar to the top of a rail car that has a round port to it to get into it — this kind of slides right down into that. And once it slides into there, it uses the vertical strength of that piece of equipment itself to hold it in place, and then you would put the davit arm in it and go from there.

The floor mount and the wall mount are also great options. If you don't want sticking stuff up off the floor, there's the flush floor mount. So, there's a lot of ways you can attach a davit arm to an area that you want semi-permanently. You take these out and use it over and over again. So, you could have multiple bases and then one davit arm and carry it around and do what necessary, where you need it.

Some other options, the vehicle mount hitch is always a nice one if you happen to do things over a railing of a bridge or something like that, so always good for those. And then they're also adjustable in height. So, we do have some extensions that you can use as necessary.

So, again, on the tripod or on the Durahoist arm, you can attach winches. There's both man rated winches and material rated winches. And then there are rescue retrieval units. This one happens to be in the pictures of 3:1. So, the unit itself will work as a self-retracting lifeline for the individual if they're climbing or being raised or lowered and something were to happen, and they were to slip, to fall, the unit will actually lock up just like a regular self-retracting lifeline. The individual was able to, you know, compose themselves and get back on the ladder and climb back out. The system would work just fine like that. If for some reason that individual hurt themselves and couldn't climb after they fell, there's a way that you would pop a pin on it. When you pull the pin, it engages the jaws of the unit, and then it becomes a winch and then you can either raise or lower that individual. And it has a break on it, so if your hand were to slip off there and you were trying to crank somebody up, it automatically locks up, so the individual doesn’t fall again. So, you could either use one or both depending on what your situation is in that permit-required confined space. And we have fall protection specialists. I have 22 in the US and several in Canada. They can come out to help make those determinations with you if you need that help.

There's no equipment that you might be able to use. There’s rescue ladders, all these carabiners for connecting the anchor straps. Like I said, they're good for hanging some of the other equipment that might be available. And of course, the rope lifelines are ideal for some horizontal rescues. But again, it could be used with a rope and a rope grab into a vertical entry. But again, I think there's some better equipment than a rope and rope grab for that particular application.

So, um, some key takeaways: I think that we need to remember when we're looking at a confined space and permit-required confined space is that, you know, a would-be untrained rescuer is more often going to become a victim than the victim themselves. And so, I highly stress that if you're going to do confined space, permit-required confined space entry, is that you make sure you do the training, that the people are extremely comfortable and knowledgeable about the equipment that they're going to use, and that they really do practice with it because it makes all the difference in the world.

Defining a confined space entry is critical. So again, we really need to know, do we have a permit-required confined space or is it just a confined space? And if it is just a confined space, do we still want to do something for that individual that's going into it? Because I always think that's a good idea. Always be prepared with the right equipment and the knowledge. Any updated technology versus old products such as a tripod versus a Durahoist a system. If you have old equipment, you might want to consider looking at some of the new stuff for your next purchases.

Lastly, there's all kinds of resources that are online besides the ones that I had mentioned earlier with OSHA and ANSI. Miller fall protection has tons of information online on our websites, on our training websites. We do confined space rescue training. We actually have a couple of very nice facilities, one in Houston, Texas, one in Franklin, Pennsylvania, where Miller fall protection has been for the last 75 years. And if you happen to be going to the NSC and you'd like to see some of this equipment, we will have it all on display at our booth which is 4423. So, if you're going to be in San Diego next week, please stop by I'll be there. Say hello, and we'll go from there. So, that's all I have for today. I will take any questions that are out there, Tiffany.

Tiffany:Great presentation. Thank you, Tom. This is a quick reminder to get your questions in as we will now be starting the Q&A section. Going to start with one that came in during the presentation from Kevin, “What are some of the hazards to test for before entering a confined space?”

Tom:Yeah, so Kevin, the big one is, is your atmospheric testing. So, at a minimum, I would suggest a four-gas monitor, so you can check and make sure that you have, you know, the proper amount of oxygen that's necessary, see what chemicals might be in there. Make sure you have your MSDS sheets on whatever might be in there. You want to check that as well. That gives you a good idea of what personal protective equipment you might need. And then you can make determinations from there. What you need to do, you know, maybe you need to have a blower to blow fresh air in the whole time. Maybe you can't do that you're going to have to have supply there. So, but the first thing, the most important thing is your atmosphere testing. And then from there, it's really just determining what job needs to be done. How does it need to be illuminated? Is it a wet environment where we're going to wait for it to dry? Are we going to try to send somebody in there while it's wet and you might have a subscription fall issue? So again, there's a lot of little things that I think you should look at overall. But again, if you do your monitoring, that's the best place to start.

Tiffany:Great. Thank you, Tom. I have a question from Lisa, “How often should you perform rescue exercises?”

Tom:Well, again, you know, OSHA states that it should be no less than every 12 months. So, I can tell you, if you only did something once every 12 months, I would not consider you proficient at it. So, that's just my opinion. I would think there's a lot of people that would agree with me on that. So, again, I think it just depends on the type of permit-required confined spaces you have, how dangerous they are, how comfortable you are and the people that are entering into it are and the attendance are to be able to perform the rescue. So, you can't I can't speak for everybody. But like I said, you know, as a firefighter, we do repetitive training on the same stuff over and over and over again for 20 years. You know, it's put your SEVA on in under a minute. Well, you know what, if you can't do that, then you shouldn't be, you shouldn't be jumping on the truck anyway. Right? So, if guy is complaining about it, you're like, well, why would it matter? If you can't do it, then you need to practice more, right? Same thing with this. I just think it's a proficiency thing more than anything else.

Tiffany:Great. You mentioned some roles earlier, “What would the training requirements be for those? And how many people should have them?”

Tom:So, yeah, with the different roles, again, I think that a supervisor needs to have probably more training than what an attendant or an entrant would have because it's his responsibility to sign off on all the things that need to be done ahead of time are done, right? Was the area, you know, checked in general and safety? Did you do atmospheric testing? Do we have the right equipment? Are the individuals that are going in trained properly?

So, you know, that individual probably needs to have, you know, the most knowledge about not just the permit-required confined space, but maybe the materials and the things that are in there that are going to create the problem. Because like I said, if he doesn't know that this individual can't scrape that with a screwdriver, then he's not going to tell him not to do that, and then that guy might do it. So the individual needs to know all about not just confined space and confined space rescue, but what's in there, that's going to make the problem if we have a problem, so that he can think about what he needs to tell that person, they don't have to worry about or what they do have to worry about when they go in. If they don't have that knowledge, bad things are going to happen. So, the more training they have, I think the better off you are as their supervisor.

Again, the attendant definitely needs to know everything that the entrant needs to know, as well as how the equipment needs to work, and then what he needs to do if there was an emergency, right? Does he radio the foreman? The foreman is going to call 911. Does he call 911? He has to know immediately what the right procedure is he's supposed to do if something bad happens. And then again, that's probably maybe a little less training, but again, repetitive training versus what the supervisor is. And then again, the enterant, you know, he needs to be well versed on how all the equipment is he needs to use. So, he's supposed to wear his hard hat, and he's supposed to have on a respirator or a supplied air, a respirator. Whatever job he's supposed to be do, he's supposed to be proficient at all those things, as well as the safety aspect of what he's doing when he goes into that space.

So, again, like I said, it's hard to just give you a blanket answer that if you did X hours of training, you would be good. You know, I mean, most of the time, a confined space rescue class is 40 hours, but that's just 40 hours of telling you all the same kind of stuff I was telling you. That's not the practicing. That's not all the extra hours that you need to do. And you know, just like with anybody at school, some people pick up on things quicker than other people do. Um, you know, I still don't understand calculus, so it doesn't matter how many times I take the class. I'm not going to get it. So, it's just one of those things. I think you need to look at the employees that you have and what they do and how they do it, and pick the right people to do the right jobs.

Tiffany:Yeah, great answer. We have a question from Tom, “Should confined spaces always be covered?”

Tom:I mean, I guess is in, you know, the openings themselves? I mean, I would, I would think so. I would have to go back and look. I can't tell you for sure that it off the top my head. A confined space, for example, versus a permit-required confined space is different because you could have a pit for lack of a better word that's, you know, 30 ft x 80 ft that's considered a confined space, right? Because it has a limited means of entry or egress. It was made for continual employee occupancy, and I can go in it. Even though it's a big, you know, thing, it can still be considered a confined space, right? And so, you're not going to cover that. But again, in some cases, permit-required confined spaces most of the time, have a relatively small port or entry or exit to get in and out of them. And a lot of times, I guess that they’re vessels, they’re tanks. They are things that hold other stuff. So, them being closed is kind of necessary. But I would have to look at — to be honest, I'd have to look up to see if you have to have a closure or a confined space or permit-required confined space. I don't think anyone's ever asked me that. But we'll get some…

Tiffany:Keep you on your toes.

Tom:Yeah, we'll get Tom's name and number, and we'll get back to him.

Tiffany:Sounds good. I have a question about the sort of rescue roles again. “Can they be interchanged between people? Can the same person hold multiple roles?”

Tom:So, they can be interchangeable in the fact like an attendant can become an entrant, and an entrant can become an attendant, but you shouldn't have the entrant and attendant also be the supervisor signing off on the job, right? Because that's the whole thing. It's kind of your checks and balances that someone other than those individuals are making sure they're doing their job. And that's why it's usually a supervisor because if for some reason, those two individuals they go, okay, you know, Bob and Joe, here's your equipment, go do your job. And then Bob and Joe get to decide if they do it or not, well, then they might not hook any, like I said, they might have hook anything up. They might jump and do something, jump out and then go on a smoke break together. And that's a problem, right? Where if you have a supervisor says, “Hey, I noticed you guys didn't do this, you both get written up, and it's, you know what I mean. You get fired or whatever, right? They have that authority. That's kind of the key. The authority it is what the supervisor needs to have, and they should have it like over those other individuals. So, yes, the entrant and attendant could be multiple, changing, but I would think the supervisor needs to be a supervisor.

Tiffany:Great. Thank you. I have a question from Thomas who says, “We do not have a designated emergency response team. What would be an acceptable timeframe for offsite services to arrive on site?”

Tom:Well, so, you know, again, you're supposed to have the rescues are supposed to be performed, you know, like within 12 to 15 minutes. And so, again, you're not going to get any fire department in the country to commit to you that if you call 911, that they will be there in 12 to 15 minutes, right? Bad things happen. And as an example, you know, there was a facility in St. Louis that had a huge parking lot, and at the end of their parking lot, there was a firehouse, and those firefighters used to come to that facility and, you know, do inspections and stuff all the time. However, that fire department also had that house respond and help other houses in the area. So, if there was a fire and house 1 left, and then house 3 had to back them up, and house 3 was gone, and then that facility called that department, that group that was in that parking lot isn't the one that's going to respond. Some other house that might be farther away is going to respond, and they're not going to be as knowledgeable about that area, so it's going to take them a little longer to do.

So again, you know, the best thing in that particular case, if you know you have permit-required confined spaces, and it's very serious situation, you might want to look at hiring a standby team. Like I said, there's plenty of companies that will do it, that will actually stand by and do nothing but be there ready to go on, I mean, within feet of where your entry is going to be for the permit-required confined space to be able to help if there's a problem.

Tiffany:Great. Thank you, Tom. I have a question from Steve about working situations that don't exactly adhere to confined spaces, but are very close to fit in those guidelines. How do you address following safety standards close to committed or confined spaces? Pardon me.

Tom:Yeah, I mean, I think that if you look at what the broad scope of a confined space is, like I said, there's many, many, many, many, many things that fit that category, right? And then I think what you really need to determine from there is the criteria that it takes for a permit-required confined space — also relatively broad, right? — that you need to determine what the best thing is in your company's philosophy to do, right? Because let's be honest, there are some companies that they say we're, “Oh, we're so safe. We’re so safe.” But if you go watch their workers, they're not really. You know, other companies they see results, and they are. They're very serious about it, and they do more for their employees than what's required because again, OSHA is a minimum, not a maximum. And so, yeah, I think you have to decide for your company, you know, where do we fit in this in this picture? And what should we do to do the right thing? Because at the end of the day, if you bought the most expensive, nicest, confined space equipment that any manufacturer makes, and you use it all the time. You’ve never had an accident or an issue, you'd be fine. But if you have one, one small problem, that would exponentially be more money than you will spend and buying the equipment and using it all the time. So, you know that that's just my philosophy on it, that you know, whatever you can do to try to make sure someone goes home at the end of the day, you know, whole and happy is probably what should be done. But again, I also live in the real world, I respond every day to, you know, things that people do that they shouldn't have done, or I wouldn't be a firefighter. We wouldn't have any jobs. They're really there's a great way to answer that. I apologize. But if you do want some help with it, you know, please feel free to reach out to me, and I can even get one of my guys to come out. And we can have a talk and look at it and figure out what we’d do to help.

Tiffany:Great. Thank you, Tom. I have a question from Christian, “Does the supervisor have a fallback option when the parameters of the confined space change, such as in the case of a partial or complete collapse?

Tom:So, I mean, I guess they're looking at more of kind of a trenching and ensuring application I would think they're using isn't, you know, the other collapses on that one. And really, like you said, If, man, I can't think of necessarily a fallback position that they should be on. I mean, if there's a trench and you're using your proper shoring and things of that nature, then there shouldn't be. And if you think that there might be, then I would think you'd probably want to have someone hooked up to a retrieval unit. So, you might be able to get them out quicker. But yeah, probably the, you know, drenching ensuring is… is extremely dangerous, and the fact that if there is a collapse, it's more likely that we will have a retrieval than a rescue, just because of the you know, the nature of the pressure and, and things of that nature for an individual traps, you know, in the ground or in whatever, you know, they happen to be digging. That becomes a problem. But yeah, when it when it comes to transmit ensuring I think extra caution needs to be taken when it comes to the shoring aspect of it so that there wouldn't necessarily be that collapse, if at all possible.

Tiffany:Thank you, Tom. I have a question from Akimbo about measures you can take when you're in a confined space to make sure that that rescue can kind of go as smoothly as possible, if you can keep the space clean, or any of---

Tom:Yeah, so yeah, yeah, well, yeah, yeah. So, there's actually a couple things I would suggest, you know, one as the entrant themselves, you absolutely have the right to be able to check all the equipment you're going to use. Make sure that a rescue retrieval unit is going to work, right? because you're the one that's going to be hooked to it. You know, make sure it's going to be it's all in good working, working order. You know, make sure when you go down in there that you don't climb under something and over something, if you have the choice to climb under two things, you'll be able to get pulled back out under Tuesday, you climb over one and under the other one, you're not coming out on that rest, you're truly in it, right.

So, some of the things you do, can help that individual rescue you. Another thing is, like I said earlier, make sure you're only doing the task at hand, the exact way you're supposed to do the task. And you should always make sure that you completely understand what that task is. Because again, if they say, Hey, take this rag with liquid on it and wipe it on the wall, and you rub really, really, really fast versus slow, and it creates friction, and then that creates heat and its fire. And that's the problem, right? So, you want to understand, okay, if that's what I'm doing, could I do it too fast? Could I do it too slow? I know, it sounds silly. But at the end of the day, these things do happen. I mean, there's… there's examples of all these things that I've said, that have created issues for confined space. And have made, you know, our departments do rescues and have had, you know, fatalities and things of that nature. Because at the end of the day, when they figured out what happened, that person just could not have have known that that's what they were doing wrong, or they wouldn't have done it. And so that's why I think, you know, the person that's going in, really needs to be knowledgeable about what they're supposed to do, how they're supposed to do and how the system is supposed to work, if not supposed to be the newest, you know, dumbest guy so that he doesn't, you know, he doesn't care, right? We don't want that in that regard. So just… just some suggestions.

Tiffany:Yeah, that sounds good. Thank you. We are just over time. So just one final question from Jesse. He asked how often should tripods winches and harnesses be inspected and certified?

Tom:That's actually a great question. All the equipment should be inspected at every time the individual uses it. So, they should look at it themselves and say, is this in working order if I was going to use this today, with this, save my life or save the individual's life that I'm supposed to be the attendant for right? And then no less than a year and the annual basis, the women has to be inspected by a competent person, right? So, someone at the facility should be considered a competent person for fall protection and confined space. And so that individual should be checking that that on a regular basis as well, because that's what it takes a regular basis. The company will define how often that is. But again, it's no… no less than once a year. And then again, like I said, the people that use it, when they go to put their harness on to enter that they should be checking their harness. When they go to hook up the restroom unit should be checking the staff hopes, the cables, that everything works, and it's all in good working order said that something were to happen, they knew it was going to be able to perform the way it's supposed to when it's supposed to. So, and that goes for any fall protection and any confined space. And that's on the rescue, our equipment rescue side. There's different things that have to happen with like your air monitoring equipment. You know, it needs to be been tested on a certain basis and then calibrate it on certain basis as well. So different equipment has different rules. So, you just have to make sure that you're following all the ones that pertain to the equipment that you're using.

Tiffany:Excellent! Well, thank you, Tom, if you have any last words you want to leave us with.

Tom:You know, no, I just I appreciate everyone's time today. Thank you so much for everyone being on the call. And if there's anything that myself or anyone at Miller Fall Protection or Honeywell safety products can do for you. Please feel free to reach out to us. That's what we're here for.

Tiffany:Great. I'd like to thank you, Tom, for presenting, Honeywell for putting on today's presentation Safety Network and you the audience for attending today's webinar. Thanks again. Take care and stay safe.

Share this Video

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter


PPE Safety Hazard Fall Protection Confined Space

Presented By

Logo for Honeywell Industrial Safety

Related Terms

Let's Make Workplaces Safer!

Subscribe to the Safeopedia newsletter to stay on top of current industry trends and up-to-date know-how from subject matter authorities. Our comprehensive online resources are dedicated to safety professionals and decision makers like you.

Go back to top