Sustaining life in hazardous environments...
Sustaining life in hazardous environments...

Rescue Teams - What is a Suitable and Sufficient Rescue Plan?

12th July 2018
Rescue Teams - What is a Suitable and Sufficient Rescue Plan?

We get a lot of questions on rescue teams and our previous post about it, so we decided to write an additional post on this.

Suitable and sufficient rescue arrangements can also be defined as:

1. Self-Recovery

This is the gold standard. Low or medium risk confined spaces where entrants can get themselves out. All risks have been reduced as far as reasonably practical by using various control measures such as isolations or sufficient ventilation. The ‘likelihood’ of the specified risk/s have been sufficiently reduced.

2. Assisted Recovery

When a casualty is recovered by a mechanical aid (winch or similar), or another entrant assists getting them to the egress point or to the mechanical aid (also known as ‘snatch rescue’). If snatch rescue forms part of the RAMS, it needs to be clearly defined what the parameters are. A dynamic risk assessment would also need to be carried out at the time to ensure this can be done safely, without jeopardising the safety of other entrants. E.g. if the gas monitor alarms at the same time and other entrants only have escape breathing apparatus, they may not have sufficient air supply to perform a snatch rescue without jeopardising their own safety.     

3. Standby Rescue Team

(Usually a minimum of three people) Please note that the rescue team would only be deployed when the entrants are unable to self-recover.

Usually triggered by:

  • Location and distance to nearest emergency services e.g. for a company working in a remote location, self-recovery may be adequate with all the other risks mitigated. However, in the very unlikely event that an issue arose, the emergency services may be several hours away. Note – this is not relying on emergency services as the area has been risk assessed and self-recovery is ‘suitable and sufficient’ the rescue team is an added contingency.
  • NC4 Confined Space – Non standard entry. This is defined by the risk assessment based on the type of confined space being entered and other relating factors.
  • Determined by the risk assessment - For any other reason highlighted as part of the risk assessment that determines a standby rescue team is required.
  • Client specification – Some company polices determine a standby rescue team must be present at all times. Although it may not seem appropriate for the specific confined space being entered, there is usually a good reason behind this!

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