Rescuers Down


We hear about it so often it’s hardly a surprise anymore. Someone in a confined space goes down. Wanting to rescue the person someone else climbs in to assist and goes down as well. Often times it’s multiple people who are killed trying to rescue co-workers, friends or family.

Did you know that 60% of confined space fatalities occur among would-be rescuers? Learn how to protect workers from such hazards: #MSAsafety

What’s Your Fall or Confined Space Rescue Plan?

You have a fall protection program. You have a confined space procedure, That’s all great and good but even the best laid plans of mice and men, as they say… So what’s your rescue plan? What’s going to happen when, despite all the training and preparations, something goes wrong?

All too often, as we call on customers we hear them answer that question with “We’ll call 911!”

Maybe it’s time to reexamine that rescue plan for a number of reasons:

  1. Are 911 emergency personnel going to be able to able to make it there in time? In a great many cases, unless you’re right next door the fire department response times are going to be high; to high to save the life or lives.
  2. Are 911 personnel trained in the kind of rescue that is necessary? Confined Space rescue and rescues after a fall aren’t normally among the training that 911 emergency personnel get. They might not be able to do a proper rescue.
  3. Do emergency personnel have the right equipment? Rescues from falls and confined space require specialized equipment. Don’t assume that your fire department or 911 emergency response team has this gear, especially in smaller towns where there isn’t a lot of funds.

OSHA requires you to have an emergency rescue procedure and plan in place. If you haven’t checked with your local 911 team to see if they can meet the above criteria, you’ll be held responsible, not them.

Start with proper training like the training available through convergence training but don’t stop there. Run through the scenario and have emergency drills. Mainly, make sure that you are equipped and prepared because once you’re in the middle of an emergency it’s too late to find out that your local 911 response team can’t handle the job.

Confined Space Guide Specifically for Small Businesses

If you’re a small business and you have confined space work that you need to do then you probably know the difficulty of trying to comply with OSHA standards. Fortunately OSHA has put together a guide to try to help.


The guide contains 17 chapters as follows:

CHAPTER 1 Confined Spaces and Permit Spaces

CHAPTER 2 Work Covered by the Standard

CHAPTER 3 Employer Responsibilities

CHAPTER 4 Overview of the Standard

CHAPTER 5 Identifying Permit Spaces

CHAPTER 6 Content of Permit Space Program
CHAPTER 7 Reclassifying a Permit Space as a Non-Permit Space
CHAPTER 8 Alternate Procedures for Certain Permit Spaces
CHAPTER 9 Entrants, Attendants, and Entry Supervisors
CHAPTER 10 Worker Training
CHAPTER 11 Rescue and Emergency Services

CHAPTER 12 Sewer System Entry

CHAPTER 13 Additional Information

In addition it contains an example of a permit required confined space program as well as a sample entry permit.

Changes in Confined Space Standard

In case you didn’t know it OSHA’s new standard for confined space work goes into effect August 3, 2015. That’s just around the corner and you’re going to be help accountable for the changes if you or anyone who works for you must enter a confined space.

Check out and download the new standard by clicking on the image below.

Be forewarned, it’s a 162 pages. On the plus side, you’ve still got about 3 weeks to read it.


OSHA Releases Final Rule on Confined Space Work

News Release from the U. S. Department of Labor:

Confined spaces rule could protect nearly 800 construction workers a year
from serious injuries and reduce life-threatening hazards

Construction protections now match those in manufacturing and general industry

WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today issued a final rule* to increase protections for construction workers in confined spaces.

Manholes, crawl spaces, tanks and other confined spaces are not intended for continuous occupancy. They are also difficult to exit in an emergency. People working in confined spaces face life-threatening hazards including toxic substances, electrocutions, explosions and asphyxiation.

Last year, two workers were asphyxiated while repairing leaks in a manhole, the second when he went down to save the first – which is not uncommon in cases of asphyxiation in confined spaces.

“In the construction industry, entering confined spaces is often necessary, but fatalities like these don’t have to happen,” said Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “This new rule will significantly improve the safety of construction workers who enter confined spaces. In fact, we estimate that it will prevent about 780 serious injuries every year.”

The rule will provide construction workers with protections similar to those manufacturing and general industry workers have had for more than two decades, with some differences tailored to the construction industry. These include requirements to ensure that multiple employers share vital safety information and to continuously monitor hazards – a safety option made possible by technological advances after the manufacturing and general industry standards were created.

“This rule will save lives of construction workers,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “Unlike most general industry worksites, construction sites are continually evolving, with the number and characteristics of confined spaces changing as work progresses. This rule emphasizes training, continuous worksite evaluation and communication requirements to further protect workers’ safety and health.”

Compliance assistance material and additional information is available on OSHA’s Confined Spaces in Construction Web page.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit

# # #

Media Contacts:

Laura McGinnis,, 202-693-4653
Lauren North,, 202-693-4655

Release Number: 15-819-NAT

U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at The department’s Reasonable Accommodation Resource Center converts departmental information and documents into alternative formats, which include Braille and large print. For alternative format requests, please contact the department at (202) 693-7828 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (federal relay).

*Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA’s Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.

Free Work Permit Templates to Download

Do you need a hot work permit template? How about a work at heights permit or a confined space permit? You could create your own but that just means a whole lot of work that you don’t have to do. Instead, just download and modify one of the following work permits from our friends are

Work at Height Permit

Sample 1  Sample 2  Sample 3  Sample 4  Sample 5  

Sample 6  Sample 7  Sample 8  Sample 9  Sample 10

Excavation Permit

Sample 1  Sample 2  Sample 3  Sample 4  Sample 5

Sample 6  Sample 7  Sample 8  Sample 9  Sample 10

Confined Space Entry Permit

Sample 1  Sample 2  Sample 3  Sample 4  Sample 5

Sample 6  Sample 7  Sample 8  Sample 9  Sample 10

If you use one of their templates, just drop them a line thanking them for all the time and money they saved you!

Sophie’s Story is all to common (Video)


Watch the above Youtube video clip by Channel 1 Creative Media.

Sophie’s story is, unfortunately, all to common. I have heard similar stories about a farmer’s wife loosing her husband and all three of her sons in a similar accident in a manure pit on the farm. The first person goes down to work on whatever it is that needs doing and passes out, overcome by some gas build up or more likely because the oxygen has been displaced, from oxygen deficiency. The co-worker or family member rushes to assist them and is overcome as well. In some cases it’s more than one.

Understanding what constitutes a confined space and why confined spaces are so dangerous is the key to preventing accidents such as this.

If you or someone you love ever has to work in a confined space, you owe it to yourself or them to read up on the matter. There are a number of great resources on the web but I’ll point you to some of the stuff that I’ve collected and/or written myself. Go to On the right hand side you’ll see a box entitled Available Confined Space Documents, in that box are several articles that you can download and use as you wish to learn about and train others on the hazards of confined space. The third one down “The basics of confined space” is a great place to start and the last one on the list “Confined Space Training Powerpoint” is one that you can use to train.

Sophie’s story might have had a very different ending had her dad’s co-worker been wearing a confined space rescue harness and if they had simply monitored the confined space with a gas monitor.

What’s the right gas monitor for you?

This issue came up this week in one of the safety discussion forums I participate in.

Someone asked which gas monitor others in the group would recommend and people just started throwing out the names of the gas monitors that they are currently using and like or dislike. I finally had to say something and probable made a couple of enemies in the process but I couldn’t just sit there and not answer the question properly.

This is what I posted:

“Don’t mean to be contentious but I always have a problem with people just recommending a gas monitor without asking some basic questions first. You need to make sure that you have the right monitor for the right application.
What is your application? How often are you going to be using it? Where are you going to be using it? Is it for confined space applications? Are you comfortable calibrating it yourself? Are you the only who’s going to be using it or will it be used by several people? Etc… There are a number of questions that need to be answered in order to make sure that you get the right monitor. There are about 2 dozen excellent 4-Gas monitors out there with a dozen manufacturers that’ll all swear that they’ve got the best monitor but the key is to let your safety distributor know the specific application and usage. If they are any good they should help you find the right one. What works for someone else isn’t necessarily the one that’s going to work best for you so make sure you find a distributor who’s going to investigate a little before recommending.”

The bottom line is, if your purchasing a gas instrument and your distributor tries to sell you one without asking a set of questions, then you might end up with a gas monitor that you aren’t going to be happy with. More than likely that distributor has got a spiff going or needs to meet a certain quota to get special pricing or something like that; or they just aren’t very good at their job. Either way, you probably need to find another safety distributor.


Powerpoints for Safety Training is a file sharing website for powerpoint presentations. I have, over the years, uploaded several powerpoints to this website and they are available to you free of charge.

Simply download them and use them as you need.

After seeing a report that almost 100,000 people had viewed these presentations and over 1,000 had downloaded them, I realized that I had probably never mentioned them here on this blog so, to make up for that, here the links for you to have a look and download if you feel that they might be of use to you.