Working in confined spaces has the potential for many hazards. To minimize the risk of an injury, workers need to have proper safety equipment when entering and working inside these dangerous areas. That’s why we’ve prepared an overview of the critical confined space equipment for entry and rescue.
Table of contents
- What is confined space?
- Equipment for confined space entry and rescue
What is confined space?
A confined space is a place that is almost entirely enclosed and has a limited means of entry and exit. Confined spaces are not intended for continuous occupancy, and they create conditions where serious harm or injury can occur from conditions within the space. This may occur due to the lack of oxygen, or the presence of harmful gas, dust, high temperature, or other atmospheric hazards. Typical example of such spaces are vaults, vessels, manholes, tunnels, etc.
However, many workplaces contain these kinds of confined spaces and often workers must perform specific tasks inside of them.
Due to the hazards present, work in confined spaces is strongly regulated. Employees working inside must strictly follow a system of entry procedures and precautions, wear specialised safety equipment, and monitor the atmosphere inside. It is necessary for workers and their supervisors to know the specifics of the confined space that the workers are entering. They must be aware of all potential hazards and assess the risks properly (it is important to have risk assessment training). The employer also must have a rescue plan and team in case something goes wrong inside the confined space.
Equipment for Confined Space Entry and Rescue
Because of the increased risk of an injury when working in enclosed spaces, having appropriate and reliable safety equipment is more important than ever. You also need to make sure your confined space entry and rescue equipment is being regularly checked and inspected, as your life or the life of your personnel depends on it.
So, what are the essential pieces of equipment you need to have for confined space entry and rescue? Let’s move to our gear list.
1. Confined Space Tripods
The most common way of entering confined spaces is using a tripod stand with a winch. Tripods are the cornerstone of confined space equipment, as they are crucial for the safe entry, exit, rescue, or retrieval of workers. Thanks to their three legs, they provide a stable anchor point above the confined space entry. Tripods are tall (usually around 2.5 meters) so they do not limit access to the entry point of confined space.
An example of such a device is IKAR Tripod. It had adjustable legs that allow a variety of angles. IKAR Tripod is specially designed for confined space entry, fall arrest applications, and rescue. Its legs are not connected with the safety chain (legs of some other tripods are), which reduces the risk of tipping. After the job is done, IKAR Tripod can be easily folded and moved to the other site within the IKAR Tripod Storage Bag.
2. Davit Arms
A davit arm is a mechanical device designed like a crane and it can reach above the entry of the confined space. It can be used for entry and rescue from enclosed spaces but also for supporting workers over the edge of the building. Davit systems usually come with an adjustable base which allows the davit arm to be configured around various entry points.
At VERX AU, you can purchase IKAR Davit Arm System. It is made of stainless steel and thanks to its modular design, you can build a system that would precisely fit all possible applications in every confined environment.
3. Retractable fall arresters
Another essential piece of confined space entry and rescue equipment is a retrieval device. In case there is an emergency inside the confined space, a retrieval device will help to winch the worker back to safety.
The most common retrieval device used in confined space is a retractable fall arrester, such as IKAR HRA Steelrope. After the device arrests a fall, or if the worker gets injured at the bottom of a shaft, a second person can use the recovery mechanism of the device to raise the worker back to the ground. IKAR HRA can be connected to IKAR Tripod via HRA Tripod Console and to IKAR Davit Arm via HRA Cantilever Arm Console.
4. Rescue winches
Other devices typically used with confined space tripods and davit arms are rescue winches. The main difference from retractable fall arrester is that rescue winch does not arrest a fall and is only used for lifting and lowering workers or loads and materials into the confined space.
Workers should always be attached not only to the winch but also to the fall arrester, with a recovery mechanism as well in case the winch fails. Both of those devices can be connected to the IKAR Tripod and IKAR Davit simultaneously.
Working in confined spaces can be extremely challenging. When entering these spaces that are full of potential hazards, you need to use reliable safety equipment.
At VERX AU we offer confined space entry and rescue equipment from the German manufacturer of safety gear, IKAR. Their gear will help you get safely in and out of confined spaces. Browse our collections of Davit Arm System or Confined Space Tripod, and purchase the right gear for your job.
Do you have any questions regarding the safety equipment we offer? Feel free to give us a call or send us an email. Our knowledgeable staff will get back to you with a quick response.