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Confined Space Specialists

Experienced Trainers (Expertise and Experience) Expertise and Experience
Breathing Apparatus Use (Long Duration Breathing Apparatus) Long Duration Breathing Apparatus
Nationwide (UK Wide Coverage) UK Wide Coverage
Flexible working (flexible solutions) Flexible Solutions
We Get To Know You (Advice and Guidance) Advice and Guidance

Regulation 5 of the Confined Spaces Regulations 1997 requires ‘suitable and sufficient’ emergency arrangements to be in place for the rescue of any person entering or working within a confined space. This regulation is clear that arrangements need to be prepared before people enter confined spaces. 

Furthermore, they should also be suitable for rescuing people in an emergency, even if the emergency was not caused by a specified risk – i.e., electric shock, contact with moving vehicles, fall from height. And paragraph 3 of Regulation 5 stipulates that the emergency arrangements should immediately be put into operation should an emergency occur. 


What is an emergency?

This is defined as:

  • Any occurrence or event inside or outside a confined space that could endanger entrants.
  • A sudden crisis (usually involving danger) that requires immediate action. 
  • An actual event that requires an immediate response from internal or external sources.

There are lots of things that can go wrong and cause an emergency whilst working in confined spaces. 

Some of these include:

  • An inrush of free flowing solid or water
  • Asphyxiants
  • Toxic gases
  • Fire or explosion
  • Rise in body temperature
  • Soil or ground contaminants
  • Collapse
  • Entrapment
  • Power failure
  • Ventilation system failure
  • External incidents
  • Injury and illness

Have you got a suitable rescue plan?

If people need to enter and work in confined spaces, it is a requirement of the Confined Spaces Regulations that an emergency plan (emergency arrangements) be developed for rescue of persons in the event of an emergency arising. 

These emergency arrangements should:

  • Minimise risk to those putting the arrangements into operation (statistically for every worker killed in a confined space, two “would be rescuers” are killed!)
  • Require provision of resuscitation equipment (if it has been identified that persons may require resuscitation in an emergency)
  • Be able to be put into operation immediately (you cannot rely on the public emergency services)

For emergency arrangements for rescue and resuscitation to be suitable and sufficient, they should cover:

  • Rescue and resuscitation equipment
  • Raising the alarm and rescue
  • Safeguarding the rescuers
  • Fire safety
  • Control of plant
  • First aid
  • Public emergency services
  • Training

To determine the effectiveness of emergency arrangements, consideration must be given to previous risk assessments for that confined space. If no risk assessment has been done, then risk assessments and method statements (RAMS) must be produced. These risk assessments must consider all incidents that may occur within that confined space.

A safe system of work

All these things must be considered when developing the safe system of work for the confined space work activity. Work activities in confined spaces may require the presence of a dedicated rescue team which is ready to deploy immediately should an emergency arise. These personnel are normally trained to the standards set out in the Emergency Rescue and Recovery of Casualties from Confined Spaces National Occupational Standards, which includes:

  • Using rescue equipment
  • Wearing suitable breathing apparatus for rescue work (not the escape sets you may wear)
  • Administering basic first aid 
  • Dealing with casualties
  • Transporting/extracting casualties from confined spaces, using specialist rescue stretchers

Confined space emergency rescue cover

MRS Training & Rescue’s team of highly skilled operatives can provide a complete confined space rescue service for all industries. So should an emergency occur, you can be confident our teams know and follow the emergency procedures set out and you will be safe in our hands.

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For over 120 years, MRS has provided its specialist skills, experience and knowledge to effect the rescue and escape of mine workers from underground. Read more about our historic heritage, and how it has impacted on our present and future, by clicking here

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