Environmental & Safety Blog


Over the last 25 years I have met a group of the some of the greatest folks – those employees designated for chemical emergency response and confined space rescue. I have been amazed by some of the “tough” places industry expects these men and women to go.
OSHA has printed several interpretive letters on the matter of safety for these responders and has promulgated several standards to follow when organizing and training a team. OSHA states that “no citation may be issued to an employer because of a rescue activity undertaken by an employee of that employer with respect to an individual in imminent danger unless:”
  1. The employee is designated or assigned by the employer to have responsibility to perform or assist in rescue operation, and
  2. The employer fails to provide protection of the safety and health of such employee, including failing to provide appropriate training and rescue equipment; or
  3. The employer failed to instruct employees not designated or assigned to perform or assist in rescue operations of the arrangement for rescue, not to attempt rescue, and of the hazards of attempting to rescue without adequate training or equipment.
On the face of things this seems easy, but for those of us who are part of emergency and rescue teams
We know this is a GREAT amount of time and energy kind of thing to do. An effective emergency team must have at least these 10 items:
  1. Someone in charge
  2. Written feedback loop for team comments and responses/actions to these comments
  3. Written procedures that change based on team and management input
  4. Adequate equipment
  5. Equipment inspections
  6. Equipment upgrades, as needed
  7. Training guidelines that build on each year’s training
  8. Understanding the levels of training you must have
  9. Adequate and consistent training
  10. Understanding of the ICS by all management
  11. Redundancy built in via team roles and communication systems
OSHA does not tell you what you must have for your responders – they simply say it must be adequate and enough to let your responders do the job you ask them to do!


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