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by Luke Hayes on 10th June 2021

Am I legally required to have a Confined Space Rescue Team?

It is not currently a legal requirement to have Confined Space Rescue Teams in place at every confined space entry. However, it is a requirement as per the ACOP (Approved Code of Practice) Confined Space Regulations 1997 “to have suitable and sufficient emergency arrangements in place and this may include the provision of an on-site rescue team”.

This is detailed as follows…

“(1) Without prejudice to regulation 4 of these Regulations, no person at work shall enter or carry out work in a confined space unless there have been prepared in respect of that confined space suitable and sufficient arrangements for the rescue of persons in the event of an emergency, whether or not arising out of a specified risk. Without prejudice to the generality of paragraph (1) above, the arrangements referred to in that paragraph shall not be suitable and sufficient unless

  • They reduce, so far as is reasonably practicable, the risks to the health and safety of any person required to put the arrangements for rescue into operation; and
  • They require, where the need for resuscitation of any person is a likely consequence of a relevant specified risk, the provision and maintenance of such equipment as is necessary to enable resuscitation procedures to be carried out.

(2) Whenever there arises any circumstance to which the arrangements referred to in paragraph (1) above relate, those arrangements, or the relevant part or parts of those arrangements, shall immediately be put into operation.”

Who is responsible for arranging a Confined Space Rescue Team?

To put it simply – it is the responsibility of the person in charge of the work. If that’s you, you need to:

“Make suitable arrangements for emergency rescue which will depend on the nature of the confined space, the risks identified and the likely nature of an emergency rescue.”

Can I call the fire brigade to provide Confined Space Rescue Cover?

The use of emergency services to support private enterprise high risk works is forbidden. It’s imperative that a rescue plan/rescue team must be in place and agreed upon prior to any works commencing. The emergency services are to be utilised as a backup response only.

The code specifically states that “You should not rely on the public emergency services”.

When conducting your confined space risk assessment and arranging cover, you should consider all potential accidents arising from a specified risk, and any other accident in which a person needs to be recovered from a confined space. E.g. a person suffers incapacitation following a fall.

To be suitable and sufficient, your arrangements for rescue and resuscitation should cover:
(a) Rescue and resuscitation equipment
(b) Raising the alarm and rescue
(c) Safeguarding the rescuers
(d) Fire safety
(e) Control of plant
(f) First aid
(g) Public emergency services
(h) Training

First Intervention Team offers bespoke rescue team provisions for your project, granting you peace of mind that all of the above requirements and regulations are met. We can support you at any point in this undertaking, from rescue plans and risk assessments, to providing the teams or supervisors.

Still unsure if you need a rescue team on your project?

Why not arrange for one of our expert consultants to attend your site and assist you in the creation of the following:

  • Written guidance, advice and recommendations for potential confined space classification
  • Production of site specific confined space registers
  • Policy and procedure writing and implementation
  • Site specific risk assessments, safe systems of work & emergency procedures
  • Emergency route planning & signage
  • Advice on current best practice and classifications and best practice standards
    Confined Space training advice

Looking to hire a rescue team to provide cover for your confined space works? Find out more about our rescue team hire and consultancy services.

Looking to train your in house team to work safely in confined spaces? Take a look at the 12 different confined space training courses we offer here at FIT.

Read the full Approved Code of Practice here –

Call us for a no-obligation assessment of your requirements on 01375 676779

Alternatively, request a callback or complete the customer enquiry form

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