HAZMAT/Confined space entry
So I have a dilemma. I work in a place that contains permit required confined space and entries are being made somewhat routinely. The confined space rescue team fell apart a couple of years ago. I am new kid on the block so they have asked me to revive the rescue team. However, my boss wants to do it as inexpensively as possible. The question has come about HAZMAT atmospheres. I am a HAZMAT tech. I argue that if the rescue effort is into a toxic atmosphere that requires A level entry, that our rescue personnel must be trained to HAZMAT Tech. My boss disagrees because he says that the entry is not being made to contain or mitigate a HAZMAT incident, only to remove victims. He thinks we can do that with Operations level training. I have always been taught (although I cannot remember the reference) that level A requires Technician level training and Operations level is limited to B and defensive procedures. Where are the suit level restrictions spelled out (NIOSH, OSHA, NFPA?).
Can someone help me straighten this mess out? My fear is that if my boss thinks we can get by with Operations Level training then we will have guys dressing in A suits without the proper training and performing rescues (offensive operations).
Has anyone else dealt with the HAZMAT/Confined Space question before. I am new to this forum so I apologize if this question has been answered before.
Thank you VERY much for your help.
Level A and confined space rescue
It seems like everyone is assuming that the entrant into an IDLH confined space is requiring rescue because of either a breach in his chemical protective clothing or a loss of air supply or both. While entries are often made into permit-required confined spaces under IDLH conditions, a rescue is seldom caused by a suit breach or an air loss. Slips, trips and falls, strains and sprains, heat illness problems, medical problems such as insulin dependent diabetics, allergic reactions, etc., are much more likely problems.
The majority of workers making IDLH entries do not wear SCBA. They use airline respirators (often with a two-part face piece that bolts in place and cannot be removed by the entrant) and multiple redundant air sources. Many of these confined spaces have open holes in slick floors and slips, trips and falls are a real concern. Standard rope rescue gear may be quickly compromised because of the corrosive effects of some of the atmospheres.
Any effective rescue must be pre-planned before allowing any workers to make entry. I have been involved in many of these types of entries as part of a contracted stand by rescue team and while no IDLH rescues have had to be made on any of our jobs in the last 13 years, we have been geared up and ready to make entry for rescue safely due to pre-planning.