1. #1
    Forum Member
    HuntPA's Avatar
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    May 2010
    Northwest PA

    Default Confined Space with limited access

    I teach agricultural rescue classes. Here is a confined space that we run into frequently in our class. For those of you that have not seen one of these, this is a bulk tank for raw milk. The opening is 12" to 16" diameter and is normally between 2' to 4' from the ceiling. Why we would typically have to go in would be from chemical exposure (Muratic Acid) or falling in the unit when empty.

    The unit itself will cost over $10,000 if bought used for a small unit. Large ones are a lot more expensive. They typically are not covered by the farmer's insurance policy. I bring this up for those of you who first think to cut out the end of the unit. There are coolant lines that encase the inner liner and 4" to 6" of insulation between the layers of stainless steel.

    I am curious as to how those of you very familiar with confined space, but maybe not agriculture, would handle a situation like this.
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  2. #2
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    Jan 2004


    I'm not sure that I am at all worried about how much the unit costs if there is a viable victim who is unconscious at the bottom of it.

    If they are conscious, then they are able to help and it is not a big deal. I've gone into a tank with a 16" opening with 18" of overhead clearance to clean it out and I'm not a small guy. It was difficult, but doable.

    Aside from cutting it, how about sinking a bolt in the concrete ceiling above it for a high change of direction. If that is not an option, I imagine you could rig a high point with either a ladder or an Arizona Vortex and some creative rigging.

  3. #3
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    Nov 2006
    N. Ridgeville, Ohio


    Here is another great place to use the Entry Ease as your edge protection. We have done scenarios with this sort of clearance, and less. Just run the lines over the edge and into the tanks. Getting the victim out can be challenging. However, if you use wristlets and make it so that their arms come out first, then they are relatively easy to get up and out of the tank. I would assume that c-spine is not a huge concern in this sort of tank.
    Jason Brooks
    IAFF Local 2388

  4. #4
    ProgressiveRescue's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    New Jersey

    Lightbulb Confined Space Rigging Operation

    Great topic and photo. DCFDRescue2 had my thought regarding the anchor bolt in the ceiling above the entry point. I know a lot of companies in my city that have vessel entries and a designated spot are being asked to install overhead anchor points if none are in place already. It's not expensive for them to do and once you explain how it will benefit their employees safety their usually more than happy to make it happen.
    I'm not to crazy about just running the lines over the edge into the vessel, if your victim is unconscious even with wristlets it's going to be a daunting task getting them out. Thats not to say it can't be done, if that's how it has to be done then you need to make it happen.
    An "A"frame built from two ladders is always an option and I know SKED now makes a tripod that you can span a crossmember between each tripod creating an overhead anchor. Being your overhead clearance is only 2'-4' the "A" frame and SKED tripod clearly will not work.
    I think your best bet would be to get a rescuer in the vessel to obviously tend to the victim but also to provide upward pushing force the assist rescuers on top of the vessel that are pulling.
    Again great topic and I can't wait to read what guys come up with.
    Mike Donahue
    "Training Prepares You...For Moments That Define You

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