NFPA Resources Address Confined Space Safety for First Responders

Published November 29, 2017

A new fact sheet (PDF) published by the National Fire Protection Association is intended to help first responders identify the hazards of confined spaces. NFPA has also developed a free online training for fire service professionals and other responders to help them better understand the challenges of responding to both emergencies and non-emergencies in confined spaces. The fact sheet provides information regarding the potential hazards of confined spaces, relevant OSHA regulations, and best practices. The one-hour “First Responder Recognition of Confined Space Hazards using NFPA 350” online training course includes scenario-based exercises, onscreen visuals, and video to describe how to protect workers who enter confined spaces to perform inspections, testing, or other tasks.

NFPA 350, “Guide for Confined Space Entry and Work,” was developed to help protect workers who enter confined spaces. The guide, which was published in 2016, also covers how to protect facilities, equipment, non-confined space personnel, and the public from injuries associated with incidents in confided spaces.

“Places like crawl spaces, tanks, vaults, elevator shafts, and some tunnels may be large enough to work in, but they are not designed for continuous occupancy due to limited ventilation and other dangers,” NFPA says. “It’s important for firefighters to know what they are up against.”

More information about NFPA 350 is available on the association’s website.

Related: An article published in the October 2015 Synergist provides an overview of NFPA 350. The author, Nancy Pearce, also wrote the September 2016 Synergist article “Thinking Outside the Confined Space Box,” which discusses the application of Prevention through Design principles to confined spaces.