Work as a member of a rescue and recovery team in confined spaces

Business Sectors (Suites): Confined Spaces
Developed by: Energy & Utility Skills
Approved on: 30 Mar 2020


This standard is about working in confined spaces as a member of a rescue and recovery team.   A confined space is any place, including any chamber, tank, vat, silo, pit, trench, pipe, sewer, flue, well or other similar space in which, by virtue of its enclosed nature, there arises a reasonably foreseeable specified risk.  Risks could lead to serious injury or death through fire, explosion, gas, fumes, vapour, lack of oxygen, rising levels of liquid, asphyxiation  or entrapment by free flowing solids. 

An emergency team will need to be  available when the risk assessment for  a confined space determines that it is necessary.   An emergency team is a dedicated team and may be an in-house team, specialist contractors or the emergency services by prior arrangement.  

This standard includes preparing to carry out emergency activities, entering and exiting confined spaces safely, using emergency equipment, casualty recovery and handling devices in accordance with manufacturers' specifications, rescuing and recovering casualties, following procedures and working safely.  

This standard is for anyone from any sector who works as part of a rescue and recovery team in confined spaces. 

Performance criteria

You must be able to:

1. adhere to current, site-specific risk assessments and rescue plans before starting rescue and recovery work
2. carry out dynamic risk assessments of conditions and situations in confined spaces before entering confined spaces and throughout rescue and recovery work
3. set up and test communication protocols with the top person and verify estimated response times
4. set up and test signaling and communication systems which are suitable for tasks before entry and traversing in confined spaces  
5. select appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) which fits and is in good condition
6. select safety, escape and emergency equipment which is appropriate for the conditions before entering confined spaces
7. confirm that safety equipment is compatible with self and allocated personal protective equipment (PPE) 
8. examine safety, escape and emergency equipment prior to starting work and replace when it is defective
9. fit and adjust designated safety equipment in line with manufacturers’ instructions
10. resolve any problems with safety, escape and emergency equipment and report non-conformities to appropriate people
11. monitor safety equipment throughout  operation and use
12. obtain authorisation for entry from designated people supervising work
13. set up, test and record results of appropriate monitoring equipment before entering confined spaces
14. maintain safety zones and control access and movement of people and vehicles around entry points in situations where people need to be kept clear
15. work in line with rescue plans for entry, exit and movement within confined spaces  
16. use specified methods to introduce safety, escape and emergency equipment and tools into confined spaces
17. resolve any problems with safety, escape and emergency equipment and tools before and during their use
18. resolve any problems connected to entry, exit or rescue and recovery work with relevant people
19. follow employers' safe working procedures and equipment manufacturers' instructions
20. monitor conditions and levels of risk within confined spaces at agreed intervals
21. take suitable action to control all risks and to remedy any unsafe activity, equipment and environmental conditions without delay
22. monitor and respond to changes of information from monitoring equipment on an ongoing basis
23. respond to changing conditions without delay
24. carry out rescue and recovery activities in line with procedures throughout incidents
25. assess and prioritize casualties in line with emergency procedures
26. administer basic first aid when it is appropriate for you to do so
27. recover casualties to safe locations in ways which minimize further injury
28. record and report emergency incidents and their circumstances in line with procedures
29. complete all documentation and reports at appropriate times
30. forward documentation and reports to appropriate people without delay
31. ensure safety, escape and emergency equipment and tools are recovered from confined spaces at appropriate times
32. close down and make work areas safe when work is finished 
33. carry after use checks on safety, escape and emergency equipment after a safe exit and confirm they conform to specification before storing it in designated storage areas 

Knowledge and Understanding

You need to know and understand:

1. the main principles and characteristics of current confined spaces, health and safety and environmental legislation and regulations
2. approved codes of practice and guidance for working safely in confined spaces
3. personal duties and responsibilities under legislation 
4. definitions of hazardous situations and different types and categories of hazard
5. types of spaces that could become confined due to the presence of a specified risk
6. hazards, substances, and situations associated with confined spaces 
7. dynamic assessment of how to reduce risk of injury to self, colleagues and the general public
8. how emergency situations can arise in confined spaces
9. how to inspect, fit and wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) 
10. manufacturers' instructions relating to the use of safety, escape and emergency equipment  
11. the limitations of safety, escape and emergency equipment and how to identify when it is not working
12. legislation and approved codes of practice and guidelines for the use of safety, escape and emergency  equipment  
13. your role when working as part of a team and how to maintain safety when working with others
14. types and categories of emergency situation
15. roles and responsibilities when dealing with emergencies
16. procedures for dealing with emergencies, incidents and near misses
17. how to carry out basic first aid and when it is appropriate to do so
18. how to assist and move casualties
19. entry procedures for high risk confined spaces
20. how to assess risks and hazards
21. why it is important to be vigilant to changing risks and hazards
22. procedures and methods of working suitable to the confined space classification and local conditions
23. how to minimise risks to an acceptable level for rescue and recovery work to be carried out
24. the different types and limitations of monitoring equipment and how to use them to react to conditions
25. why it is important to remain alert to changing conditions and resolve problems without delay
26. decontamination procedures
27. how to resolve problems when other people or organisations are involved 
28. communication methods for keeping in contact with other people during rescue and recovery operations
29. how to follow manufacturers’ instructions and procedures for preparing, pre and after use inspection and using safety, escape and emergency equipment 
30. reporting systems for emergency situations


Scope Performance

Scope Knowledge





Links To Other NOS

External Links

Version Number


Indicative Review Date

30 Mar 2025





Originating Organisation

Energy & Utility Skills

Original URN


Relevant Occupations

Construction, Planning and the Built Environment, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies

SOC Code



Confined space; high risk; medium risk; low risk; specified risk; entry; exit; safety; access equipment; emergencies; incidents; rescue, recovery; escape, emergency team; casualty; emergency situation;