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If your employees work in confined spaces make sure you have a SWAR

by , 13 January 2014
If your employees work in confined spaces, it's crucial you have a Safety Watcher, Attendant, Rescuer (SWAR) in your workplace. Read on to find out exactly what the SWAR is and what their duties are when it comes to work done in confined spaces.

One of the steps you must take when preparing for work in confined spaces is to ensure you have a SWAR.

ASWAR is essentially the person who stands outside the entrance of the confined space.

The Health & Safety Advisor explains that 'there must always be a person just outside the entrance to look out for the well being of those within the confined space. This person must keep talking to the workers in case of an incident.'

Here are the duties of a SWAR when it comes to work done in confined spaces

The SWAR must:

  • Have an emergency response plan;
  • Know all your communication procedures;
  • Know the safe operating procedures;
  • Know the scope of work being carried out in the confined space;
  • Know the number of employees in the space, and where they're at any given time;
  • Know all aspects of the work permit;
  • Be alert at all times;
  • Remain at the designated post at all times;
  • Check with workers at pre-determined intervals;
  • Watch for any potential hazards and alert the workers inside;
  • Maintain an entry and exit log; and
  • Be able to sound an alarm.

If a rescue is necessary, the SWAR must:

  • Initiate the emergency response plan;
  • Follow the laid down procedures for rescue operations;
  • Stay outside until backup has arrived; never attempt to rescue alone; and
  • Assist emergency responders and victims.

Having a SWAR in your workplace is counted as best practice and is used by employers who look out for the safety of their employees. So make sure you have a SWAR in your workplace if your employees work in confined spaces.

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