OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov.

June 6, 2000

Mr. Robert N. Aguiluz
Roco Rescue
7077 Exchequer Drive
Baton Rouge, LA 70809-4904

Dear Mr. Aguiluz:

Thank you for your December 28, 1999 letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) [Office of General Industry Enforcement (GIE)] for an answer regarding OSHA's Permit-Required Confined Spaces standard, 29 CFR 1910.146. Your specific question has been restated below for clarity.

Question: Assuming the attendant meets all of the training requirements of a member of the rescue service as outlined in section 29 CFR 1910.146(k), may the attendant participate as a part of the rescue service in a non-entry capacity once entry rescue procedures have been initiated and the rescue duties to which the attendant is assigned do not interfere with the attendant's primary duty to monitor and protect the authorized entrant?

Response: Under the conditions you describe, an attendant may participate as part of the rescue service in a non-entry capacity once entry rescue procedures have been initiated, provided that the attendant performs no duties that might interfere with the attendant's primary duty to effectively monitor and protect all of the authorized entrants for all of the permit-spaces he/she is attending and for whom he/she is responsible. However, your letter does not elaborate on the extent of the duties that your attendant would be participating in as a rescue service member in a non-entry capacity. If the attendant will be performing exactly the same non-entry rescue duties as specified in the employer's rescue procedures in which the attendant has been trained, then those duties may be acceptable. However, duties additional to those that this employee already has as an attendant have a high chance of distracting an attendant from adequately monitoring or protecting authorized entrants; this type of distraction from the monitoring and protecting of authorized entrants would be prohibited. In addition, if your attendant should have to tend to his/her primary duties as an attendant in the midst of participating in the rescue as you described, this type of rescue interference would have to be considered in evaluating the rescue service's ability to function appropriately as required under §1910.146(k)(1)(ii).

Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. Please be aware that the enforcement guidance contained in this response represents the views of OSHA at the time the letter was written based on the facts of an individual case, question, or scenario and is subject to periodic review and clarification, amplification, or correction. It could also be affected by subsequent rulemaking; past interpretations may no longer be applicable. In the future, should you wish to verify that the guidance provided herein remains current, you may consult OSHA's website at
http://www.osha.gov. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the [Office of General Industry Enforcement] at (202) 693-1850.


Richard E. Fairfax, Director
[Directorate of Enforcement Programs]

[Corrected 6/2/2005]