Access openings

The German Ordinance on industrial safety and health requires employers to ensure that persons can be rescued without delay in the event of an emergency. This extends to the provision of suitable access and entrances to work equipment. In some cases however, manufacturers engineer access openings on tanks and vessels that are very small. A person may just about be able to access the vessel, but rescuing them through the same opening when they are no longer conscious is not always possible. The body of regulations of the German Social Accident Insurance contains recommended minimum dimensions that are sufficiently large to permit the rescue of persons. These recommendations are however not directed at manufacturers, but instead serve only as a guide for operators when selecting vessels for purchase. Operators may not be aware that although they are purchasing a vessel that complies with the standards, it could present them with difficulties later on. Together with the responsible DGUV subcommittee, the Commission for Occupational Health and Safety and Standardization (KAN) is lobbying for improvements to the relevant European standards.

For more information, read Werner Sterk's article on the importance of design to the rescuing of persons from vessels (pdf) in Technische Sicherheit Vol. 6 (2016) No 4 April (in German).

Do you have any questions on this topic, or need support? If so, please contact Dr. Beate Schlutter.