Davit for Confined Spaces: Learn About Davit Systems

Davit used out in the field.

At Pelsue, we are proud to produce Davits for confined spaces which are found on many job sites whether construction, industrial, or repair and maintenance. We take fall protection seriously with an unchallenged commitment to manufacturing only quality equipment to ensure customer and worker safety.

Projects involving confined space often involve a hazardous environment for crews. It’s easy to understand why so many workers are injured on the job each year and why having a top-of-the-line Davit System is crucial when it comes to fall arrest and the unfortunate, but necessary act of rescue and retrieval.

More than 1,000 workers died from occupational injuries involving a confined space between 2011 and 2018.

Bar graph of confined space incidents form 2011-2018

When the worst-case situation happens, keeping rescue workers safe also becomes a priority. Emergency rescue is often further complicated due to the unique situation confined and restricted space presents when every second counts.

This is where a durable and reliable Davit System comes into play—beyond its capacity as a tool for fall protection on a job site, but to safely lift and lower workers in the event of an accident.

Let’s define what a Davit System is and why it’s important to have one when working in a confined space situation. Then we’ll discuss if your confined space job site falls under the three most common.  

What is a Davit System?

A typical Davit System consists of a Davit arm, elbow, post, and base. A Davit System provides an offset overhead point for the mounting of personnel lifting, lowering, or retrieval and can also be used as a fall arrest system. The Davit is offered with three different bases. In a previous post, we run though the differences between permanent base Davit Systems and portable Davit Base Systems when choosing which Davit Base is the right one for your workspace to best keep your crew safe on the job—no matter the job or place. 

To see our Davit System in action, check out our latest video below. 

What is a Confined Space?

Knowing what you’re getting yourself into quite literally is important when it comes to working in a confined space setting. 

We’ve previously outlined what a confined space is in detail, but according to OSHA, a confined space put simply is any work area large enough for a worker to enter and operate in, is not designed for continuous occupancy, and has limited or restricted means of entry or exit. Beyond describing what meets the criteria of a confined space, understanding the associated hazards and necessity of preparing to work in one by creating a confined space rescue plan for a permit-required confined space is imperative. 

Why are Davit Systems used for confined spaces?

Entering confined space requires a fall protection rescue system adaptable to various sizes, shapes, and locations. A Davit is an essential part of your confined space entry, exit, and retrieval plan to protect workers facing unique and challenging hazards. 

While the Permanent Base Davit Systems is made for fixed, ever-present hazards in warehouses and manufacturing plants, the Portable Base Davit System is more versatile and considered to be your “go anywhere” fall protection for crews out in the field. The Vehicle Hitch-Mount Davit System is a perfect solution for hard-to-reach places at remote locations. 

Truck onsite with Davit system hooked up to hitch mount

Three examples of where a Davit is commonly used as a fall protection solution as well as for rescue and retrieval at confined space work sites include construction sites, industrial sites, and maintenance and repair operations. 

Construction Sites

Confined spaces at construction sites often include manholes, crawl spaces, and trenches putting construction workers at risk of deadly hazards such as toxic substances, electrocution, explosions, and more.

In a previous blog, we provided a scenario involving use of a portable base Davit System involving a manhole, where a worker unexpectedly finds himself in a life-threatening situation having passed out and in need of rescue. His coworkers need to act fast to respond to this potentially fatal situation. This all-too common real-life occurrence is a reminder of just how important it is to have fall protection in place.

Industrial Sites

Confined spaces also are found at industrial sites that include chemical storage tanks and railroad tanks because of the receptacles structurally small openings. Although they may not appear small, silos, too, qualify as a confined space because of the high risk of engulfment by grain and other bulk materials stored within. According to OSHA, between 2011-2018 there were 107 fatalities with engulfment in other collapsing material accounting for 72 of those recorded in silos with grain bin interiors.

Depending on the work being done and associated hazards, fall protection training and equipment should be proactively implemented to ensure industrial worker safety against the possibility of falls leading to engulfment or inhalation of harmful substance.

Maintenance & Repair

Confined space accidents happen in maintenance situations such as municipal underground water and wastewater tanks or facilities where workers need access to pipelines. Mishaps are common in confined spaces and holds on marine vessels where crews conduct routine inspection or maintenance and repair in lower levels of ships. Like their land-locked counterparts, seafarers, too, must follow a strict set of precautions and procedures when working in or rescuing someone from within a confined or enclosed space.

Despite companies issuing warnings, unfortunately, numerous incidents involving personal injury and loss of life were recorded in 2021. When a job site involves a confined space, no matter the industry or the project, your crew will face risk of severe injury or even death. By having the right equipment available, as well as the proper planning and training in place, you can greatly reduce these risks and work to make sure everyone goes home safely at the end of the day.

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