We’ve finally come to the end of our series on driver safety. Today we kick off with a new series on confined space, and the safety rules and practices required to ensure you and your colleagues (or employees) are as risk free as possible. Let’s begin by taking a look at the best safety tips for confined space entry.
What is a confined space?
A confined space:
- is an enclosed or partially enclosed space
- is not intended or primarily designed for human occupancy
- may present a risk from one or more of the following at any time:
- unsafe concentration of harmful airborne contaminants
- unsafe concentration of flammable substances
- unsafe levels of oxygen
- substances that can cause engulfment
- may have restricted means for entry and exit.
Examples include: storage tanks, tank cars, process vessels, boilers, silos, pits, pipes, sewers, shafts, ducts and shipboard spaces.
Why working in a confined space is hazardous
Working in confined spaces is more hazardous than other workplaces, because:
- the entrances/exits might not allow the entrant to evacuate effectively if there is a flood, or there is a collapse of free-flowing material
- self-rescue by the entrant is more difficult
- rescue of the victim is more difficult. the interior configuration of a confined space often restricts the movement of people or equipment within it
- natural ventilation alone is often not sufficient to maintain breathable quality air because the interior configuration of some confined spaces does not allow air movement to circulate
- conditions can change very quickly
- the space outside the confined space can have an impact on the conditions inside the confined space, and vice versa
- work activities may introduce hazards not initially present.
Why entry into a confined space is needed
People enter a confined space to:
- maintain and repair
- perform construction work
9 tips to make confined spaces a little less scary…
They are not areas in which you want to be if you aren’t a trained professional. They can be quite hazardous and if you don’t operate within them with caution, they can lead to very risky situations. Lots of workers can get seriously injured or even die due to complications or lack of safety precautions within confined spaces. So here are some guidelines that can help you to stay safe.
- Before you actually enter the confined space, you should ensure that you can eliminate or control hazardous elements in the environment.
- You need to ensure that you pay attention to the atmosphere. Use an instrument to monitor your environment for potential risks, such as hazardous gases that can’t be detected by your nose.
- Make sure that the area is well-ventilated. You can use forced-air ventilation in confined spaces, as it’s very effective at displacing and diluting the contaminant in the confined environment.
- After you’ve attempted all the aforementioned methods, make use of personal protective equipment (PPE). Ensure that the personnel using the PPE is trained with the required knowledge for proper use of this equipment.
- Lessen the likelihood of additional hazards being introduced – simply isolate the confined space.
- Be sure that there is an outside attendant, who is there, ready and able to monitor the operation’s safety. They should also be present to assist in the event of an emergency and to request external assistance as well.
- Always be ready to rescue. Be prepared to jump into action, with a good plan and the right equipment, if there is an emergency.
- Ensure that the lighting in the confined space is good. That way the person operating in there will be able to perform safely and comfortably (without fear).
- Maintain contact at all times, so that those inside the confined space can notify people on the outside of any problems they’re facing, or if everything is going well.