Protect your workplace against confined space hazards with these safety rules
Published 17 Feb 2023
A confined space is a space with limited or restricted entry and exit points. Usually these spaces contain a hazardous atmosphere. Which is why these types of spaces should only be accessed by trained professionals. Some examples of these are manholes, tunnels, pipelines, vessels, tanks, etc.
Below are some general safety rules to help you stay safe in confined spaces:
Prior to entering any confined spaces, it is imperative that a risk assessment is carried out by a competent person to determine if a confined space is free of harmful materials and substances. This will help in determining whether a confined space is safe to enter or requires additional precautionary measures.
An evaluation testing is performed to determine any presence of chemical hazards in the confined space’s atmosphere and to identify what steps to take and conditions need to be met to qualify as safe to enter. A trained worker must conduct a series of atmosphere tests in the following order: 1) oxygen; 2) combustible gases; and 3) toxic gases and vapors. Test results should be recorded or stated on the work permit.
Proper ventilation is crucial in a confined space. It maintains the atmosphere in a safe and acceptable level by bringing in continuous fresh air. It can also cool down temperature, and remove contaminants, all of which are beneficial in protecting workers from health hazards present in the confined space. Mechanical ventilation such as fans and blowers should be used. A warning system should be in place to alert workers when there is a failure in the ventilation system.
When someone is working in a confined space, always ensure a workaround watch who can call rescue teams for emergencies or is capable and equipped to conduct a rescue. Atmosphere should be continuously monitored from outside of the confined space.
Use a harness, lifeline, or continuous gas monitoring devices. Also, use a self-contained breathing apparatus if needed.
SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor) is an award-winning management platform which allows teams to generate real-time reports on mobile devices while on-site. With SafetyCulture, you can easily evaluate confined spaces and capture hazards for immediate resolution. Get started with these free customizable confined space safety checklists:
SafetyCulture Content Team
The SafetyCulture content team is dedicated to providing high-quality, easy-to-understand information to help readers understand complex topics and improve workplace safety and quality. Our team of writers have extensive experience at producing articles for different fields such as safety, quality, health, and compliance.
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