Confined Space 101: What You Need to Know About Fall Protection PPE

Having a confined space in Ottawa means that you are responsible for the health and safety of anyone who is in or around the space. If you do not meet your safety obligations, you can find yourself in serious legal jeopardy. While many factors must be considered when it comes to confined space safety, fall protection equipment is often overlooked.

A “silent” confined space hazard

There are many potential hazards in a confined space. Although you are likely very aware of the potential of toxic gasses in these spaces, you may not be as informed about fall hazards. Common hazards that can cause someone to trip, slip or fall in a confined space include equipment obstacles, poor lighting or visibility, slippery surfaces, uneven footing and environmental changes such as vapours, spills, and leaks.

Confined space Ottawa entry preparation

You must have a system of comprehensive and detailed confined space precautions and procedures in place before anyone enters such a space on your premises. Ensure that everyone is clear on these policies, even if they do not typically enter confined spaces. When everyone is on the same page regarding your confined space practices and what to do in an emergency, you are less likely to end up with an injury or death in the confined space at your workplace.

Fall protection for confined spaces

The type of fall protection equipment you need for your confined space will depend on the space itself, the type of work being done, regulations in your area and other factors. Use the checklist below as a starting point for evaluating your fall protection equipment.

  1. Are you storing the equipment properly in a cool and dry space?
  2. Has your equipment been properly inspected, following the inspection schedule for your area?
  3. Do all your workers have proper rescue and fall protection training?
  4. Have your workers been professionally fitted for a full-body harness?
  5. Do your harnesses all have the proper attachment points?
  6. Is your davit or tripod the right type for your space? Do your davits need to be portable?
  7. Can your tripod fit over your entrance without bringing someone’s feet too close to the space opening?
  8. Is your confined space opening area wide enough to prevent top-side attendants from falling?
  9. Does your space have a ladder, or is a winch or hoist necessary?
  10. What is the minimum line length for completing tasks in the space?
  11. Do you have the right rescue equipment, and is it a part of your rescue plan?
  12. Do you have equipment for non-entry rescue?
  13. Does all of your equipment match your current rescue plan?
  14. Is there a system for tracking and monitoring your equipment’s condition?

Wrapping Up

Having a confined space in Ottawa is a very serious obligation. If you have any questions or need help with your confined space training, safety equipment or rescue plan, contact an experienced confined space rescue provider for assistance as soon as you can. You never know when an emergency may strike in your confined space, and you don’t want to find out your plan, employee training or equipment isn’t up to the task in that crucial moment.