Yet again, a death in a confined space has made the news . This time, a construction worker in Ontario has lost his life. The man was working in a sewer when the space flooded, and he was unable to escape. This death is one of approximately 100 that occur in a confined space in Canada every single year, and this serves to demonstrate that deaths do not just occur in high-risk environments such as mining and fuel storage tank maintenance, but in everyday activities such as sewer maintenance.
The importance of training
It is unacceptable that in this day and age, confined space safety still fails to get adequate recognition and staff training to mitigate all reasonably foreseeable risks. In this particular instance, there is speculation that inadequate safety measures were taken in order to minimize costs, which is a horrifying thought.
Human safety must always take priority above the cost of performing an activity, and all personnel who are expected to undertake risky activities in the course of their work must be appropriately trained, with refresher training provided regularly.
These personnel must also be empowered to make sensible decisions to safeguard themselves and their team members. This includes being allowed the autonomy to safely abort any entry attempt where they deem that the situation is riskier than they originally anticipated.
It is impossible to put a price on human life and the effect that every workplace death has on colleagues, family and friends. It is essential that anyone who is ever expected to enter a confined space in the course of their work is brave enough to speak up if they feel that procedures are not being followed correctly, that corners are being cut or that they are in any type of danger.
An organization may lose money from an aborted entry attempt, but they will lose more if they are fined if an individual loses their life. Penalties can run into hundreds of thousands of dollars, not to mention the reputational damage that ensues. There is never an excuse for failing to follow appropriate safety procedures.
Customized confined space safety training
At Frontier Rescue, we offer customized confined space entry training for businesses and FIT testing for their staff. With our decades of experience across a wide range of industries, we are competent and qualified to operate in any situation. Our training packages are tailored to suit the circumstances in which your business operates, ensuring that your personnel understand the risks that they will take in entering a confined space, that they can competently operate all necessary equipment while performing the maintenance activities they are contracted to carry out, and that they understand how and when to communicate or abort an entry.
Our training goes above and beyond the minimum that is required by legislation in order to ensure that the personnel who will be deployed into a confined space not only know their rights but are confident in their ability to continually assess the situation into which they are entering and make appropriate risk decisions about whether and how to proceed.