If you have a confined space on your property or in your workplace, you likely know about it. There are certain risks and hazards that come with having a confined space entry on the property. Everyone in the vicinity should have some knowledge on what this space entails, and what to do should an emergency situation occur.
Understanding the space
A confined space is not somewhere that people live. It is a small space that is often only big enough for someone to crawl through. This could be in many different places, such as a storage tank, processing equipment or other small area on a ship or in a utility space that potentially has low air quality and is too small for multiple humans to fit.
As you can imagine, there are many hazards in these types of spaces–such as entrapment, fires and low air–which can make for an unfit environment for workers. Any workers who must visit a confined space for cleaning, upkeep or other duties should fully understand the use of the space and how to get in and out of it.
Entering and exiting
Confined space entry and exit paths should be unobstructed at all times. This can be difficult when various machinery-needs to enter the space for work purposes. It’s important that all staff working in such an area are fully trained on how to enter and exit the space safely due to the limited or restricted access.
A confined space with the potential for any hazardous incidents needs to have set rules and regulations for all staff who enter the space. There may be specific equipment that needs to be used or carried when entering the space, including lifesaving equipment and items to help when exiting. There may also be times that entering the space could be detrimental to health, so knowing when these periods are is essential.
The risks involved in having a confined space on the premises are not only for the worker who must enter to do their duties. There are additional risks for the person or persons who are meant to help in case of an emergency. Being part of a rescue team and helping when danger strikes means, understanding what exactly you need to do in this type of situation. However, having people on the ground who know what to do from the first moment an emergency situation occurs is ideal.
Having a plan in place for emergency situations starts with having a fully licensed and qualified company come and assess your confined space. Specialized confined space emergency service companies can also provide other helpful services such as immediate response teams and equipment you may need. Having an emergency plan and keeping your staff knowledgeable are imperative steps to take to keep the confined space and those who enter it as safe as possible.