To the extent possible, people should avoid entering confined spaces because they can be extremely dangerous. Confined spaces can cause employees to become trapped, run out of air, get exposed to dangerous gasses, and much more. There are times, however, when it is necessary to have workers in these types of situations. When that is the case, it is critical that steps are taken to control the hazards.
Hazard Control for Confined Spaces
There are many things that can be done to help reduce the risks of working in confined spaces. The specific actions that should be taken will depend on the type of space that is being entered. The following are some of the most important ways to control hazards in these areas:
- Monitor the Situation – Someone outside of the confined space should be monitoring the condition of the person doing the work. If they show signs of distress, the outside worker can help pull them to safety.
- Air Supply – If the confined space has a limited air supply, make sure that a safe supply is brought in.
- Monitor for Gasses – If the confined space has the potential for exposure to dangerous gasses, the air should be constantly monitored for this type of hazard.
- Tether the Worker – When working in very small areas the worker should be tethered either on the feet or around the waist so they can be pulled out if something goes wrong.
- Watch for Collapse – Confined spaces are often in caves, mines, or other areas where the risk of a collapse is present. Taking precautions to prevent this is critical.
- Personal Protection Equipment – Anyone entering a confined area should wear the PPE needed to minimize the risk of any potential problems.
The bottom line is that every confined space is going to present its own unique risks. Evaluating what risks are present and how to control for them is essential. Before anyone enters, the team should have done the proper investigation to ensure their safety.
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