A confined space is classified as a space that is large enough to permit entry and to allow for work but that is not designed to be continually occupied and that has limited means of entering and exiting. Confined spaces can often be difficult and dangerous places to work in, due to hazards like harmful substance exposure, fall risk and entrapment.
For this reason, confined space entry should only be performed by personnel who are trained to work in confined spaces. OSHA standards as well as industrial regulations are used to safely navigate the dangers of working in confined spaces.
What are the hazards of confined space entry?
There are numerous dangers to consider when entering a confined space. It is the job of a confined space attendant to make sure that only workers who are permitted and trained to enter a confined workspace are allowed to do so. Some of the hazards include:
- Hazardous atmosphere — The atmosphere in a confined space may be hazardous due to the presence of toxins or other contaminants in the air. There may be too much or too little oxygen. The air inside a confined space may also be flammable.
- Falling risks — Many confined spaces can only be entered or exited with the use of a ladder. Ladders may become unstable, or the rungs may become slippery, posing a risk of falling while ascending or descending the ladder.
- Extreme temperatures — Confined spaces have the potential to become dangerously warm or dangerously cold. This could pose a risk to workers who do not enter the confined space wearing the proper personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Engulfment — Engulfment is the result of a worker becoming immersed in a substance, which then leads to drowning or asphyxiation. This can be caused by a liquid substance, such as oil or water, or by free-flowing solids, such as rocks or dirt.
What is the best way to keep workers safe during confined space entry?
By making sure that your workers are properly trained and prepared for the hazards of working in a confined space, you are taking the most important step toward a safe work environment.
Basin Safety is here to help. Our workplace health and safety programs are compliant with OSHA standards and industry standards, and are designed to ensure the safety of employees entering a confined space or any other hazardous work environment. Our programs include:
- Confined space entry training.
- Personal protective equipment (PPE) training.
- Fall protection.
- Gas hazards.
- Heat illness prevention.
Contact us at Basin Safety today for more information on our training programs, consultation services and field services.