5 Things you should know about working in confined spaces

Work in confined spaces can be extremely dangerous – particularly without the proper training and equipment. Confined spaces pose numerous potential hazards to those working in them and to rescue teams seeking to assist those who get into difficulty.

Here are 5 things you should know about working in confined spaces:

1. What defines a confined space?

A ’confined space’ is defined as an environment large enough for one person to enter, has restricted or limited means of exit, and is not designed for continuous human occupancy. Confined spaces can actually be large or small and can include everything from tanks, sewers and tunnels to manholes, shafts and silos.

2. Confined spaces are present across a wide range industries

People are required to carry out work in confined spaces across a wide range of industries – some you wouldn’t even image. However, the most common industries that require people to work in confined spaces are construction, facilities management, farming, mining, water, oil and gas.

3. What dangers can you be exposed to?

It depends on the nature of the industry where the confined space work is taking place, but there are lots of things that can go wrong in a confined space environment; dangers include asphyxiation from a lack of oxygen and drowning or suffocating from the space being filled with liquids or solids as well as explosions, fire and poisoning are some of the potential hazards. Gas is particularly dangerous because of its volatility and the fact it is harder to detect.

Confined Spaces Training4. The importance of confined space training

Every year in the UK people are killed or seriously injured in confined space related incidents. This should serve as a harsh reminder, to both employers and employees, of the importance of training in preventing and minimising confined space accidents. Anybody whose working practice requires them to enter confined spaces should be fully trained for and aware of the risks involved, safe entry and exit procedures, and what protective equipment they should use.

5. Confined Spaces Legislation

Proper confined space training is not only important, but required under Health and Safety law. The duties of an employer are to avoid entry into confined spaces wherever possible. If unavoidable, a safe system of work should be followed and adequate emergency arrangements put in place before work begins. Click here to view HSE Legislation on Confined Spaces.

If you work in a confined space or supervise operatives that may be exposed to confined spaces then ensure that all parties have undergone confined spaces training.

Confined Space Services provides a range of confined space training courses.

Fully trained with over 20 years’ experience specialising in confined space training, and with Site Safety Plus, NEBOSH and IOSH accreditation, you can be assured our consultants offer only the best advice and service possible.

We can carry out our confined space training either on-site throughout the UK, or at our purpose built training facility where we can provide a number of different confined space scenarios depending on your requirements.

For more information click here to contact us.

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