How can you tell if your workplace is safe? Confined spaces are bigger than you think. They are more than just a tight spot. The elements that reside in confined spaces are dangerous, and can cause injury or death. So, it is very important to be able to identify hazardous signs in your workplace.
First, what defines a “confined space?” A confined space is a specific set of hazards that can contain insufficient oxygen, toxic airborne contaminants, flammable atmospheres, engulfment, and physical hazards.
There are all types of work sites out there considered as confined spaces. Many include the following on the premises:
And, here are some examples of common workplaces that can contain one or more from the above list:
- Coal mines
- Grain elevators
- Wine tanks
Once you have identified whether or not your work environment is, in fact, a confined space you need to make sure it is a safe and healthy atmosphere. Here is a basic list of what you need when working in such circumstances:
- Calibrated gas detector
- This will find poisonous gases, and alert you of harmful levels before you can physically detect them.
- Proper ventilation
- Finding a fan and ducting system with the strength to be able to move toxic gasses away and continue to keep oxygen flowing is a top priority.
- Always have a rescue plan
- Accidents happen all the time. By having a practiced rescue plan intact can help save lives in the event workers ever find themselves in a toxic/ harmful environment.
Confined spaces need to always procure the proper safety measures. Many times, the cause of injuries or fatalities don’t stare you straight in the face. Be sure to take all the right precautions when working in ANY environment.
By Laura Canepa