Working in a confined space can be very tricky because of the number of risks present in it. You need to take several precautions if you don’t want to hurt yourself when entering confined spaces.
Here are the most important safety tips that will help you protect yourself when entering a confined space:
Table of Contents
1. Monitor the Space Prior to and During Your Entry
A standard safety procedure to enter into confined spaces is monitoring the space carefully. Before you’re due to enter, you’ll have to keep a close watch on the conditions of the space. If they meet the safety standards, only then should you go ahead and enter.
Knowing the atmospheric condition inside the confined space will be the difference between life and death. Unless you know the hazards present inside, like, oxygen-deficient/enriched and toxic atmosphere, you must not venture into it.
The monitoring is not limited to the time before your entry. Once inside, it is critical for your safety that you constantly monitor the levels in the atmosphere because they can change drastically and be fatal to the ones inside.
2. Eliminate Safety Hazards from the Confined Space
To get a permit for entering a confined space for work, you’ll be legally required to make a note of every safety hazard that is present inside. For your safety, you must ensure that you carefully list out every hazard and work towards eliminating it or minimizing its impact before entering the space.
You must lock out any energy hazards present in the area. The bleed lines that run into the space should be double locked and engulfment elements should be removed. If your analysis has shown that the atmosphere inside is a toxic one, you should ventilate the space to make it safer.
3. Keep an Account of Hazardous Material Brought to the Site
Workers enter confined spaces because they need to perform certain tasks there. This means that there are a number of tools and machines that they would be carrying with them in order to work. However, make sure you don’t carry any tools into such dangerous zones.
You need to ensure that whatever machine or tool you’re bringing into the confined space does not create a dangerous environment inside. Welding tools and other equipment that generate sparks must not be used in spaces where the oxygen content is very high.
Anything that you introduce to the site should be properly accounted for so that proper action can be taken in case of a problem.
4. Ensure Proper Equipment is Used
Use of proper equipment is critical for safety when working in confined spaces. Once you monitor the atmosphere of space, you need to get a proper breathing apparatus that can help you breathe and get a sufficient amount of oxygen to your organs.
Entering confined spaces without a PPE kit can prove fatal because of the numerous toxic elements present inside. The feet, hands, and head should be properly covered. The clothing should be waterproof and provide thermal protection.
However, you should be careful that the introduction of PPEs doesn’t restrict the communication or movement of the workers otherwise it will be difficult to report emergencies.
5. Emergency procedures and Rescuers
Before any work starts at the site, you must ensure to put emergency procedures in play. Despite all of your safety measures, working in confined spaces is so tricky that these measures are often needed and can help save the lives of the workers.
There must be an effective means of communication so that employees inside can immediately report any emergency to the team outside. Place sufficient first aid procedures in place and keep a team of rescuers on standby.
The rescue team must be a professionally trained one who can use all the equipment essential for all safety procedures and can help in protecting the workers.
Over to you…
Following these safety precautions is the key to ensure that you don’t hurt yourself while working in confined spaces.
However, despite that, you might end up in a dangerous situation because of the risky nature of such spaces. Thus, it is important that you receive proper confined space training before venturing into tasks that ask you to enter into confined spaces.