Wednesday 20 March 2019
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Beginner’s Guide to Working in Confined Spaces

Our goal is to help you adhere to health & safety regulations in all areas of work. One of the most specialised H&S areas is working in confined spaces. But how do we define a confined space? Dictionaries define it as an enclosed area where risk of death or serious injury is particularly high. This will likely result from hazardous substances or conditions, for instance, a lack of oxygen. Invest in confined spaces training to ensure full preparation for every eventuality. If you want first-class training and first-rate service, look no further than The Safety Maintenance Company. Visit us at our website for more information.

Types of Confined Spaces

Confined spaces work is often necessary for welding, painting and flame-cutting work, as well as when using chemicals. Very often, injuries and deaths occur as a result of work being carried out such as welding, painting, flame cutting, use of chemicals. Similarly, ordinary places of work can become confined spaces when construction or renovation work takes place. Below is a list of spaces which we class as confined:

  • Vats and silos
  • Pits and trenches
  • Drains and sewers
  • Flues and ducts
  • Unventilated or poorly ventilated rooms

The Risks of Working in Confined Spaces

Annually, many people across the UK suffer severe or fatal injuries when working in confined spaces. Everything from a highly complex plant to a something as simple as a storm drain is a potential hazard. Without proper training to aid you, becoming trapped in a confined space can prove hazardous not just to you but to those that try to rescue you. Below, we’ve outlined the potential dangers of confined spaces:

  • Low oxygen
  • Toxic gases, fumes or vapours
  • Collapsing structures or flooding
  • Fires or explosions
  • Dust
  • Excessive heat

Your Legal Obligations

You, or your employer if you’re an employee, should implement health & safety measures to protect employees and the public from accident or injury.

As per The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations, 1999, you should ensure you have sufficient risk assessments for all your company’s work activities. For confined spaces work, your assessment should identify any hazards, and assess the risks they present, while suggesting precautions and solutions. That way, everybody stays safe, and nobody gets injured.

How to Reduce the Risks of Working in Confined Spaces

  • Only enter confined spaces if needed. Is the work 100{0d94de9552dea75c7212c1618f5a5052d5aa1b75dca4a57c0d3142ab26f3868a} necessary? Are there other means you could use? Do not enter a confined space alone. Always ensure colleagues are on hand should something go wrong.
  • Adhere to a safe system of work when working in confined spaces.
  • Use your risk assessment to identify precautions that will reduce risk of injury. This will depend on the variety of confined space, as well as the specific risks and work involved.
  • Ensure all employees have received adequate H&S training for an array of hazards and circumstances.
  • Implement sufficient emergency arrangements before commencing confined spaces work.
  • Consider the rescuers’ safety should they need to enter a confined space to retrieve someone, plus first aidand emergency services.